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Acholi elders to meet again over Oulanyah poison claims

Elders in Acholi Sub-region will meet again this week to establish the exact cause of the death of former Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah.
The controversies are stemming from claims, initially made by Oulanyah’s father Nathan Okori and later by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) central region chairman, Mr Godfrey Kiwanda, that Oulanyah was poisoned.




However, the government has challenged and threatened to arrest those peddling the claims of poisoning, saying Oulanyah died of natural causes.
Oulanyah, 56, was admitted to America’s University of Washington Medical Center and was pronounced dead on March 20. He was buried last Friday at his ancestral home in Omoro District.



Speaking in an interview with this publication yesterday, Mr Francis Mawa, the Prime Minister of Puranga chiefdom, said the post-mortem report he saw has the same information as that given by Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, that Oulanyah died of natural causes.




“Even me whom he [Okori] sent to receive the dead body [from Entebbe International Airport on his behalf two weeks ago], I tried to ask him [Okori about the claims of poisoning] but he said that is the communication from late Jacob,” Mr Mawa said.
The Puranga prime minister said Mr Okori has not told him whether Oulanyah revealed the person who poisoned him.




“Dr [Jane] Aceng [the Health minister] is like a sister to the late [Oulanyah] so she told us that what the doctor [in Seattle] diagnosed is what is in the post-mortem report. It is very difficult to confirm the claims of poisoning because there is no evidence,” he said.
He added: “After three days, we are going to convene a closed-door meeting and in that meeting, we are going to invite elders and the venue will not be at mzee’s [Okori’s] place because at this time he is not himself.”



Sunday Monitor reported that the Saturday meeting, which had key people from Acholi Sub-region including Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo and Democratic Party president Norbert Mao saw one elder based in America opt-out of the explosive talks that ended with no resolution.




Burial
Mr Okori had at the burial ceremony on Friday, said: “…Jacob Oulanyah was poisoned. He told me. And he was operated on, doctors attempted to deal with the poison. The poison affected his health so badly…he was not in a position to recover. He was too weak.”
He had also requested Chief Justice to rein in on a “certain lady who is medalling in Oulanyah’s company and private property.”



Last Tuesday, Dr Aceng told Parliament that Oulanyah’s death was caused by multiple organ failure from cancer.
But like Mr Okori, Mr Kiwanda told journalists at the weekend: “In 2021 when he was too sick, he called me home and I asked ‘what is the problem, Jacob? What is going on?’ He said, ‘I think I was poisoned.’




“I said ‘But from where?’ and he said ‘I don’t know.’ But he told me ‘don’t tell anyone.’ I said ‘if you are sick, why don’t we share it so that you get medical attention?” Of course, I couldn’t keep quiet so I shared with some people. This allegation [of poisoning] was from him [Oulanyha]. It didn’t originate from the father because he even told it to me,” Mr Kiwanda added.
When contacted on the matter, Police spokesperson Fred Enanga told this newspaper yesterday that he would update the public at the right time.




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