President Yoweri Museveni has expressed regret that he came to learn of the ill-health of Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah when it was too late.
President Museveni revealed on Wednesday at the State Funeral of Hon Oulanyah, that he got to know about his cancer late last year when he traveled to Dubai for treatment.
Oulanyah, succumbed to cancer on March 19th in the United States.
In his lengthy tribute, Museveni partly blamed the poor management of the former speaker’s sickness, to his extensive work, both in parliament where he was an MP, Deputy Speaker and later Speaker, and in the NRM where he served as the Duty Chairman for Northern Uganda.
If he had known earlier, Museveni said he would have encouraged the speaker to “focus on life first.”
“Oulanyah was a disciplined person, but I came to know about the problem for the first time when he went to Dubai,” Museveni said.
President Museveni speaking at the State Funeral Service of Jacob Oulanyah on Wednesday at Kololo
“What is clear is if he had told me; apparently he had these issues to deal with, and also the politics here and in the NRM; but if I had known, I would have told him to concentrate on health.”
President Museveni also inferred that he would have discouraged Oulanyah from running for speakership, having done the same for Minister who was also unwell.
“When there was that competition for speakership, one of the ministers contacted me, he wanted to compete but I happened to know the health issues of that person. I told him, ‘don’t go I don’t want you to die because the speakership is a dangerous position.’” The president said, referring to the pressures of speakership and long hours of plenary sittings.
He however, didn’t disclose the names of the said Minister.
The president also used the function to appeal to all Ugandans to pay better attention to their health and avoid lifestyles that endanger their health, such as prostitution, alcoholism and obesity.
“Health is a weapon. If you are fighters for Africa, you must pay attention to health because you need it to fight,” he said.
“We need you to fight. When you die, you abandon us, we lose you and your contribution.”
The body of Speaker Oulanyah will later today be airlifted to his home district of Omoro where he will be laid to rest on Friday.