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Post by sol_drethedon on Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:29 pm


The removal of Lule as chairman of NEC and hence as president of the republic of Uganda marked the rapture in the leadership. As indicated earlier, foreign interests had already moved to take part in the affairs of the country. They were very much assisted by the drive for rehabilitation, which in the minds of Lule and others meant foreign assisted rehabilitation, with emphasis on the foreign element. While some foreign assistance was required for immediate rehabilitation and relief, yet the Lule clique saw in the Common Wealth Secretariat and the World Bank an answer to the burning issues of the country.The acting British High Commissioner of Kampala who had just moved in, became a very powerful figure, moving freely in government circles. Lule realized that so long as a number of people close to him in the NCC and the NEC were what he regarded as 'leftists', he could not accomplish his program. These developments gave a twist to the broad politics of the front and tended to undermine it's solidarity.

The events that followed upon the arrival of the UNLF government in Kampala are illustrative of this changing situation. Indeed, one of the first things that Lule and his clique did was to hold a rally in Kampala without the knowlegde of the UNLF organs. The rally was organized by
two big mafuta mingis, Gustav Nsubuga and E. Ntambi, in collaboration with Lule's henchman, Ssebunya, then commissioner for information and national guidance. The rally was used to introduce politics of division, and helped demarcate the boundary between those who stood for the front and those who stood against it.One of Lule's acts on arrival was to issue a proclamation (Legal Notice 1 of 1979), as an expression in legal form of the victory that had been achieved by the UNLF. In it he accepted the supremacy of the NCC. The proclamation stated:

"WHEREAS on the 11th day of April, 1979, the objective of overthrowing Idi Amin's regime was effectively achieved, the Uganda National Liberation Front assumed the powers of the government of the Republic of Uganda headed by me, Y.K. Lule: Now pursuant to such powers and with the approval and and advice of the NCC, I HEREBY PROCLAIM: ...
3. All legislative powers referred to in the constitution are hereby vested in the NCC until such a time as a Legislative Assembly is elected".

The proclamation had been made on the advice of the Attorney General, George William Kanyeihamba, in the euphoria of the liberation that reflected the enthusiasm of the front. The Front had been well received at home, yet because of the narrow line that Lule and his clique were pushing, allegiance to it began to weaken. This was reflected very soon when Lule opened the NCC in it's legislative capacity. In his speech to the inaugural meeting in the Kampala National Assembly Building, Lule made an about-turn, repudiating any notion that the NCC was the supreme organ of the Front. He said that neither the NCC nor NEC had the power to authenticate the decisions of Moshi, despite the fact that at Moshi it had been agreed that, in the absence of the delegates conference, the NCC was to act in it's place as the Front's supreme organ. He now argued that until such a time as the delegates conference itself could meet to authenticate the minutes of Moshi, the government had no time to waste on discussions with the NCC. But according to the communique issued in Moshi, he argued, the NEC had the power to form a government, 'to administer state' and to finish the war:

" It is only then that members of the Executive Committee and Government can find time to participate meaningfully in these discussions. In the present circumstances, members of Government are too busy implementing the decisions of Government to spend a week or two with you in discussion. In other words, this clearly the time for action. We can talk later".

With those few words, Lule opened and closed the doors of the National Assembly in an Amin-like manner. He forgot that the communique to which he stuck like a leech for authority itself formed part of the proceedings of the Moshi meeting, and if he were serious about what he was saying, the NEC could have no power to form a government until those minutes had been authenticated by the delegates conference.Lule thus tried to move away from the Moshi accords. He increasingly argued that he drew his authority and legitimacy from the 1967 republican constitution, under which his cabinet had been sworn in. In his speech to the NCC, he emphasized that:

"Another important point to remember, too, is that this government of the Front is based on the constitution of the Republic of Uganda from which I myself and my cabinet derive the authority to administer the state. It is this constitution we took oath to defend, uphold and implement as we assumed our responsibilities on our arrival from Dar es Salaam". (Emphasis added)

It can be seen that Lule did not have much regard for the Moshi accords and the principles for which the UNLF stood. The constitution for which Lule stood was out of step in many respects with the new order of a broad democratic unity, arrived at by the consensus of the various political forces that assembled at Moshi. The 1967 Republican constitution provided for an elected president, a fact that had been resisted by many Ugandans at the time as creating dictatorial powers. It had to be read in conjunction with the main accords of Moshi in mind in order to bring it up to date. This is what the proclamation purported to do, but it did not go far enough in spelling out the limited powers of the president, particularly over political appointments, which required the approval of the NEC and ratification of the NCC. As we have seen, Lule tried to resist any suggestion that the NCC had supervisory powers over the NEC. Indeed in the speech we have just cited he stated:

'There has lately been misreports that these appointments, from the ministers downwards were subjected to the approval of this council. Let it be clearly understood that can not be so.'

Lule's retraction of his earlier recognition of the NCC's supremacy was followed by other measures to consolidate his dictatorial powers. With his Attorney general he schemed another proclamation to supersede the first one. In it he purported to suspend those parts of the 1967 constitution which gave the national assembly, whose functions were now being exercised by the NCC, powers to remove a vote of no confidence in the president. Thus he tried to preserve only those parts of the 1967 constitution that gave him absolute powers, while suspending the parts of it which asserted the supremacy of the representative organ--the NCC--over the president.The confrontation between Lule and the NCC was mounting. In his effort to strengthen himself, Lule ganged up with a number of mafutamingi and Baganda pro-monarchist elements, using them to make statements over the radio and television to condemn the NCC. Indeed two days before he was removed as chairman of the NEC, his supporters organized a demonstration from Katwe in the periphery of Kampala, led by police motor-cyclists to denounce the NCC.

In it's efforts to defend the Moshi accords, the NCC on 7th June 1979 adopted a motion, moved by compatriot Stephen Ariko, in which it 'dissociated itself from ministerial and other political appointments so far made by the Executive Committee'. The motion also called on the NEC to table all such appointments before the council for discussion and ratification. Lule instead expanded his cabinet and the NEC, and published the new appointments of ministers and deputy ministers without ratification by the NCC. This brought the matter to head. The NCC, which had been called by it's chairman to receive all appointments to date, now was convened on 19th June, and when Lule failed formally to present his appointments to the for ratification, compatriot Paul Wangoola moved a motion of no confidence in the leadership of Y.K Lule as chairman of the NEC of the Front.

The debate took over ten hours without adjournment, and when the motion was finally put to the vote, it turned out that Lule had been defeated by 18 votes for the motion and 14 against. This meant that he had been removed not only as Chairman of the NEC, but as president of the Republic of Uganda since the latter position depended on the former.The NCC then voted for a new chairman and out of the three candidates who stood--Paulo Muwanga, Edward Rugumayo and Godfrey Binaisa--Binaisa was elected. Binaisa was enjoined the responsibility with the NEC, to form a new government which was to be brought to the NCC for ratification. This was done and it appeared as if the constitutional crisis had been resolved in favor of the NCC.

Before the NCC adjourned, Lule returned to the council, accepted it's decision, and wished the new government well. But despite this, within hours, he communicated with the BBC correspondent maintaining that he was still president. This introduced a new confusion in the political situation which led to trouble for the government in Kampala. A demonstration of elements who had been organized much earlier and orchestrated by Lule and his supporters started to move on the Nile Mansion, where the government resided, chanting 'Lule ---Lule--Lule'. The UNLF government permitted the demonstrators to express their feelings until they got tired and dispersed. This restraint later won the government a lot of praise, even from Lule supporters. The UNLF secretariat issued a long statement explaining in details why Lule had been removed. Despite this conciliatory attitude, Lule and his supporters continued to agitate against the government, and his supporters went as far as using violent means to stop people going to work---'No Lule--No work'. They also tried to stop traders from opening their shops and peasants from being food to the markets. When all these moves failed to achieve their objectives, they resorted to random killings of innocent people. At first doctors, lecturers, church leaders and diplomats were threatened. The intention was to scare them away from the country. When government moved in to provide maximum security, they resorted to killing ordinary people in large numbers. They would kill 10 people in a home or two and then drop pamphlets threatening to kill more the next day.

Such fascist methods clearly demonstrated to the people that the forces opposing the UNLF were not democratic but reactionary, having resorted to Amin-like violence to solve differences in opinion. These were the actions of a clique that could not realize it's aims through democratic means but instead resorted to violence, which could only generate forces of dictatorship. One of the people killed was James Matovu, son of the former Kabaka of Buganda's sister.

The British Guardian of 25th September had this to say:

"The execution a week ago of James Matovu . . . has provided a pattern for some subsequent deaths, and some clues have begun to emerge of the political forces working behind the gunmen.
Mr. Matovu, aged 35, who did not work or leave his home much, was called out of his house by someone calling his name in Luganda . . . and went to the door as though expecting to see a friend. He was blind folded and shot dead. Some observers believe his death was engineered by Baganda activists to incite the Baganda tribe . . . to rise openly against the government of President Binaisa.

These 'Baganda activists' were only a clique of Luleists.

To Be Continued.



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