The deputy speaker of parliament Thomas Teyebwa has fronted Emmanuel Omoding, one of the sons of the fallen Serere County MP, Patrick Okabe as his replacement in parliament.
Tayebwa presented Omoding to the mourners during the funeral of Okabe and his wife, Christine Okabe at their home in Oburin Cell Ochapa town council in Serere district today Saturday afternoon.
On Monday this week, the couple perished in an accident along the Mbale-Tirinyi highway. Tayebwa’s decision was preceded by numerous calls by legislators from Teso who asked voters in Serere to replace Okabe with his family member. Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa was the first to raise the matter on Thursday when parliament paid tribute to Okabe.
During the funeral, Okupa reiterated the call that was repeated by the state minister for Teso Affairs, Clement Kenneth Ongalo Obote, the state minister of Education and Sports, Peter Ogwang, and the state minister for Disabilities, Hellen Asamo. In his speech, Tayebwa informed mourners that one of the sons of the late MP had accepted to carry on the mantle.
Omoding was quickly introduced to the mourners as Tayebwa called the NRM vice chairperson for eastern Uganda, Capt Mike Mukula to bless Omoding. Mukula said that he had no objection to the proposal provided the voters approve of the decision.
Mukula also called the NRM flag bearer, Phillip Oucor who lost to Okabe in the 2021 general elections to give his view on the proposal. Okabe was voted to parliament on an independent ticket after losing in the NRM primaries. But when called to the podium to respond to the request made by the MPs and the family, Oucor said he had not come for politics.
“I came here to mourn my neighbour and friend and my auntie, his wife. I didn’t prepare for politics," Oucor said while handing back the microphone to Mukula.
This left Mukula and the proponents dumbfounded. Mukula noted that the matter will be handled and harmonized later. When given time to speak, Omoding said that he will continue the good work of his father.
“I have never been strong like I am today. I have been living overseas but I am now ready for the mantle. We shall do everything in our capacity to ensure that papa’s legacy is carried on," he said to the cheering crowds.
All five children of Okabe have been living in the USA and Australia where some of them are married and work. In 2012, Usuk County voted in a 19-year-old Proscovia Alengot to continue her father’s term in parliament, Michael Oromait. When the speaker of parliament, Jacob Oulanyah died early this year, his son, Andrew Ojok Oulanyah was voted in.