Uganda’s political history is a story which can never be ignored. Right from the colonial period, through the post independence era, a lot of interesting regimes took over Uganda.
Just after Uganda’s attainment of independence from the British colonial masters on 9th October 1962, an alliance Government took over what would be best termed as “rulership” of the country. Dr. Apollo Milton Obote (1925-2005), the founder of the Uganda People’s Congress together with the by then Kabaka of Buganda Sir Edward Luwangula Walugembe Muteesa II (19th November 1924-1969), who had founded the Kabaka Yekka party became the Executive Prime Minister and President and Commander-in-Chief of the army respectively.
This simply implied that the Prime Minister had absolute powers while the President was just ceremonial. This government was definitely characterized by chaos and misunderstandings as the President together with his followers and supporters were concerned about potential northern domination of the military, a concern that reflected the power struggle between Muteesa and Obote. Muteesa used his political power to protect the interests of his Buganda constituency, and he refused to support demands for the Africanization of the officer ranks. At one point Dr. Obote even referred to him as a stumbling block. He took over as President on 15th April 1966.
In 1971, Idi Amin Dada (Field Marshall), who was the Major General and later the commander of the post-colonial army, led a military coup on 25th January, which deposed Dr. Obote from power. ( His actual year of birth is not clear too. It is said that he was born between 1925 and 1928). Amin’s rule was characterized by human rights abuses, political repression, ethnic persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement, among other injustices.
In January 1979, Nyerere mobilized the Tanzania People’s Defense Force and counterattacked, joined by several groups of Ugandan exiles who had united as the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). Amin’s army retreated steadily, and, despite military help from Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, he was forced to flee into exile by helicopter on 11 April 1979, when Kampala was captured. He escaped first to Libya, where he stayed until 1980, and ultimately settled in Saudi Arabia. He died on August 16, 2003.
After the overthrow of Amin in April 1979, Yusuf Kironde Lule (1912-1984) became president. His regime was a dramatic one as it lasted 68 days (2 months and 8 days), recorded as the shortest time spent in power by any Ugandan President. On June 20, 1979, the NCC staged a coup, removing Lule as president for allegedly making wide ranging appointments in government without consulting them. Subsequently, Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa (30 May 1920 – 5 August 2010) was named as his successor.
Binaisa was president from June 1979 to May 1980. His term in office was also short-lived and was known for the famous statement “Entebbe ewooma,” meaning that being president is the greatest thing that can happen to anyone. At his death he was Uganda’s only surviving former president. He was succeeded by Paulo Muwanga (c. 1921 – 1 April 1991).
Muwanga was the de facto President of Uganda for a few days in May 1980 until the establishment of the Presidential Commission of Uganda. He held the office of President of Uganda between 22 May and 15 December 1980. This was after Muwanga, together with Yoweri Museveni, Oyite Ojok and Tito Okello Lutwa had deposed Godfrey Binaisa in a coup on 12 May 1980. Muwanga’s was replaced by the 2nd regime of Dr. Apollo Milton Obote.
Dr. Obote’s 2nd regime lasted from 17th December 1980 to 27th July 1985.Obote’s second term was nothing but bloody. In February 1981, a rebel group, the National Resistance Army (NRA) led by Yoweri Museveni launched a people’s protracted war in Luwero. There was also a rebellion in West-Nile by Amin’s remnants and another by Andrew Kayiira’s Uganda Freedom Movement (UFM). It was Obote’s reaction to the attacks by these groups that however made him more unpopular.
General Tito Okello Lutwa (1914-1996) succeeded Dr. Obote and his regime lasted from 29th July 1985 to 26th January 1986. General Tito was overthrown in 1986 by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (15th August 1944- ), who is still the President of Uganda after 26 years. Museveni’s journey to take over State power started even before 1980. The man who in 1980 contested the presidency but lost to UPC’s Milton Obote soon waged a guerilla war, resulting in the overthrow of Tito Okello’s government in 1986. Uganda has marked over 50 years since her independence and has had 8 Presidential regimes in her political history.