OMORO: The father of the late Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, has not been included on the list of people expected to speak at the funeral service and burial of his son, Daily Post has learnt.
Oulanyah died at the University of Washington Medical Centre in Seattle, US, where he was taken to receive specialised care for cancer.
President Museveni announced the death of Oulanyah on March 20 and his body was repatriated last Friday.
Members of the family, who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity, said Mr Okori has only been allowed to welcome mourners at his son’s funeral.
Ms Santa Alum Ogwang, the Oyam District Woman MP and a member of the family, confirmed the development, saying the decision was reached in consideration of Mr Okori’s health.
“Mzee is right now too weak, he can’t walk easily and can’t speak easily due to the bereavement. This, to us, is understandable because he needs more comfort than being exposed to emotional speeches,” Ms Ogwang said.
She added: “The person slated to talk on behalf of the family is the deceased’s first born, Mr Andrew Ojok, who has been slotted by the National Organising Committee to speak on behalf of the family.”
Daily Post has also learnt that Mr John Olara Otunnu, a politician, in a meeting with the family on Wednesday evening asked that Mr Okori be allowed to speak at the funeral.
We could not independently verify this information.
However, while addressing the media on Wednesday morning, Mr Otunnu said Mr Okori should not be blocked from speaking at his son’s funeral.
“Let no body come in to block Oulanyah’s father from saying what he has basis for and we should also in the same vein, not add anything to his claim,” Mr Otunnu said.
He also called on the Acholi people to desist from speculating about the cause of Oulanyah’s death but leave it to the family.
“Words came straight from the mouth of the deceased’s father, Mr Okori, who said many times that his son had told him that he was poisoned, allegedly resulting in his death. But it is disastrous for some of us to start carrying the same message without evidence,” Dr Otunnu said.
He added: “The issue of death is a very serious matter and it should not be speculated or suspected, it should (poisoning speculation) come from the deceased’s father only because he is speaking basing on evidence or things told to him by his son while still alive.”
This comes at a time when social media is awash with rumours that the national organising committee is sidelining Mr Okori from speaking at his son’s funeral because they are afraid he will reiterate claims that his son was poisoned.
Shortly after the announcement that Oulanyah had passed away, Mr Okori said his son told him that he was poisoned. He, however, asked the public not to politicize Oulanyah’s death.
“I know all of you who have come here are mourners. His) death is not easy news to welcome because I know he did not die of natural causes, he was poisoned,” Mr Okori told handful mourners at their ancestral home in Omoro District.
However, while addressing Parliament on Tuesday, Health minister Jane Ruth Aceng said Oulanyah died of multiple organ failure triggered by lymphoma cancer-related complications.