On Wednesday this week, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah made his first appearance as chair of the house in a year while Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was attending the burial of her niece Sheila Kadaga who died on 28 February.
It however took the intervention of MP Margaret Baba Diri who asked Kadaga why Oulanyah had not got an opportunity to assist her despite the usually very tight schedule before her. Not even the death of her dear daughter was enough to let her call on her deputy to step in as she mourns!
Kadaga’s response was precise and straight to the point; “You will see him” and indeed, Oulanyah was in the speaker’s seat the following day.
The Omoro county MP on Tuesday evening, after a chat with Kadaga took to his Twitter account to confirm the following day would be his day.
While presiding over the House in his boss’ absence, Oulanyah used the occasion to chest thump on how hard a man he is to the extent that not even failing once in 2006 made him discouraged.
” I came back for 2 terms and I am here again for the third one, ”
It turned into a moment of wild celebrations and jubilations as Members loyal to the former UPC stalwart went into an excitement frenzy, congratulating Oulanyah on his return while at the same time baptizing Baba Diri ” an Angel” who had made the miracle to happen.
Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa – a renowned anti Kadaga NRM stalwart used the occasion to lavish praise on the ruling party’s Vice Chairperson for Northern Uganda whose election to the Speakership would help much in pushing pro party agendas in the next Parliament. Nankabirwa further noted that even though she had not made it to the next Parliament, she would still play a role to see that Oulanyah heads the legislature.
As for MP Ellion Yorke Odria, she was also happy to see Oulanyah presiding over the House as it had been their prayer for long.
Moments later, it was pure diplomatic theatrics as Oulanyah adjourned the House‘s business as Kadaga was grieving over the loss of her niece. He said even if this would be his last chance to chair the House, he wouldn’t let it go on as his boss was burying a daughter!
Oulanyah’s closure of the House‘s business moments after all the speeches that seemed beneficial to his candidature in the Speakership race came to smell fishy.
It’s a public secret that Oulanyah doesn’t enjoy a sweet relationship with Kadaga. Having been sidelined for a year from the activities of the House, it’s just natural that Oulanyah should have some scores to settle with his boss. In trying to appear sympathetic to a woman who has been too hard on him, Oulanyah must have intended to rip the sympathies of the public and MPs ahead of the Speakership race where he remains the biggest contender.
The move by Oulanyah, trying all the theatrics to outsmart Kadaga – the mother of war, could serve as a sneak peek into what the battle ahead will look like between the two NRM bigwigs.
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