Acholi leaders both in Parliament and Local Government want the vacant position of the speaker of parliament filled by an Acholi.
The position fell vacant fell following the death of Jacob Oulanyah, who also doubled as the MP for Omoro County and vice-chairperson of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party for northern Uganda.
Oulanyah died from a hospital in Seattle USA, where he had been taken for specialized treatment on February 3, 2022.
At the time of his death, Oulanyah had only president over the parliament business for nine months and 24 days.
Leaders in Acholi are demanding that the position be given to an Acholi leader since it was occupied by an Acholi.
Yesterday, chairpersons of Acholi districts, organized under their Acholi Local Government Leaders’ Forum, held a meeting at Bomah Hotel in Kitgum district and resolved to table the request before the president.
The meeting was attended by the chairpersons of Pader, Agago, Amuru, Nwoya, Kitgum, and Lamwo districts, as well as the mayor of Gulu City, Alfred Okwonga, who is also the interim chair of the Acholi Local Government Leaders’ Forum.
In attendance were also the RDCs of Lamwo and Kitgum districts.
Sisto Oyet, the chairperson of Lamwo, the interim publicist and mobilizer of the forum, says although they have left the task of identifying the candidates, especially the NRM members, best suited for the position to the Acholi Members of Parliament, they plan to meet the president to table their request.
Oyet says the chairpersons want that that if the position cannot be given to an Acholi, then the deputy speaker should be an Acholi.
Gilbert Olanya, the MP for Kilak South in Amuru district, who also doubles as the General Secretary of Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG), revealed that yesterday APG also held a meeting and resolved to table the same demand before the president.
Olanya said the groups noted that the speaker had only held the position for less than a year, so the remaining four years should be given to an Acholi.
Olanya said the group immediately nominated, Hilary Onek the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugee, the Woman MP for Kitgum Lilliam Aber, and the woman MP for Omoro district, Catherine Lamwaka, as suitable people they feel can fill the gap left by Oulanyah.
He says the names will be taken to the President today, and they will be ok with whoever he chooses to replace Oulanyah.
Olanya reasoned that after the death of the Deputy Inspector of Police, Gen Paul Lokech, an Acholi, died, his position was replaced by a person from another region, so it would not be fair if the same happens again in this case.
He says the group chose a few individuals including minister Hilary Onek, headed by the chairperson of APG, Anthony Akol, to go to State House today, to meet the president and table their interest, and other matters relating to the death of the speaker.
The government has already set Friday, March 25, as the date for the election of a new speaker of Parliament following the death of Jacob Oulanyah.