Former Ugandan leader Obote dies

Mr Obote, who died in South Africa after spending two decades in Zambia, became the first Ugandan prime minister when British rule ended in 1962. He was twice forced into exile by his own military commanders.

Like many of his contemporaries across the continent, he took office promising democratic self-rule, before becoming an autocrat who established a dictatorship.

In 1966, he named himself president for life after ousting King Mutesa II, better known as "King Freddie" in the Western press, and suspended the constitution.

Mr Obote, who survived an assassination attempt in 1969, was himself toppled when General Idi Amin accused him of corruption and seized power in a coup while the president was in Singapore at a Commonwealth conference in 1971.

His overthrow was widely welcomed, including in the West, where there had been fears that Mr Obote was moving to the left under the influence of Communism. Many Ugandans, including Mr Obote, fled to Tanzania.

Uganda then went through one of the bleakest chapters of its history, as Amin established a military dictatorship which was responsible for the deaths of some 300,000 opponents.

The human rights abuses continued unabated on Mr Obote's return to power, after Amin was overthrown by Ugandan rebels and Tanzanian troops in 1979. Mr Obote was re-elected president in Uganda's first election in 18 years and established a multi-party democracy, although his opponents accused him of rigging the ballot.

He turned to the International Monetary Fund to bolster the Ugandan economy, but Ugandans saw little improvement in their standard of living.

The military still refused to submit to his control, and a guerrilla war ensued, as Mr Obote's former aide Yoweri Museveni went into the bush to lead the resistance against him. The war and human rights abuses claimed at least another 100,000 lives, including in Buganda, the stronghold of opposition to the Obote regime since the removal of the traditional monarchy.

In 1985, after refusing to negotiate with Mr Museveni, Mr Obote was forced out of office by his army chief, General Tito Okello, in a bloodless coup.

Mr Museveni in 1986 inherited an impoverished state which had once been known as the "pearl of Africa" for its agricultural abundance. He was welcomed by the Clinton administration as one of a new generation of leaders who spearheaded what became known as the African Renaissance.

However Mr Museveni has shown the same authoritarian tendencies as his predecessors.

Mr Museveni had said Mr Obote was welcome to return home, but warned that he might have to face charges for atrocities by troops against civilians in the early 1980s. According to the current government's estimates, more than half a million civilians died between 1980-85 when Mr Obote tried to force Ugandans out of rural areas and into cities. Mr Obote still controlled his Uganda People's Congress from exile.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch is reported to be in final negotiations to play Doctor Strange for Marvel although the casting has not yet been confirmed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Alloysious Massaquoi, 'G' Hastings and Kayus Bankole of Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
musicThe surprise winners of the Mercury Prize – and a very brief acceptance speech
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
film
News
video
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

English Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: English Teacher - Saffron ...

Primary Supply Teacher - Northants

£90 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Primary School Supply Teache...

Maths Teacher

£21000 - £35000 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Maths Teacher - Saffro...

Chemistry Teacher - Top School in Malaysia - January Start

£18000 - £20400 per annum + Accommodation, Flights, Medical Cover: Randstad Ed...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain