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Bishop Ochola criticizes Acholi leaders over demand for speaker’s position

Speaker Jacob Oulanyah died on Sunday.

Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Retired Bishop of Kitgum Diocese, McLeod Baker Ochola, has termed as unrealistic statements by leaders in Acholi following the death of the Speaker of Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah.

On Monday, Members of Parliament under the Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) together with LCV chairpersons in Acholi, resolved that the position of Speaker be reserved for the region.

The leaders argued that Museveni had already given the position to an Acholi, and since Oulanyah had only served for less than a year of his five-year term, the remaining years should be given to an Acholi.

On Tuesday, MPs from Acholi, Lango, and West Nile sub-region also resolved that if the position of Speaker is not reserved for the region, they will boycott the election of the speaker on Friday.

However, while appearing in a program on local radio in Kitgum district, Bishop Ochola said that the demand by the Acholi leaders is selfish because Oulanyah was gifted as an individual, and replacing him with an Acholi leader might not necessarily translate into great performance.

Bishop Ochola argued that Oulanyah was a gifted man who came from an intelligent family, and his intelligence can’t be inherited by other Acholi leaders to enable him or serve as capably as Oulanyah did.

“Any position given to Acholi or any other tribe is given on merit and according to Ugandan law, not how we want. Saying a position was held by your child and should therefore be filled by your other children isn’t right. Acholi should know that Oulanyah was a gifted man from an intelligent family. I personally know him as a man whose intelligence was God-given. So, a person’s ability is their own. It can’t be inherited. If another Acholi is made to replace Oulanyah, s/he will not take Oulanyah’s brainpower to make them excel in that position.”

Bishop Ochola argued that death is inevitable and everyone will eventually die. He however says if it is true that Oulanyah did not die of natural causes as is being claimed, then it means Ugandans are still dirty, and ungodly.

Bishop Ochola urged the Acholi who think Oulanyah was killed, to speak from an informed point of view, based on evidence from the medical report.

Denis Onekalit Amere, the Kitgum Municipality Member of Parliament says Bishop Ochola spoke from a biblical point of view.

Amere says Oulanyah’s death is more painful because he is the second Acholi to die, less than a year after the “mysterious” death of Gen Paul Lokech, the deputy Inspector General of Police.

According to Amere, it is questionable that the Acholi holding top positions of leadership die less than a year of assuming their position.

A resident of Kitgum municipality, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says the Acholi leaders are looking for sympathy and going against their claim that Oulanyah, including other top leaders, were killed, yet they are insisting on replacing them by other Acholi.

“If you say the regime is killing your people, why insist that another Acholi replace them? That means you want them killed too,” he said.

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