New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Speaker Oulanya Recounts Tension During Oil Debate

Kampala — The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has narrated the behind-the-scenes tensions during the Parliament debate that ended with the passing of the oil Bill, and asked church leaders to pray for politicians.

The Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill 2012 was finally passed on Friday after weeks of debate over clause 9 which empowers the minister of energy to issue or revoke exploration licenses.

Oulanyah said: "We passed a bill which had traumatized us for a long time. It was not easy."

He was speaking at the official farewell party for the retiring Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Henry Luke Orombi at the Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo over the weekend.

"Political leaders may appear pompous and big in office, but they are lonely people. Many times things happen and you are blamed. We need you [Orombi] to come and pray with us to get the strength to continue to serve," the deputy Speaker said.

Offering an insight into the behind-the-scenes events, he said: "Sometimes you pray that a particular MP doesn't stand up, because you know that when he stands, it is going to be problems. At times you pray for certain people to stand up, and sometimes they do."

Archbishop Orombi said that he appreciated the situation of leaders as told by the deputy speaker, and cited the Bible where John the Baptist criticized King Herod, which eventually led to John the Baptist's death. He also noted the Biblical story of Prophet Nathan's confrontation with King David, who was the ruler of Israel for impregnating Bathsheba and killing her husband Uriah.

Oulanyah recounted that at the end of the heated Parliament debate, it was only the chairman of the parliamentary committee on natural resources - Michael Werikhe - who came to the deputy speaker's office to thank him.

The farewell party for the cleric was attended by former Prime Minister Prof. Apolo Nsibambi and his wife Esther, the Archbishop-elect Stanley Ntagali and his wife Beatrice, as well as the bishop of Namirembe Wilberforce Luwalira and his wife Faith.

Later on the sidelines of the party, Prof. Nsibambi, without delving into details, told MP David Bahati that the deputy speaker had saved the country by passing the Petroleum (Exploration, Development and Production) Bill.

According to the Church of the Province of Uganda's constitution, an Archbishop serves only one 10-year term before retirement.

Orombi's term in office was set to expire in January 2014 but he has decided to retire a year earlier.

The Archbishop-elect Ntagali will be installed on December 16 as the 8th archbishop of Church of the Province of Uganda.

Previous archbishops of the country's Anglican church include: Leslie Brown who was the first Archbishop of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire; Erica Sabiti, Janani Luwum, Silvanus Wani, Yona Okoth, and Livingstone Mpalanyi-Nkoyoyo.

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