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Ugandans deserve better, UPC should not make Obote an issue

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd January 2001 03:00 AM

THE Uganda People's Congress (UPC) rank and file on December 28, organised a party to celebrate the 75th birthday of party president, Dr Milton Obote, at Uganda House in Kampala.

THE Uganda People's Congress (UPC) rank and file on December 28, organised a party to celebrate the 75th birthday of party president, Dr Milton Obote, at Uganda House in Kampala.

THE Uganda People's Congress (UPC) rank and file on December 28, organised a party to celebrate the 75th birthday of party president, Dr Milton Obote, at Uganda House in Kampala. It was fascinating event, which raises a lot of questions as to its significance and implications. Dr James Rwanyarare told a press conference organised as part of the birthday party, that UPC has no apologies for abolishing federo. He contended that it was the Buganda Lukiiko to blame for the 1966 crisis. Rwanyarare's remarks and the birthday party were provocative to a large section of the population, particularly in central region. Mayanja Nkangi, former Katikkiro of Buganda, reacted immediately as expected and called UPC 'bullies'. I cannot blame Mayanja Nkangi, in view of what he went through under the UPC government in 1966. There are many people in this country who do not want to be reminded about the chaotic past. But this is what Rwanyarare seemed to be so eager to do. It is no good for UPC to adamantly refuse to concede that it committed mistakes in the past and apologise however belatedly. Obote set the country on a bloody path when he unilaterally abrogated Constitution, banned the opposition political parties, suppressed political dissent within his own party and thus precipitated the Idi Amin coup and subsequent military dictatorship. I know there are members of UPC who adore and regard Obote as a hero. There are those who think that UPC would disintegrate if Obote relinquished party presidency. Some Congress big wigs, particularly from Lango, think Obote still commands a lot of support in the area and therefore they cannot risk antagonising the old man. But the fact remains that, Obote is a liability to the party and Multipartyists. His continued stay in leadership is harmful to cause of democratic pluralism. It was therefore not prudent for Rwanyarare and company to organise a big do to mark Obote's birthday, particularly in view of the fact that presidential elections are around the corner. I have a feeling that hosting the party was a political move meant to wreck MPs Aggrey Awori and Omara Atubo's presidential bids. Rwanyarare and his colleagues at Uganda House are not political novices. I do not recall any other time in the past when Obote's birthday has been marked ceremoniously in Uganda. Why now? Obote has decreed that no member of UPC should contest in the national elections organised under the Movement system. Awori and Omara Atubo's decision to run for the presidency under the Movement system is an act of open disloyalty to Obote. It is not surprising that UPC local leaders in Lira have denounced Omara Atubo's candidature and disowned him as a member of the DP. Certainly, following Rwanyarare's controversial remarks, Awori, Omara Atubo or any presidential candidate associated with UPC would find it hard to get support in Buganda. Rwanyarare is also significant politically in another respect. During last presidential elections, one of the key campaign issues was Obote. This time round, voters deserve better and would not like the campaigns again to focus on Obote and Idi Amin as an issue. But Rwanyarare and company have brought back Obote on the agenda. Rwanyarare has made work easier for the Museveni campaigners. How ironical that Rwanyarare can be generous to his political foes! Ends

Ugandans deserve better, UPC should not make Obote an issue

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