Who is Jacob Lokori Oulanyah?: Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, age, family, work and experience, political career, early life and education of the Speaker of the 11th Parliament of the Republic of Uganda (2021-2026).
Jacob Lokori Oulanyah is a Ugandan agricultural economist, lawyer and politician, who serve as the Speaker of the 11th Parliament of the Republic of Uganda (2021-2026), he subscribes to the National Resistance Movement Party (NRM), the ruling party and much known for politics.
He was declared winner of the elections held during the first sitting of the 11th Parliament at Kololo grounds in Kampala on 24 May 2021, chaired by Chief Justice Alfonso Owiny Dollo in attendance of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Oulanyah obtained 310 votes defeating the former Speaker, Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga who obtained 197 votes contesting on an independent ticket after NRM seconded Oulanyah for Speakership and Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda of Forum for Democratic Party (FDC) with 15 votes.
Rt. Hon Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga served at the helm of parliamentary leadership for the last 20 years, 10 of which as Deputy Speaker before she replaced Mr Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi as Speaker of the House, after he was appointed Vice President of the Republic of Uganda.
He served as Deputy Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, from May 2021 until May 2021. Oulanyah is also the Member of Parliament representing Omoro County constituency, Omoro District, Acholi sub-region, in Uganda’s Northern Region.
Oulanyah a loyal cadre of President Museveni had no brakes in presiding over the enactment of more impugned laws, the other being the Public Order Management Act, 2013. He’s most times mocked as a good puppet.
Early Life and Education
The Right Honorable Jacob Lokori Oulanyah was born on 23, March 1965, in Gulu District, Northern Region of Uganda to Nathan Lokori and Karen Atwon.
He attended Lalogi Primary School from where he completed his Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE), then Dr Obote College Boroboro for his secondary school and later St. Joseph’s College Layibi where he obtained his Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) in 1983.
He then joined Kololo Senior Secondary School for his A-Level education obtaining his Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education in 1988.
In 1988, Rt. Hon. Speaker joined Makerere University, the oldest university in the East African Community, where he studied agricultural economics and in 1992, Oulanyah graduated and in that same year, he joined Makerere University law school and graduated in 1995 with a Bachelor of Laws degree (LLB).
While at Makerere University, Oulanyah served as Speaker of the University Students’ Guild and in 1996, he attended the Law Development Centre (LDC), where he obtained a postgraduate diploma in legal practice.
Oulanayah is currently pursuing an LLM in legislative drafting for the Institute of Legislative Studies at the University of London.
In his youthful stage, Oulanyah was a spirited and brilliant young man nicknamed the ‘Citizen King’. He had a special knack for debating and soon distinguished himself as an enviable orator.
Soon, Oulanyah became the poster boy for Boroboro Squad in the round-robin Northern Uganda Debating League. He always opened the floor debate by setting the tone after the first two principal speakers.
It was also him who summed up the floor debate to give it a powerful closure for Boroboro, the same way did his predecessors Justice David Kutosi Wangutusi, then Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Charles Elem Ogwal and Uganda People’s Congress Spokesperson Okello Lucima.
Oulanayah’s reputation preceded him; he narrowly lost the National Union of Students of Uganda President slot to late Jude Otim but gained the position when the latter was ejected.
His supporters felt he was chosen by the Grace of God and the will of the people and named him ‘Citizen King’ after the tradition of French King Louis-Philippe. It was unsurprising; therefore, that he likened president Museveni to Jesus.
Work and Experience
Following his graduation from the LDC, Oulanyah worked as a lecturer at the centre and during the same timeframe, he began private law practice at the law firm of Oulanyah, Onoria & Company Advocates.
He’s an attorney of the court of judicature of Uganda and a Notary Public. He has specialized training in legal and legislative drafting and has experience in drafting laws and agreements, including peace agreements.
Oulanyah taught legislative drafting and constitutional law to postgraduate law students at the Law Development Centre.
In 2001, Oulanyah joined politics by successfully contesting for the parliamentary seat of Omoro County, the then Gulu District under the no-party system also known as the Movement Political System.
He was, however, a cardholder of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC).
Oulanyah also participated in the peace talks between the government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels. In 2006, standing as a UPC candidate, he 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 sublease of Kisekka Market, one of the municipal markets in the city of Kampala.
Oulanyah served as a consultant, government of the Republic of South Sudan from 2006-2010.
Banking Officer at Standard Chartered Bank from 1991-1997.
In March 2011, Oulanyah was elected to represent Omoro County than in Gulu District, in the Ninth Parliament, this time on the NRM ticket and elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament on 19 May 2011.
Then in February 2016 general election, Oulanyah was re-elected as Deputy Speaker of Parliament on 19 May 2016. In the vote, conducted by secret ballot, he received 300 votes, while Muhammad Nsereko received 115 votes.
His service as a Deputy Speaker of Parliament was such a great experience. Despite being the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Oulanyah did not chair plenary sessions for more than a year in what Kadaga described as an abdication of his official duty.
But according to Oulanyah, the allegation was false.
On 13 July 2019, Oulanyah was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by Zoe Life Theological College USA and acquired the title, Doctor enabling him to be called Rt. Hon. Jacob Lokori Oulanyah. He was recognized for his distinguished services and faith.
Besides his duties as Deputy Speaker of Parliament, he sits on the appointments committee by the President and may approve or reject an appointment: Oulanyah served as the vice-chairperson of that committee.
Oulanyah first served as a Speaker in 1990 at Makerere University, elected as the Speaker of Makerere University Student’s Guild. He worked together with Democratic Party President, Norbert Mao who was the then Guild President.
The two became the doyen of student opposition to hardline NRM government cut back the students’ benefits known then by the moniker boom.
Oulanyah then stared death in the face as he was battered and his spleen raptured by the police as they repressed students’ strike. Following the event, two university students, Tom Okema and Tom Onyango were shot dead.
His bravery ushered him into the limelight, rein enforced by his return to Makerere for a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Degree and later Bar Course after his BSC in Agricultural Economics.
Road to Parliament
When then UPDF’s Col Walter Ochora, the late, defeated him in 1996 for the Gulu District Chairperson position, Jacob Oulanyah in 2001 contested for Omoro County MP on UPC ticket and won.
Norbert Mao was Gulu Municipality MP. The two teamed up and built a reputation of brilliance and flawless articulation in Parliament. One such superior argument on Acholi land rights was to draw the wrath of an army MP, a General, who reportedly attacked Oulanyah in the corridor of Parliament.
Shortly, rumours made rounds that Oulanyah was in bed with NRM, which often poached gifted opponents. Oulanyah kept denying but later he openly began hobnobbing with NRM ideologues and eventually, he joined the party.
Jacob Lokori Oulanyah is single, he and his wife Winnie Amoo Okot Oulanyah divorced. Together they are parents of two children who reside in San Diego, California USA with their mother after losing custody of kids following the divorce.
Oulanyah who divorced his wife in 2015, married Winnie in 2013 in a high profile wedding attended by VVIPS including President Yoweri Museveni.
However, months into the marriage cracks started appearing after Oulanyah accused his wife of ‘abandoning’ their marital home including denying him conjugal rights.
However, Oulanyah had earlier lost his first wife Dorothy Nangwale Oulanyah, whose name also featured during the divorce proceedings.