In Obote’s Words: UPC didn’t cheat in 1980, you need to understand the dynamics at the time

Apollo Milton Obote was a Ugandan political leader who led Uganda to independence in 1962 from British colonial administration. (PHOTO/Archives)

KAMPALA — Whereas, there is no general election in Ugandan history that has been as discussed and disputed as the election that took place on December 10, 1980, President Milton Obote at the time insisted that he had won because of the popularity of the UPC.

In a document found in the UPC catalogue, Dr. Obote is quoted saying that: “Those who say that UPC rigged the 1980 election do not understand the dynamics in Uganda at the time.”

The 1980 election is believed to have provided the pretext for certain political and military groups to take up arms against the government.

In the document, Dr Obote says that his party, the UPC had a good record and that it was popular throughout Uganda.

“Our opponents were not credible, and they had no program to talk of,” he was quoted as saying.

Although [Paul] Muwanga, the chairman of the military commission was a UPC, he says that [President Yoweri] Museveni was Muwanga’s number two and Obote who was not number two, number three or number four, not even a number in military commission  and that he had no powers to influence the military commission.

Dr. Obote was quoted entirely dismissing the rigging talk.

Whereas it is understood that on the December 10, about midday Muwanga issued the proclamation where he stopped everyone from announcing election results except himself, Dr Obote claims that he tried to stop him.

Obote says that “I drove to Nile Mansion, I sat on Muwanga’s bed and I said, “You have got to recede this announcement now.”

“The enemies of UPC will exploit it to claim it is meant to help us rig the election.” “This proclamation is a danger to UPC and an asset to our opponent.”

However, Obote says he didn’t have power over him as a leader of UPC.

“I think Muwanga was scared by Adoko Nekyon, who was at DP headquarters receiving electoral returns,” says Dr. Obote in the document titled my life.

Obote also claims that Nekyon knew DP had lost but just wanted to create confusion because UPC had 22 unopposed seats and that there was no fear of a DP victory in “my mind at all.”

“I had promised that if UPC wins, I would form a government of national unity. After I was sworn in, I invited Paul Ssemogerere to State House and put my proposal to him.”

It is understood that Dr. Ssemwogerere rejected it.

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