Speaker of the 11th Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has Thursday made a return to Parliament after more than a month of absence after traveling to the United Kingdom for an alleged private visit.
The Speaker last presided over Parliament at the 2021/2022 financial year Budget reading at Kololo Independence Grounds shortly after his election as Speaker of Parliament. He however left his Deputy Anita Among, in charge, triggering speculation from the public about his health, with media reports indicating that he had tested positive for COVID-19.
As he returned to Parliament today, Oulanyah received a triumphant welcome from the Parliament leadership led by Deputy Speaker Anita Among, Parliament Commissioners, and some Members of Parliament who stood on the Southern Wing of the Parliament Verandah from where they welcomed him with ululations and applause.
Parliamentary staff and Members of Parliament sung songs of praise and thanksgiving as the Parliament chaplain and a prayer session was held in the Speaker's Office.
He then proceeded to meet the opposition Members of Parliament who were undergoing orientation at the conference hall. The Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga welcomed Oulanyah back, saying they cannot wait to work with him.
In the meeting, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among also welcomed the Speaker back saying she has been answering several questions about his absence and now cannot wait for Oulanyah to fully take charge of the house.
In his first speech, Oulanyah said he made it a case to attend the meeting and face Kalungu West MP Joseph Ssewungu and Kilak North MP Gilbert Olanya who were demanding for his whereabouts, yet for last one year, when he didn’t chair the house, none of them ever asked.
Oulanyah also said that the country was losing humanity, and sick people are being declared dead instead of being supported to recover. He says if indeed someone is truly sick, the right thing is to pray. He however did not say if he was sick or not.
He added that the time has come for parliament to move from the rhetoric of words to action, and start moving and working together, adopting the use of 'we, and not I,' forgetting party colours and symbols for the good of the people of Uganda.