Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah has dismissed reports that circulated on social media in December 2019 claiming he was battling an illness out of the country.
“I am well as you can see; I have not fallen sick but probably I will fall sick in future; I do not have an issue as yet,” he said at the start of the plenary sitting on Tuesday, 28 January 2020.
Oulanyah’s response was prompted by MP Anthony Akol (FDC, Kilak North), who said he was questioned by constituents during the recent recess on concerns about the Deputy Speaker’s alleged ill-health.
“There were issues circulating on social media about your health; there was anxiety in my constituency about it,” said Akol.
Oulanyah flew to Germany in December 2019 for official duties but the extended trip sparked speculations of ill-health by tabloids and social media, which the Deputy Speaker has dismissed.
During the same sitting, the Chief Opposition Whip, Hon Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda asked government to issue a travel advisory stopping Ugandans intending to travel to Rwanda saying citizens get killed on the other side of the border with impunity.
“The immediate information I wanted from government on Rwanda is on Ugandans being killed there; do they [Ugandans] continue to travel to Rwanda or travel advisories will be issued,” said Ssemujju.
Rwanda, said Ssemujju, advised her citizens against traveling to Uganda at the start of the conflict that has since seen the Katunta-Gatuna border closed, but that Uganda has fallen short on issuing similar advisories placing citizens at risk.
Last week, Ssemujju asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to present a statement to Parliament on the current state of relations with Rwanda, but in an early morning call to the Deputy Speaker , Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Sam Kutesa, asked for more time.
“This morning I received a call from the Minister of Foreign Affairs [Sam Kutesa] who said he is away and that there is a Committee that is handling the issues and part of their findings will be included in the statement,” said Oulanyah.
At a joint news conference last year, Uganda handed over a dozen Rwandan prisoners to their High Commissioner, Maj Gen Frank Mugambage, in a bid to thaw frosty relations.
The explosive news conference at which Maj Gen Mugambage delivered stinging criticism of Uganda indicated the relations could as well be far from getting normalised.
The following week, another Ugandan was shot in Rwanda, deepening the escalations.
President Yoweri Museveni, however, posted a short statement on his Facebook page last year, exuding confidence that the relations will be normalised.