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MPs pay tribute to Obote

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th October 2005 03:00 AM

MPs yesterday paid tribute to Apollo Milton Obote for his contribution to the development of Uganda. They described the former two-time president and first executive prime minister as a great leader.

MPs yesterday paid tribute to Apollo Milton Obote for his contribution to the development of Uganda. They described the former two-time president and first executive prime minister as a great leader.

By Milton Olupot
and John Odyek

MPs yesterday paid tribute to Apollo Milton Obote for his contribution to the development of Uganda. They described the former two-time president and first executive prime minister as a great leader.

Parliament, chaired by Speaker Edward Ssekandi, passed a motion to declare the burial day, Monday, October 24, a public holiday and for the national flag to fly at half-mast from today.

The MPs echoed President Museveni’s address to the House earlier calling for reconciliation. They said Obote’s death was an opportunity for a fresh search for unity.

Vice-President Prof. Gilbert Bukenya moved the motion for the resolution of Parliament to pay tribute to Obote. It was seconded by premier Prof. Apolo Nsibambi.
Representatives of parties laid wreaths on Obote’s coffin. A state funeral service takes place at Kololo today starting at 8:00am.

The Government thanked the governments of Zambia and South Africa for the assistance rendered to Obote. Zambian tourism minister Kabinga Pande represented his government.

Before moving the motion, Bukenya called for a minute of silence to honour Obote.

“Parliament notes with deep sorrow the demise of Dr. Obote and noting that he was the first Executive Prime Minister and twice president of Uganda and received instruments of power for independence of Uganda, Parliament resolves to collectively convey its condolences to the family upon the loss,” he said.

He said Parliament appreciated Obote’s contribution to the development of Uganda. “It is sad that he died in exile and up to now we are struggling to make this country a home for all of us,” Bukenya said.

He said there had been mixed reactions on Obote’s death, but called on Ugandans not to dwell on the past. “Let us use the departure of Obote for reconciliation. Let us see what went wrong and how we can correct it.”

Nsibambi said, “To assess objectively the contribution of the former president of Uganda, we must be aware of the challenges and opportunities which he had to handle.

“Buganda enjoyed a special status. It was almost a state within a state. Buganda’s special position was resented.”

He said Obote tried to solve the Buganda question by forging an alliance between UPC, his party, and Buganda’s Kabaka Yekka party, which enabled Uganda to achieve independence without bloodshed. He said although Obote’s energy was taxed by internal problems, he also paid attention to wider problems of liberating Africa from colonialism.

Internal affairs minister Ruhakana Rugunda said, “He was a patriot, a nationalist. He falls in the category of Kenneth Kaunda, Julius Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah. To attain independence in Uganda was not an easy thing. There was fear that Uganda would disintegrate. He managed to hold all parties together.” State minister for tourism Ayumu Akaki (Maruzi) introduced the family to the House.

Alice Alaso (Soroti) said, “The word reconciliation should not just be rhetoric. I raised the issue of prisoners in Makindye. They applied for amnesty, the High Court granted them bail but they are still in custody.”

Omara Atubo (Otuke) said, “Lango suffered for 27 years but we did not celebrate when Amin died and when Tito Okello died. Let us as leaders act responsibly.”

MPs pay tribute to Obote

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