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Post by sol_drethedon on Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:59 pm


In all, 22 organizations and groups converged on Moshi for the unity conference. they included the organizations with military wings, Ugandans living abroad, including students, discussion groups and various political groups. A number of groups were formed within days to gain admission, mainly in the UPC in order to increase it's chances for a bigger voice. These were, however, refused entry,and therefore organized themselves to block holding of the conference, actually succeeding in doing so on the first day (23rd). However, their manoeuvres

were defeated by better security arrangements which were made by the steering committee that night. The steering committee comprised the Nairobi Consultative Committee, and the Dar es Salaam Negotiating Committee for Democratic Unity, which represented those members of the Ad Hoc Committee for the Promotion of Unity Among Ugandans who supported holding the unity conference up to the end, and the Moshi Discussion Group.

At the beginning of the conference, on 24th March, a letter from Dr. Obote was read to the delegates. In it it expressed the hope that the decisions of the conference would be 'the beginning of a new Uganda', and assured the conference that although he was absent, he would play his part in implementing 'positive' conference decisions. Despite these honest declarations, , however, the UPC delegation at the conference, led by Dr. Luwuliza Kirunda and the pro- Obote ULG(Z) disrupted the meeting by holding points of order about the groups excluded. Failing to obtain their entry, they resorted to points of order about the methods of voting and the procedures. The FRONASA delegation insisted that organizations present should have weighted votes to take into account their military strengths. The conference decided however, that decisions should be reached by consensus. The UPC and ULG(Z) delegation then protested that this method was wrong, and walked out. Later an appeal was made to the two delegations to return, and they did so the following day with jubilation.

The general discussion revealed that two main positions about what should emerge at the conference had to be resolved. One view, held by Y.K Lule and others, was that an interim administration should be formed immediately to administer the 'liberated areass' in the south of the country, and to be ready to take over the government of the country should Amin's army be defeated. The other view, held by the Negotiating Committee for Democratic Unity and other groups, was that a united political front should be formed to see to the liberation of the country- to mobilize the people and the resources necessary to bring an end to the dictatorship, instead of thinking about a government when the country was not fully liberated. This later view won the day and the government, and on 25th March 1979, the conference decided to form the Uganda National Liberation Front(UNLF), with the aim of mobilizing the people and assistance to carry out the war. The UNLF would later establish an administration when the Amin forces had been defeated, to run the country until a general election could be held, within two years of total liberation.

Two organs of the front were agreed on - The National Consultative Council (NCC) as the supreme organ and the National Executive Committee (NEC) as the executive arm of the front. Y.K Lule was elected chairman of the NEC by consensus. Three commissions of the NEC were set up-- Military, political and diplomatic, and finance and administration--with secretaries as their chairmen. Paulo Muwanga, Prof. Nabudere and Semei Nyanzi(chairman of the conference) were elected to the three commissions respectively. Seven other members of the NEC were elected. The NCC was constituted on the basis of each organization and group having one member as it's representative and six others who were nominated by the chairman of the NCC. E.B Rugumayo was elected chairman of the NCC.

The conference ended on 26th March in Jubilation, and immediately ther NEC arranged for a meeting with president Nyerere to be briefed about the military situation and to discuss with him the joint tasks in waging a war and putting in motion a diplomatic offensive to stem the enemy's political and diplomatic moves. The NEC moved to Dar es Salaam and began to work hand in hand with a team of Tanzanian officials to accomplish these tasks. One of the most important decisions made in Dar es Salaam was to establish a Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) as an arm of the UNLF, under it's direction and control, composed of the fighting units and the new recruits that were being trained. This marked the first stage in the building of a Ugandan army to replace the Amin army, which had to be demobilized.

Immediately, the front was formed and with the prospect that a new government would emerge, foreign interests(including those which had assisted Amin, like the British) began to show interest in the front's affairs. Business interests began to hover around the police force which acted as the temporary headquarters. On one occasion, Lule announced that a donor who had chosen to remain anonymous had contributed 25,000 U.S.D to the fund and that a Uganda business man in Zaire had given a large amount.

These developments indicated that the UNLF would be subjected to external interferences, which would soon lead to divisions within it. This was not too far off. Lule, who had been an assistant secretary at the Common wealth in London soon became a spokesperson of British interests, advocating that a team of 'experts' from the Common Wealth Secretariat, should come to Uganda to study ways and means of rehabilitating the economy. Later, this in fact happened, and the report became the basis of a rehabilitation program which the World Bank sponsored.

As Amin's army collapsed in Kampala on 11th April 1979, and a cabinet was formed to take over in Uganda, new manoeuvres emerged which indicated the nature of things to come. Lule's first cabinet proposal was drawn entirely outside the NEC, contrary to the directives if the conference. He usurped the powers of the NEC to form an interim administration. A 17-team cabinet was wholly composed of men of 'substance' acceptable to British financial capital. Such a proposal was of course embarrasing to our allies who were waging the war, since it excluded people in the Front most directly connected to the prosecution of the war. A compromise government that later assumed office only went on to reveal the weaknesses in Lule's leadership.

To Be Continued...


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