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Post by sol_drethedon on Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:12 pm


The experience since Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa took over from Y.K. Lule as chairman of NEC and President of Uganda has strengthened the view expressed about Lule's administration. The eleven months of Binaisa's leadership showed that the petty bourgeoisie, confronted with the heightened crisis in the country, are capable of maintaining a firm leadership that can strengthen the role of the masses to resolve the crisis. One thing that can be said in his favor is that during the time he was in the leadership at UNLF, he assisted the building of the UNLF grassroots. But true to the character of his class, such support for the grassroots organization was inconsistent. The vacillations on his part of course reflected the pressures from the different factions of imperialist monopolies that were showing interest in Uganda at this particular time, as well as the interests of their agents, the big mafuta mingi and the petty bourgeoisie.

The struggles that ensued reflected these pressures, as well as Binaisa's inability to strengthen his own political base. The political factions that backed his nomination and election to the presidency of FRONASA and the SUM (Save Uganda Movement) -- later turned against him.

This was after the Muwanga- led UPC faction of pro-Obote supporters turned him away fro these groups. This resulted in Binaisa's first reshuffle, that led to the removal of Y.Museveni as minister of defense. The struggle for power between these groups -- The UPC - Obote party, FRONASA and the Democratic party(DP) as a convenient ally on each side -- started in ernest so that it became extremely difficult to maintain the unity of the front.

Strangely enough it was the UPC-Obote and the FRONASA factions led by Paulo Muwanga/Oyite Ojok and Yoweri Museveni respectively--that struck an alliance as 'fighting forces' to stage a coup d'etat against the UNLF government led by Binaisa. Each of these groups expected to gain from the coup, and because of a burning desire by each to seize power through undemocratic means, they saw advantage in collaborating in the coup plans. Binaisa had not played the role they had expected him to play; of advancing the interests of their factions. This unholy alliance produced a very volatile situation in the Front. The move by Binaisa to advance the program of general election to

December 1980, in order to remove the impasse that had developed in the front due to the manoeuvrings of the militarist cliques, merely provoked these militarist cliques to move more determinedly against the UNLF government. On 25th March 1980, during the anniversary of the foundation of thec UNLF, Binaisa declared that elections would be held in December 1980. He further pointed out that the NEC had proposed to the NCC that the elections be held under the 'umbrella of UNLF'. These proposals were debated for three weeks by the NCC and were finally approved overwhelmingly.

The 'umbrella resolution' meant that all legally qualified Ugandans, without exception, would be eligible to stand for any public office. This was because the old political divisions and socioeconomic situation prevailing in the country did not permit political party activity in the country

The decision about the future of the UNLF and that of the political parties was however left open, to be decided on by the newly elected parliament. it was hoped that the new parliament would reflect the different political forces in the country according to their strengths and that such a parliament would be more united in pursuing a single program in the rehabilitation period. It was pointed out in the debate on the proposals that the security situation revival of party rivalries would unleash forces of violence in the country which would make nonsense of the whole exercise of elections.

These decisions were vehemently opposed by Obote, who was still living in Tanzania. Obote who had himself unceremoniously banned all political parties during his 10-year rule, now became the champion of political party rule. Actually his hostility was to the Front, which he did not control politically and his manoeuvrings were now intensified to destroy it so that he could reintroduce his divisive politics of the old days which would enable him to rule through the force of arms again. Y. Museveni who later claimed that his new party, the Uganda Patriotic Movement, had inherited the principles of the Front, went along with these forces in sabotaging the Front. Indeed, during the debate on the election proposals, he played up the division between the soldiers and other political forces in the Front by declaring that 'the UNLF did not liberate Uganda'. He declared that on the contrary, it's formation delayed the 'capture of Kampala'. He attributed the liberation to the 'three fighting groups' ---i.e Kikosi Mahalum (of Obote), FRONASA (led by him) and SUM (led by Ejalu and P'Ojok). He even forgot to mention the major role played by the Tanzanian army.

It was these circumstances -- these two groups taking a hostile position to the UNLF, a position superficially appeaing as an anti-Binaisa campaign that led to the coup d'etat against the UNLF and its government that took place on 12th May 1980.



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