Oulanyah opens up on Romanian ordeal

It is unusual for top government officials to speak, publicly, about their foreign travel experiences. But for Jacob Oulanyah, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, forcing him out of a car and made to walk for almost a mile during a recent trip to Romania hurt him so bad that he cannot remain silent about it.

Meeting a delegation from Romania led by Daniela Gitman, Oulanyah criticized the Eastern Europe nation for breach of protocol last month when he travelled there for the African Caribbean Pacific region and European Union (ACP/EU) Parliamentary Assembly.

“I had a fairly bad experience when I arrived in Romania. They stopped my people who had hired me a good car, I was going [and] they stopped me [about] 1km from my hotel. They told me to get out of the car and walk. I spent about 10 to 15 minutes on the road trying to persuade these people to allow me use the car, my driver was a Romanian lady, she also came out and tried to talk to them… we are talking about mobility, and, this is something you have to clean up,” Oulanyah said.

The Romanian delegation is in Uganda to discuss collaboration between the two countries including opening an embassy in Kampala, plus areas for support and investment such as education, tourism and health.

Gitman who is also a Special representative for UN Affairs, apologized to Oulanyah for the embarrassing experience and offered to take up the matter with the authorities back home, saying that hospitality is part of Romania’s deep rooted culture.