Your continued stay in that chair is a disgrace to yourself and taxpayers, angry Odonga Otto tells Oulanyah
“Your gross irregularities, outright biased typical [sic] of NRM political party mobilizers and not that of the presiding officer which was wanting in a number of areas," Odonga Otto said.
PARLIAMENT | An emotional Odonga Otto is certainly not the kind you would want to see writing you letters and Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah might recommend Gen Kahinda Otafiire’s remedy for the Aruu County MP in coming days.
Odonga Otto has vowed to boycott all parliamentary sittings chaired by Oulanyah, accusing the Deputy Speaker of bias while chairing debate on the report on the alleged torture and detention of his fellow legislators.
In a September 6 letter to the Deputy Speaker, Odonga Otto expressed “absolute and utmost displeasure” on Oulanyah’s conduct during the parliamentary proceedings of September 1 and 5 when the House discussed matters he says were about life and safety of MPs Robert Kyagulanyi and Francis Zaake.
“Your gross irregularities, outright biased typical [sic] of NRM political party mobilizers and not that of the presiding officer which was wanting in a number of areas,” Odonga Otto said.
He accused Oulanyah of participating in parliamentary debate contrary to rules of procedure, saying the entire Hansard of September 4 and the record of debate is “majorly full of the presiding officer, Security minister Gen Elly Tumwine, and Col. Fred Mwesigye.”
The Hansard is the record of House proceedings and Odonga Otto alleges that, besides himself, the Deputy Speaker only allowed government officials to speak.
On Wednesday, a parliamentary ad hoc committee report into the arrest, detention and alleged torture of Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi and his Mityana Municipality counterpart was presented to Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.
Kyagulanyi is now in the US for further medical management while Zaake is in India for specialised treatment. Other MPs and supporters they were arrested with in Arua last month have been granted bail
But Odonga Otto is not pleased with how the plenary was conducted, apparently singling out how the Deputy Speaker picked members for submission.
“This is deplorable and laughable as you reduced a national parliament to a cultural gala,” said Odonga Otto, a legislator who is not known to hold back tears on camera if his emotions tore through his tear glands.
The legislator’s abrasive style and emotional outburst is a total antithesis of what exemplifies Oulanyah who, though unpopular for appearing to serve the interest of the ruling NRM party especially during controversial debates, is widely considered as calm and proactive in handling charged up moments.
He also accuses Oulanyah of not giving members time to air their views on September 5, claiming that the Deputy Speaker instead picked Gen Tumwine whom he claims had not showed desire to speak, to address the plenary.
“In the circumstance, given your obvious biases, direct political leanings, routine and casual psycophancy [sic] I bring to your attention that I will not be attending any session of Parliament you will be chairing until the end of this Parliament in 2021,” Odonga Otto said.
The legislator requested that the Clerk to Parliament–who is also copied in as well as the Speaker, Leader of Opposition and Opposition Chief Whip–avails him with tentative timetable for when Oulanyah would be chairing plenary so that he looks “for better things to do” whenever the Deputy Speaker is scheduled.
“I wish to reiterate that your continued stay in that chair is disgrace to yourself, tax payers, Parliament and the country at large.”
It remains to be seen how the man from Omoro County will respond to his Aruu counterpart as this news website was not able to get his comment on the letter.
However, the director of Communication and Public Relations at Parliament, Chris Obore, could only offer counsel and his prayers that the two legislators handle any grievances with dignity.
“I would only request that they maintain decorum and manage whatever disagreements they may have in a manner that inspires young leaders to manage political disagreements with respect,” Obore said.
Odonga Otto closed his letter with a prayer that one day the Constitution is amended such that the Speaker can be non-legislators but eminent persons like judges. But Gen Otafiire once suggested that he probably needed to put his own head in a refrigerator to cool it; perhaps he would suggest the same of Odonga Otto.