When the Pope came here in 1969, all presidents from countries around here came to Uganda to see him.
Uganda got its independence from Britain on October 9th, 1962. Milton Obote was the Prime Minister who received the instruments of power from the departing colonialists. His UPC party in alliance with Kabaka Yekka of the Kabaka of Buganda had won the elections, defeating Benedicto Kiwanuka's Democratic Party. The UPC/KY alliance was called a marriage of convenience. DP went into the opposition of Kiwanuka's assistants was young Paulo Ssemogerere
The UPC / KY Alliance was shaky and by 1964, they were hardly talking. A referendum was held to determine if the two so-called lost counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi (which the Baganda were pronouncing Bugangazzi in Luganda) should remain in Buganda or return to Bunyoro. The UPC government ensured that Bunyoro won and Kabaka's Buganda lost the lost counties. The bitterness between Buganda and UPC was almost total.
The Kabaks crisis
The squabbling between the two allies continued until 1996 when Obote overthrew Kabaka using military force by sending Amin to attack the Mengo palace. The Mengo Lukiiko had passed a resolution telling Obote to take his government from Buganda soil. He reacted by taking Kabaka off Buganda soil.
Uganda becomes a republic
Obote then declared Uganda a republic, and himself the president. He changed the constitution and did not allow members of parliament to debate it. He just sent the army to surround parliament and helicopters to fly above.
The MPs just signed the constitution before seeing what it was inside. Then they went and found their copies in their pigeon holes. Today they would be told to find the copy in their inbox. Those days it was a pigeon hole.
Obote is shot
Obote ruled Uganda with a firm hand. He placed Buganda under a state of emergency until 1969. That is when he placed the whole of Uganda under an emergency. This is because a guy called Muhammed Sebadduka got an old pistol and shot the president in the mouth at Lugogo where UPC delegates were celebrating after a big meeting. (Why do people want to kill merry-making people at Lugogo?).
1969 was an eventful year. After Obote survived assassination at Lugogo, Kabaka Edward Muteesa died in London of suspected poisoning. The same year saw the first modern Pope visiting Africa come to Uganda. He flew in aboard a brand new East African Airways plane.
All presidents from countries around came to Uganda to see the pope. Thousands of people from other Africans also flocked into Uganda, to see the pope. That event ended the Luganda saying to describe an impossibility that "nebwokubira Paapa essimu". Because finally history changed, and the pope visited Africa.
Amin takes over
In January 1971 Obote flew to Singapore to attend the Commonwealth heads of government meeting which you people know as CHOGM. He did not know that instead of a few days he would take 10 years before returning to Uganda. For a while he was in Singapore, Major General Idi Amin Dada overthrew him and declared the second republic of Uganda.
Amin's style of leadership
Amin ruled Uganda in his own fashion. He abolished parliament, abolished newspapers, abolished mini skirts, abolished Indians and finally abolished politics. For eight years, Uganda was just a huge party for his supporters and tears for the rest. After he abolished Indians, lucky Africans were given their shops in the early seventies.
That is how Kampala got its first celeb, a smart young man called Nasser Ntege Sebaggala. He inherited a modern clothes shop and used to wear a different suit everyday which had to match the colour of the car he was driving that day. Only the luckiest people could access the young socialite called Sebaggala.
Amin says he could marry Nyerere if he was woman
Amin hated one person with a passion, that was Mwalimu Nyerere, president of Tanzania. He was so passionate about Nyerere that he announced his great wish to marry him, but since Nyerere was a man, Amin expressed his great regret that they could not become man and wife. In 1978, Amin attacked Tanzania and declared its northern province of Kagera as Uganda's new district.
Nyerere decided to fight back. The Tanzanian army, who Ugandans called Bakomboozi meaning liberators, kicked Amin's army from Kagera and entered Uganda, chasing away the Uganda army. As Amin kept running away from Nyerere, people were wondering, why to run away from the bride you have always yearned to bring to your home. The entire Uganda Army was disbanded, and a new Army called Uganda National liberation Army took its place.
Amin is overthrown
On April 11th, the Bakombozi took over Kampala and announced a new government led by Professor Yusuf Lule. That was the Third Republic of Uganda. Lule was 68 years old and on the 6th day of his rule, he was overthrown.
He was replaced by President Godfrey Binaisa, who used to boast of his very big head. Binaisa was overthrown after ten months and he was replaced by Paulo Muwanga. Muwanga organised the elections of 1980. Obote was declared the winner and Muwanga peacefully handed over power to Obote.
The elections that brought war
So why do people say there has never been a peaceful change of presidents in Uganda? Ssemogerere who was number Two went to parliament as the leader of opposition while Museveni, who came Number three went to the bush. The army killed so many people and ssemogerere started compiling a Balck Book.
The government people were so annoyed with him, but whenever he reminded them that he was compiling a black book they kept quiet. After four and a half years, Army Commander General Tito Okello Lutwa overthrew Obote, who fled to exile in Zambia.
Lutwa and Museveni held peace talks which many people called peace jokes in Nairobi for several months. Six months later, which was exactly five years after Semogerere went to parliament and Museveni went to the bush, Yoweri Museveni emerged from the bush, kicked out Lutwa and became president. So, both Ssemogerere and Museveni had five years and the outcome depended on how each used his five years.
Uganda is reborn
So, In January 1986, the Fourth Republic of Uganda was born, with a new army, the National Resistance Army. It was supposed to rule for four years. But by 1989, there was no new constitutional order. So the life of the Fourth Republic was extended until 1995 when the Ugandans had made a new constitution and changed the army yet again to Uganda Peoples Defencce Forces.
The Fifth Republic of Uganda was thus born on October 8th, 1995, with the new constitution. Even the City Square was renamed Constitutional Square. We are still in the Fifth republic.