The body of Jacob Oulanyah, the former Speaker of the 11th Parliament, is expected to be flown into the country by Ethiopian Airlines on Friday, this week.
President Museveni last week announced that 56-year-old Oulanyah, who was also the Omoro County MP, had died in United States where he was taken for treatment in February this year.
Questions about return of his body grew louder after a lightning election was conducted to replace the deceased, ostensibly to fulfill requirements of Article 82(4) of the Constitution, even before a state burial program was released.
The Article provides that Parliament shall conduct no business other than the election of the Speaker at any time the office falls vacant, prompting differing legal interpretations.
Although the government has not explained the inordinate delay in getting Oulanyah’s body home, highly-placed sources say the hospital and funeral home bills were yet to be paid
According to highly-placed sources close to the National Organizing Committee (NOC) headed by Presidency Minister Milly Babalanda, which President Museveni tasked to ensure decent send-off for Oulanyah, said the body of the speaker emeritus will be repatriated this week pending resolution of outstanding financial and logistical arrangements.
The return of the body is being coordinated by a Seattle-based funeral home, Day spring and Fitch Funeral Home, in liaison with officials from Uganda’s embassy in Washington DC responsible for Uganda’s diplomatic and bilateral relations with the US government.
Meanwhile, the Kitgum District Woman MP Dr. Lilian Aber has said members of National Unity Platform led by their principle Robert Kyagulanyi will not be welcomed to Acholi land to attend the burial of the fallen speaker Jacob Oulanyah unless they apologize to them.
When Oulanyah was flown to Seattle for treatment, some Ugandans in the US, presumably from NUP, protested against the decision.
According to Aber, the party should apologies for the unethical behavior by its members who demonstrated outside the hospital in Seattle US where the fallen speaker had gone to receive treatment.
“We demand an apology from NUP for the demonstrations in Seattle. I can tell you that the people from the north are very annoyed. NUP associates itself with the red color and red berets. They should take responsibility for these demonstrations,” Aber said during the Big Talk on Next Radio over the weekend.
“Everyone is welcome for the burial of our brother. However, it would be good if NUP leadership first apologise for tormenting him at his hospital bed and hour of need before crossing Karuma for Omoro, where burial will take place.”
Aber’s comments are likely to be lumped together with assertions made by Chief Justice Owinyi Dollo who has come under fire for referring to people of Buganda as “wicked lumpens” and for labelling the Kabaka as an “ethnic leader,” during a vigil at Oulanyah’s place.
The leader of the National Unity Platform, Robert Kyagulanyi said the allegations about the National Unity Platform’s involvement in the demonstration are not true.