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Blame Obote’s evils on British colonialists

By Vision Reporter

Added 13th October 2005 03:00 AM

Since the death of Milton Obote, former president of the Republic of Uganda, on October 10, 2005 there have been mixed reactions from the population.

Since the death of Milton Obote, former president of the Republic of Uganda, on October 10, 2005 there have been mixed reactions from the population.

Since the death of Milton Obote, former president of the Republic of Uganda, on October 10, 2005 there have been mixed reactions from the population. These reactions can only be categorised into two extreme positions: Some sections of the polity hold that Obote was a monster while others argue that he was the best thing that Uganda has ever had. Both positions are not without reason.
As Shakespeare said, “The evils that men do live after them while the good are buried with their bones.” The evils, perceived or real, emanate from the contradictions of the colonial state.
In 1894, the Protectorate Agreement signed between the colonial state and Buganda (Uganda) clearly recognised the peculiarity of Buganda’s position in the colonial state formation. This eventually led to the 1900 Buganda Agreement under which Buganda kingdom gained territory in areas outside Buganda.
It was clearly intimated that the British colonial state would use Buganda sub-imperialism to subjugate and annex other kingdoms such as Bunyoro and Ankole or egalitarian societies such as Kigezi and others in eastern and northern Uganda. The defeat of Omukama Kabalega of Bunyoro with the assistance of Buganda led to the “loss” of the two counties of Buyaga and Bugangeizi which were given to Buganda in appreciation of the Baganda’s assistance. These two counties today form Kibaale district. Throughout the colonial period, Buganda and Bunyoro kingdoms contested the lost counties.
In 1964, the Uganda government under Obote organised a referendum and the population in the lost counties overwhelmingly voted to return to Bunyoro.
Not surprisingly, the Kabaka, who was the head of state as per the 1962 constitution, declined to assent to the outcome of the referendum. Obote, who was the Prime Minister and head of government, with all the zeal and determination, assented to the instrument returning the lost counties to Bunyoro as per the outcome of the referendum. This was the first “head-on collision” between Obote and Kabaka Muteesa II. Subsequently, the rift between the two men intensified and culminated into a major crisis that saw the abrogation of the 1962 constitution. Under the new constitutional arrangements, Obote removed all powers from the Kabaka.
On May 24 1966, the Kabaka’s palace at Mengo was attacked, sending the Kabaka into exile. This event was to bear long standing significance in Ugandan politics, mainly for two reasons:
lThe attack of the Kabaka’s palace and the establishment of a republic marked the end of a long traditional monarchy.
lThe attack at Lubiri was commanded by Col. Idi Amin, hence the beginning of militarisation of Uganda’s politics.
The 1962 Constitution presented Uganda with a delicate balance of power. While President Muteesa was head of state and exercised monarchical authority, central government executive authority rested in Obote, the Prime Minister.
The attempt to solve such political questions militarily was the beginning of the dark period which Uganda had to endure for decades. The seeds sown in these events led to the entrenchment of the military in politics leading to military coups and civil wars. There is a general feeling that military means is the best option for solving political problems. I would therefore like to make the following submission:
lWe should attempt to uphold the natural principle of avoiding military means to solve political questions. Using militarisation a means of conflict management has serious resultant effects namely, loss of social cohesion, lives and property.
lIt is more rewarding for both the present and future generations to engage political opponents through persuasion rather than military confrontation. This is mature politics practiced in developed and democratic societies.
A few days ago, everyone saw how Germany resolved their political deadlock between SPD and CDU. To the Germans, Germany mattered more than Angela Merkel (CDU) or Gerhard Schroeder (SPD) or any other political party or individual of whatever persuasion.
May Obote’s soul rest in eternal peace.
Ends

Blame Obote’s evils on British colonialists

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