History and Political situation

A Brief Political Historyof Uganda

When Arab traders travelled inland fromtheir enclaves along the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa, and reached theinterior of Uganda in the 1830s, they found several African kingdoms withwell-developed political institutions dating back several centuries. Thesetraders were followed in the 1860s by British explorers searching for thesource of the River Nile. Protestant missionaries entered the country in 1877followed by Catholic missionaries in 1879.

Independence through the 1960s

Uganda becamea British protectorate in 1894 and she got her independence on October 9th 1962.At independence, Apollo Milton Obote, also leader of the Uganda People'sCongress (UPC) became the first Prime Minister and head of government.

The UPC cameinto power through an alliance with a pro-monarchy party called the KabakaYekka (King Only), whose sole stated aim was protecting the kingship ofBuganda.

In November1963, Kabaka Edward Mutesa II of Buganda was elected ceremonial President ofUganda, thus seemingly sealing the political alliance of UPC and KY. Thisarrangement was short lived.

In 1964, ApolloMilton Obote proposed a bill in Parliament providing for a referendum on thestatus of counties claimed by both Buganda and Bunyoro.  The resultsindicated that the two counties preferred allying with the Bunyoro kingdom. AsKabaka of Buganda and President of Uganda, Sir Edward Mutesa II, was placed ina difficult position of signing the two acts pertaining to the "lostcounties" referendum which his Kingdom had lost. Accusations ofdereliction of duty by the President from the Prime Minister led to the suspensionof the 1962 constitution on the 22nd of February 1966. The PrimeMinister then assumed complete executive powers of State. This is what isreferred to as the 1966 Crisis.

On 15 April1966, Apollo Milton Obote introduced a new constitution to be voted upon and passed.The Prime Minister informed Members of Parliament (MPs) that they would findthe copies of the Constitution in their pigeonholes. This constitution isreferred to as the ĎPigeonhole Constitutioní. Amongst other changes, thefederal constitutional status of kingdoms was abolished and the office of PrimeMinister merged with that of the President and all executive powers vested inthe Presidency. Uganda was declared a Republic.

The Kabaka andhis administration at Mengo refused to recognize the supremacy of thepigeonhole constitution, insisting on the 1962 version. This led to a militaryincursion into the Kabakaís palace on the 24th May 1966 by the Uganda armyunder the command of General Idi Amin. The Kabaka escaped, and was exiled inthe United Kingdom where he later died in 1969.

In 1967Parliament became the constituent assembly and later all political parties wereoutlawed, except UPC. In a move to the left, Uganda became a one-party-state.

Idi Amin

Idi Amin led adisgruntled section of the army in a military coup to overthrow the governmentof Apollo Milton Obote on 25th January 1971. This was the beginning of an eraof terror and enormous tribulation for the people of Uganda. General Aminísrule lasted eight years. It was also during this period that Asians, mainlyIndians, were expelled from Uganda.

As a resultthe economy suffered tremendously. The fiscal mismanagement and insecurityduring Idi Aminís rule was unprecedented.

An estimated300,000 Ugandans lost their lives through extra judicial killings.

The fall of General IdiAmin, the UNLF and Apollo Milton Obote II.

In April 1979,a combined force of Ugandan exiles, under the umbrella of Uganda NationalLiberation Army (UNLA), and the Tanzania Peoples Defence Force (TPDF) overthrewGeneral Amin's regime.

The UNLA wascreated through the patronage of Julius K. Nyerere President of Tanzania at theMoshi Conference. It brought together a disparate group of Ugandanorganizations and individuals with a common goal of ousting General Idi Amin.The first UNLF government was led by Prof. Yusuf Lule as President. Though apopular President, his rule lasted 68 days.

Yusuf Lule wasreplaced by President Godfrey Binaisa, who was later replaced and Paulo Muwangachairman of ruling Military Commission. Paul Muwanga organised GeneralElections in December 1980. UPC was declared winner of those elections thoughthey were marred with irregularities and considered rigged. For the secondtime, Apollo Milton Obote became President of Uganda.

During Obote'ssecond tenure as president, insecurity, fuelled by the government's ownsecurity organs as well as an ongoing liberation struggle devastated thecountry. An estimated 500,000 Ugandans lost their lives in 5 years of ApolloMilton Obote's rule. The economy was destroyed and so was the people's faith ingovernment.

NRA liberationstruggle

In directprotest against the marred elections of 1980, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, then ViceChairman of the Military Commission and President of the Uganda PatrioticMovement, launched a liberation struggle. On February 6th 1981, with 26 compatriots, he organized what came to be themost successful people led guerrilla campaign under the National ResistanceArmy (NRA) in post colonial Africa. This was the war of liberation.

As the NRAmade staggering advances towards Kampala, having already cut the country offinto two different administrative zones, elements of the UNLA on July 26th 1985ousted Apollo Milton Obote in a bid to find a better negotiating position. AMilitary Junta led by General Bazilio Okello and General Tito Okello replaced ApolloMilton Obote's second government.

By February26th 1986 the "Okello Junta" had fallen and shortly after the entirecountry was under the control of the NRA.

The NRA'sstruggle was unique in that, for the first time in post-colonial Africa, a homegrown insurgency, with no rear bases in a neighbouring country and littleexternal support, was ultimately successful. It was essentially an uprising ofoppressed Ugandan citizens.

Yoweri KagutaMuseveni was sworn in as the President of the Republic of Uganda. The task ofrebuilding the entire country and its human fabric from scratch began. Toenable this task, political parties were suspended and Uganda was governed byan all-inclusive Movement system. A lot was to be achieved over the next eightto ten years.

The NRA/Mhowever continued to face the challenge of reactionary UNLA forces especiallyin the northern part of the country.

The Movement System ofGovernment

In 1995, a newconstitution was promulgated creating a non-party all inclusive Movement Systemof government. Under this system, political parties remained in abeyance.Elections to most political offices were through universal suffrage.Marginalised groups like the women, the disabled, the youth and workers weregiven special slots on all administrative units of Government. The military wasalso given representation in parliament. The aspect of keeping this system wasto be reviewed by referendum every 4 years.

Generalelections were held in 1996 under the Movement System and Yoweri Museveni wasreturned as President of Uganda. By this election, he became the very firstUgandan to be directly elected to the post by universal suffrage. In 2001, hewas again returned by popular mandate to the Office of President

Return to Multi Party Politics

In July 2005 anational referendum was held in which the people of Uganda resolved to returnto multi-party politics. The result of the referendum in effect marked an endto the Movement System of government. On February 23rd 2006, multi-partyelections were held for both the office of president and for parliament.President Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) won thepresidential elections and the NRM took the highest number of seats inparliament.