“Speak only when you have Facts”- Oulanyah tells MPs

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Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah presiding over the house; File

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah has cautioned Members of Parliament to stop bringing issues to the floor of the house for which they cannot substantiate.

Oulanyah made the remarks in his opening remarks for the Thursday afternoon plenary session. He advised members of the august house to refrain from picking every other issue from the public, and present it to the house without doing due diligence to confirm the truth of the matter.

“Hon. Members, this is a national parliament, the discussions are televised and monitored internationally and affect people directly. By just saying what we say, people get affected. So when you make statements it must be entirely factual. But if it contains falsehoods, it causes some difficulties honorable members” Oulanyah said.

He said several statements have been made by MPs on the floor of parliament, only to later turn out that the statements are false.

He referred to recent accusations that were made on the floor of the house by Hon. Paul Akamba (Busiki County) claiming that Gen. Jeje Odongo used his office to harass and maliciously deport a Turkish national. The claim turned out to be untrue.

“Hon members if only the honorable member had the courtesy to call the Gen. Jeje Odongo, those statements wouldn’t have made it to the record of parliament because they are entirely not true.

He also said he received calls from aggrieved members of the public over false claims made by a legislator in parliament involving leaders of a boda boda association in Mbale known as “Tugende boda boda” which also turned out to be false.

“Honorable members, this situation that we are in where someone comes and tells you something and the next day even before sparing one second to crosscheck if it is true or false, you are on the floor of parliament and you are allowed to present the statement; you hurt people” Mr. Oulanyah said.

He said that often, the people implicated in statements made by MPs in parliament, may not get audience from the house to come and defend themselves; therefore members should take time to crosscheck, get satisfied themselves that the matters are factual before raising them on the floor of parliament.

On several occasions, Jacob Oulanya has come out to speak out on the level of debate in parliament questioning the effort members invest in research on key issues presented in the house.  

Oulanyah also castigated xenophobic acts currently being meted on foreigners in South Africa saying that something has got to be done because people immigrate to some parts of the world for different reasons and unless government comes out to find a solution to the problem, the matter may escalate into retaliation from people being victimized which may further worsen the situation.

He said what South Africans are doing is not right, and there is a better way to do it besides use of violence including making it so difficult to enter some countries citing a case of European countries that instead of violently attacking foreigners, put in place stringent immigration policies as a way of stopping unwelcome foreigners from entering their countries.

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