SIR â€” While many Baganda, especially in Mengo and Luweero have tried to portray the fallen former Uganda president Milton Obote as a killer and undemocratic, there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
For instance, if Obote was truly a killer,
why did he provide security to Yoweri Museveniâ€™s mother through Smith Opon Acak, the then Chief of Staff at a time when Museveni was fighting Oboteâ€™s government in Luweero?
Oboteâ€™s parents were not accorded similar protection by Museveniâ€™s government and unknown gunmen killed themWhy is it that he didnâ€™t sign any death warrant throughout his rule?
Why is it that Obote did not kill Mohammed Ssebadduka, who shot him in December 1969 at Lugogo? Ssebaduka was sentenced to only three yearsâ€™ imprisonment.
Why is it that he didnâ€™t kill Ben Kiwanuka, his political rival, who was the brain behind his assassination attempt? Kiwanuka also got three years for his action!
Why is it that obscene killings have continued 20 years after Obote was overthrown?
Now that he is dead, will these killings end in Uganda? Have the Bagandaâ€™s woes ended now that Obote is no more?
As for the 1966 Buganda crisis, Obote responded just like Patrice Lumumba of Congo during the Katanga crisis, Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria during the Biafra crisis and Abraham Lincoln a century earlier in the American civil war did.
Kabaka Mutesa faced what other secessionists like Tshombe of Katanga in Congo and Ojukwu of Biafra in Nigeria suffered when they were exiled because of secessionism.
Thus, it is untenable to say Obote militarised Ugandaâ€™s politics when he applied an internationally used method of quelling rebellion when he attacked the Lubiri in 1966. It is erroneous to think that Obote had no right to retaliate or defend himself and his government when attacked, even if the attack was from the Kabaka. Obote was the executive prime minister.
For Luweero some of the former rebels admitted killing people there while disguising as UPC or UNLA.
Lastly, I wish to comment on Oboteâ€™s abrogation of the 1962 constitution and abolition of kingdoms which seemed undemocratic and deprived southerners who had participated in the rebellion of the privilege of voting or holding office. The majority of southerners had participated in the rebellion.
Certainly, obote is being wrongfully demonised just like his friend Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana who was first demonised but was later idolised.
George Goldie Aporo
SIR â€” The death of UPCâ€™s president and twice deposed head of state Dr. Apollo Milton Obote has generated mixed reactions from the public.
Some people have commended him for some good things he did while others have dismissed him as a total failure and a monster who only presided over the oppression and genocide of the citizens of Uganda. He overthrew a peopleâ€™s Constitution and replaced it with a one-man constitution which entrenched him and concentrated all the powers around him. He could even appoint a muluka chief! He declared himself president after the 1966 crisis which was his own creation and introduced a one-party state.
From that date, he ruled Uganda with an iron hand until he was overthrown by his army commander, Idi Amin, whom he groomed.
His government engaged in inhuman treatment and abused human rights with impunity and many Ugandans lost their lives. He could be commended for his role in independence but he later committed grave mistakes which returned the country to square one and eroded all his achievements. He behaved like a good Samaritan who offers to pay school fees for a poor young girl and later turns around and defiles her.
The departure of UPCâ€™s strongman is obviously a big blow to the already crumbling party faced with intrigue and cliquism in the struggle for party leadership. It is only Obote who had the capacity to break these emerging factions and restore unity in the party. His word was final and indeed respected in the party.
We can only offer our prayers. Otherwise UPC is headed for political doom. Some sections of the public have criticised the government for according him a state funeral. First of all it was obligatory for the Government to accord him a state burial.
Any sensible government would have done so. Secondly, much as Obote committed grave mistakes, the Government cannot continue tearing the country apart by sowing seeds of hatred and disunity.
Obviously, this has its own repercussions. It was only in the interest of peace and national reconciliation that the Government gave him a good and benefiting send-off. Obote was a great leader with great mistakes. May his soul rest in eternal peace!
Why didnâ€™t Obote kill Ssebadduka?