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THE LIFE & TIMES OF JACOB OULANYAH: Here’s the Profile of the Late Speaker of Uganda’s 11th Parliament

Who Was Jacob Oulanyah?

MR SPEAKER: Jacob Oulanyah beats Kadaga to become Uganda's 11th Parliament Speaker

Jacob Oulanyah L’Okori, the speaker of Uganda’s 11th Parliament, has passed on in Seattle. 

On March 20, President Museveni announced the death of Speaker Oulanyah.

Here is the profile of Oulanyah, the country’s number three, who only spent a few months in office: 

Oulanyah was a Ugandan agricultural economist, lawyer and politician.

He was the Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan parliament from May 2011 to May 2021.

He was elected Speaker of the 11th pariament, and was supposed to be the head of the legislative arm of government until 2026.

Oulanyah was also the member of parliament representing Omoro County.

He was born in the  Gulu District, on March 23, 1965.


He attended St Joseph’s College Layibi, Dr Obote College Boroboro, and Kololo Senior Secondary School for his O-Level and A-Level education.

In 1988, he joined Makerere University where he studied agricultural economics.

He graduated in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts in that subject.

That same year, he entered law school, also at Makerere University, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Laws degree.

He served as speaker of the university students’ guild during his time at Makerere.

In 1995, he attended the Law Development Centre (LDC), where he obtained a postgraduate diploma in legal practice


Following his graduation from the LDC, Oulanyah worked as a lecturer at the centre.

He also began private law practice at the law firm of Oulanyah, Onoria & Company Advocates.

In 2001, he entered politics by successfully contesting for the parliamentary seat of Omoro County in Gulu District under the Movement Political System. He was however a cardholder of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC).

In 2005, he chaired the legal and parliamentary affairs committee that handled the constitutional amendment bill that proposed the lifting of the presidential term limits.

He also participated in the peace talks between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

In 2006, he stood as a UPC candidate and lost his re-election bid.

In July 2006, he quit the UPC and joined the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

In 2008 he served as the chairman of the commission of inquiry into the controversial sub-lease of Kisekka Market in Kampala.

In March 2011, Oulanyah was elected to represent Omoro County, Gulu District, in the ninth Parliament, this time on the NRM ticket.

He was elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament on May 19, 2011.

He was also associated with the International advisory board of the Global Majority, an international organization committed to the promotion of non-violent conflict management through education, training, networking and advocacy.

He also served as Co-Rapporteur on the Committee of Political Affairs, African. Caribbean and Pacific group of states,(ACP/EU).

May 24, 2021: Elected 11th Parliament speaker, becoming the third most important person in the land, after President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni and his vice president.


Oulanyah was rushed to the US in February 2022. (Read Story Here).
Deputy speaker Anita Annet Among would later tell MPs that Oulanyah was improving. (Read Story Here).
But last Friday, she is said to have been told that the speaker’s condition had deteriorated.
It has also emerged that when she received the news of the speaker’s deteriorating health condition last week, deputy speaker Anita Among spent the whole night crying. (Read Story Here).
On March 15, Anita Among flew to the US to check on her boss Oulanyah. (Read Story Here).
Also visiting the speaker in the US were Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo, Health Minister Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, DP leader Norbert Mao and Oulanyah’s close family members. (Read Story Here).
Among, Mao and Owiny-Dollo flew to the US to check on Oulanyah amidst rumors that the speaker has died. (Read Story Here). The rumors of Oulanyah’s death spread after Wikipedia published an update claiming he had breathed his last. (Read Story Here). Mao said Oulanyah was very sick. (Read Story Here) About a day later (on Friday, March 18), Among said the speaker was responding to treatment. (Read Story Here). On March 20, 2022, Museveni announced the death of Speaker Jacob Oulanyah. (Read Story Here)

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