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WHY OULANYAH BODY RETURN HAS DELAYED

By Mulengera Reporters

As he anxiously awaits for the return of his man Jacob Oulanyah‘s body, President Museveni has tasked Uganda’s outgoing Ambassador to US/Washington Mull Katende to abreast him with daily briefings on the progress being made. But Mulengera News has established that Katende & team in Washington haven’t been able to make quick progress as the veteran leader from Rwakitura would have desired to see.

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Sources say that the US processes leading to the body’s evacuation being cleared has turned out to be slow and very bureaucratic because of the many lengthy clearance and certification processes involved. When a person dies in the US, regardless of who they are, a death certificate has to be applied for online and the issuance, preceded with a lot of consultations, is on first come first serve basis. There are equally many procedures, clearances and certifications that have to be endured before the body evacuation can be authorized.

Unfortunately, these are processes which Amb Mull Katende has no control over. Its not like Uganda where NIRA would, acting on order from above, put everything else on halt and expeditiously work on the fallen Speaker’s documentation. It has nothing to do with money (including the modest daily charges for the funeral home) either but processes having to be followed and adhered to. Knowledgeable sources say that the earliest Oulanyah‘s body can be in the country is Friday.

Upon receiving paperwork from the US authorities, Amb Mull Katende will have to send the same to Kampala-based MoH for some input and clearance. After clearing and certifying everything, the MoH sends back everything to US/Washington for onward delivery to the funeral home which must then proceed to book the flight. Yet that isn’t all.

The leadership transition at the Ugandan Washington Embassy too has somehow made things complicated. Amb Katende is almost done with his official farewells and is ideally supposed to sign out and travel back to Uganda this coming week. Roby Kakonge, who Gen Museveni appointed early December to replace him, can’t move in as yet because the US State Department has so far been reluctant to accept her. In diplomacy, the practice is that after the President/Head of State has nominated the new Ambassador (who in Uganda’s case has to be cleared by Parliament too), that nominee gets his or her resume submitted to the receiving country for additional vetting.

They undertake background check and they can actually decline taking in that person and will politely ask the appointing authority to choose someone else. Once they find the person to be of acceptable pedigree, the receiving country (in this case the US) communicates their no objection (technically called Agremar) which must precede the moving in of the new Ambassador to start doing the work.

In Roby Katende‘s case, its now three weeks since the State Department received the resume and sometimes it can take as long as 6 months before the Agremar is issued. During that period, the Deputy Ambassador (in this case Santa) has to hold forte until someone substantive is cleared to come in. DP President Norbert Mao (who is thickly involved in preparations) reflected on all these difficulties and told Mulengera News earlier in the day (Saturday) that the earliest Oulanyah can be buried is around the middle or end of the first week of April. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994 [whatsapp line], 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at mulengera2040@gmail.com).

 

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