By Spy Uganda

Francis Gimara, former President of the Uganda Law Society (ULS), has attributed the former Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah’s bold character and commitment to his major achievements in the law profession, including the passing of key Acts that have facilitated lawyers in their practice.

He said that the Judiciary owes the Administration of the Judiciary Act to Oulanyah.

“When we were discussing how to cause the Executive to support the Bill, Oulanyah mobilised support for it and it was passed,” Gimara said.

He added that the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act was a Private Member’s Bill moved by Oulanyah.

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“He mobilised lawmakers and got them to pass it. It promotes Intellectual property rights. This law owes its existence to Oulanyah,” said Gimara.

He was speaking during the pre-funeral service of Oulanyah on 29 March 2022 at his home in Muyenga, an upscale suburb of Kampala City.

Gimara said that Oulanyah will be remembered for promoting effective legislation due to his industriousness.

“He was an astute legal professional, a prolific draftsman, litigator and legal aid promoter. Because of this, we have had strong arguments and if he found you with a superior argument, he would ask for a solution. He was also respectful,” Gimara said.

ULS President, Pheona Wall, said that Oulanyah was an ardent supporter of social, economic, cultural and political justice.

“He accorded many vulnerable citizens access to justice during the aftermath of the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency in northern Uganda,” said Wall.

In his eulogy, the Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, described Oulanyah as a humble and distinguished lawyer.

“He was always present, yet humble. He always went the extra mile to find consensus. He would back down from a situation just so he can build consensus,” said Kiryowa Kiwanuka.

He gave a brief account of his experience working with Oulanyah.

“When I saw the order paper the first time, I walked to the Speaker and asked him for guidance because I did not know what to say. He told me to say the right thing. I walked into Parliament and said what is right. But Jacob called me and said, you do not have to say it that way, say what is right but say it the right way,” said Kiwanuka Kiryowa.

The Clerk to Parliament, Hon. Adolf Mwesige Kasaija, who is also a member of ULS said that Oulanyah ably handled the passing of the Constitutional Amendment Bill in 2005.

“I moved the Bill on behalf of the government and it landed in the hands of Oulanyah. We had a very harmonious working relationship. Almost more than 90 percent of the amendments were moved by consensus between the Executive and Parliament,” said Kasaija.

Speaking about his working relationship with Oulanyah following his recent appointment as Clerk to Parliament, Kasaija said that he was received warmly by Oulanyah.

“There were many instances where instead of me going to the office and discussing reports, Jacob would walk to my office and I was always humbled to see the Speaker walking to my office to consult me. He leaves a big gap between mentorship and comradeship,” Kasaija said.

He called on Speaker Anita Among and her deputy, Thomas Tayebwa, to complete the work started by Oulanyah.

“Jacob has left unfinished business and that business is for us to finish. His vision was cut out and he was always very clear about quality debates,” Kasaija said.

He added that the 11th Parliament also has a task to legislate and pass pro-people laws, as envisioned by Oulanyah.

“If we can do that, we will have rewarded the work of Oulanyah,” he said.

Tayebwa pledged to continue with the work of Oulanyah, saying that Oulanyah trained and mentored several MPs.

“Jacob set the bar so high for us in the House. I think when we are presiding, many will be judging us against Jacob. Give us some time, we cannot be Jacob,” Tayebwa said.

He also encouraged legislators to embrace the habit of reading to engage in quality debate, saying that this was what Oulanyah was passionate about.

“Jacob used to prepare. I urge you after you have submitted in the House, a week later, to go and pick your submission and pick that of Jacob when he was a backbencher and compare. This is the only way we can improve,” he said.

Oulanyah died in Seattle, United States of America on Sunday, 20 March 2022. Burial is scheduled for Friday, April 08 2022 in Omoro district, his ancestral home.