COMMENT | Ricky Rapa Thomson | The death of the fallen Speaker of Parliament, Jacob L’Okori Oulanyah sharply struck us all, not because of the status he possessed in the eyes of the public, but rather because of the mark he left on every community he associated with.
As stakeholders in the boda-boda industry, we have lost a friend, mentor, associate, and active ‘biker’. In his capacity, Oulanyah was a figure of a Ugandan in love with what he does, careful in execution, and keen on ensuring that facts are the guide in decision-making.
As a tribute to the bow-tie man, we shall miss these 3 things about him.
Symbol of unity
There are traits about Oulanyah that only he possessed throughout his short life. In a country where selfish interests supersede development, it is a rare occasion to find a person that can stand as a unifying pillar.
Oulanyah traced his ancestry to Lango, but grew up and lived in rival Acholi-land, a fact that could have ruined his political career, had he fronted it in his way of life.
However, he chose to be a national leader who was involved in resolving many disputes in the northern region, including the LRA war and the nearly 10-year conflict between Madi and Acholi communities over land in Apaa.
He always stressed the fact that the religions and tribes that divide us are not thicker than the blood that unites us. He was a symbol of unity in Uganda.
Humility in power
It is worth knowing that the former Speaker centered his leadership around humility; something he did both in moments of triumph as well as defeat. To him, this principle brought about instant reconciliation in society and communities, and indeed it did.
You won’t find many individuals, here in Uganda, that secure their earned power and resources with the kind of humility that Oulanyah exhibited.
Road Safety advocacy
Oulanyah was a member of the Uganda Bikers’ Association, a body he joined out of interest in the values it stood for including HIV and cancer awareness, as well as road safety. To him, everyone has a right to ride on the road, provided it is safe to do so.
Even in his demise, we still have a lot to learn from Jacob Oulanyah — lessons that we can take and pass on to the generations that will follow on what a great man he was.
As we believe that it is God that gives, and it is He that takes; let’s pray that the soul of the late rests in eternal peace.
The author is the co-founder and director of SafeBoda.