The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among said, recently, when confronted with a hard choice between her son who needed emergency care and Rt Hon Jacob Oulanyah who was also hospitalized, she abandoned her own son and proceeded to visit Jacob Oulanyah in hospital.
Among was speaking at the vigil held at the Speaker’s home in Muyenga on Sunday, following his demise in Seattle, US after a long illness.
Among professed her attachment and the good-working relationship she had with Oulanyah which seems to be dating back to childhood days, and which even pushed her to the extent of abandoning her son to go and sit on his boss’ bedside during the last moments of his life.
“I have walked the journey with that boy, that brother of mine, that friend of mine and that boss of mine. I was thrown in an ocean (speakership of parliament) where I didn’t know how to swim…. the 74 sessions I have chaired the house, but I did not at one time get annoyed that I am overworked. My Interest was; Is Jacob Okay?” Among said.
“Even when we were travelling to Seattle, I had a choice to make. Immediately we reached Dubai, I received a call from the University that my son got an emergency and needed an operation. I told Dr. Aceng; For Jacob, Let the boy take care of himself.” She said.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng is the minister of health with whom, together with Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny Dollo and Nobert Mao, she travelled to the US to check on Oulanyah.
Among however added; “I called Dr Andrew the husband to Dr Aceng and told him, be in touch with my son, as for me I am for Jacob”
Oulanyah and Among were overwhelmingly voted speaker and deputy speaker on 24th May 2021 at Kololo Independence Grounds. Since then, Oulanyah presided over only two plenary sessions as his health continued to deteriorate leaving all the work to his deputy.
An accountant by profession and with no experience as speaker, Among has managed to steered the house in Oulanyah’s absence but with several hardships. She tells of how she “maneuvered” to chair a session to approve Vice President Jessica Alupo and Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.
“He (Oulanyah) kept on phone asking me; Have you managed? I said I have managed. He said; God is Good, we should never leave a vacuum.” She said.
Among said the only thing he missed about Jacob is mentorship because most of the time he has been out of parliament yet he was very eager to recover and be in the chair of the house.
Even in hospital, Anita Among said she asked Oulanyah what he misses most; “He said why are you disturbing me? I told him I want to see your dimple. And then he smiled. And he said he missed putting on his bow tie, his suit, the rules of procedure”
At the vigil, the Deputy Speaker and Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja praised the fallen Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah as a principled man who emphasized service delivery.
Jacob Oulanyah (56 years) has been eulogized as a dedicated and honest leader, a time keeper and one who always put the interest of the common man first. His body is still in the US but the country will be in mourning for at least the whole of this week.