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Uganda People's Congress

Uganda People's Congress

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The Uganda People's Congress (UPC) is a political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 in Uganda
Uganda
Uganda , officially the Republic of Uganda, is a landlocked country in East Africa. Uganda is also known as the "Pearl of Africa". It is bordered on the east by Kenya, on the north by South Sudan, on the west by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on the southwest by Rwanda, and on the south by...

.

Uganda People's Congress was founded in 1960 by Milton Obote
Milton Obote
Apolo Milton Obote , Prime Minister of Uganda from 1962 to 1966 and President of Uganda from 1966 to 1971, then again from 1980 to 1985. He was a Ugandan political leader who led Uganda towards independence from the British colonial administration in 1962.He was overthrown by Idi Amin in 1971, but...

, who led the country to Independence and later served two presidential
President of Uganda
-List of Presidents of Uganda:-Affiliations:-See also:*Uganda*Vice President of Uganda*Prime Minister of Uganda*Politics of Uganda*History of Uganda*Political parties of Uganda...

 terms under the party's banner. Obote was still party leader at the time of his death in October 2005, although he had previously announced his intention to step down.http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-08/28/content_3412655.htm

On May 14, 2010, the party elected Dr. Olara Otunnu
Olara Otunnu
Dr.Olara A. Otunnu is a Lawyer and the President of the Uganda Peoples Congressand a Presidential Aspirant for the 2011 General elections in Uganda...

, a former United Nations undersecretary-general for children and armed conflict, to lead the party. He replaced Obote's widow Miria
Miria Obote
Miria Kalule Obote is the former First Lady of Uganda, and widow of former Prime Minister and President Milton Obote. She was a candidate in the presidential elections in February 2006....

.

The party won 9 out of 289 elected seats in the 2006 general election
Ugandan general election, 2006
The Ugandan general election of 2006 took place on February 23, 2006. This was the first multiparty election since Yoweri Museveni, the current president, took over power in 1986. Six candidates contested for the Presidential office, and at least 33 parties were expected to enter the Parliamentary...

.http://www.monitor.co.ug/news/latest.php In the presidential election of the same date Miria Obote won 0.8 % of the vote.

Background


Uganda People's Congress dominated Ugandan politics from independence until 1971 when Milton Obote was overthrown by Idi Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

. The party returned to power under Obote in 1980 until he was overthrown again in 1985 by Tito Okello
Tito Okello
General Tito Lutwa Okello , was a Ugandan Military officer and politician. He was the President of Uganda from 29 July 1985 until 26 January 1986.-Background:Tito Okello was born in 1914 in Kitgum District...

. The history of the UPC is intertwined with the ethnic divide that has plagued Uganda since it was a British protectorate
Protectorate
In history, the term protectorate has two different meanings. In its earliest inception, which has been adopted by modern international law, it is an autonomous territory that is protected diplomatically or militarily against third parties by a stronger state or entity...

.

Pre-Independence


As Independence approached in the 1940s-1950s, it was clear that the Baganda
Baganda
The Ganda are an ethnic group native to Buganda, a subnational kingdom within Uganda. Traditionally comprising 52 tribes the Ganda have a rich history and culture...

 (the largest ethnic group) wanted extensive autonomy in Uganda, and the Buganda
Buganda
Buganda is a subnational kingdom within Uganda. The kingdom of the Ganda people, Buganda is the largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda, comprising all of Uganda's Central Region, including the Ugandan capital Kampala, with the exception of the disputed eastern Kayunga District...

 King's party Kabaka Yekka
Kabaka Yekka
Kabaka Yekka was a monarchist political party in Uganda. The party's name means 'king only' in the Ganda language language, Kabaka being the title of the King of the kingdom of Buganda....

 ("The King Only") emphasised this desire. However this was not favoured by most Ugandans of other tribes and amongst some Buganda educated elite who formed an alternative party, the Democratic Party (Uganda)
Democratic Party (Uganda)
The Democratic Party is a moderate conservative political party in Uganda currently led by Norbert Mao. DP was led by Paul Ssemogerere for 25 years until his retirement in November 2005...

 to aspire for national unity. Although unpopular in Buganda, the Democratic Party had widespread support in the rest of the Bantu-speaking South.

Into this void, there emerged an alternative - the Uganda National Congress
Uganda National Congress
Uganda National Congress , Ugandas first political party was formed in 1952 by Ignatius Musazi. It replaced the Uganda African Farmers Union after it was banned by the British colonial administration....

 (UNC). Although led by a Northerner (Milton Obote), the UNC appeared more modernist and accommodating and attracted many Southerners particularly in the East. The UNC formed a number of alliances with other parties and emerged as the Uganda People's Congress (UPC). The three parties (Kabaka Yekka, UPC and the Democratic Party) contested the first pre-Independence election.

As expected, Kabaka Yekka won most of the seats in Buganda and the UPC won most seats in the North and East. However the Democratic Party (DP) led by Benedicto Kiwanuka
Benedicto Kiwanuka
Benedicto Kabimu Mugumba Kiwanuka was the first Prime Minister of Uganda, leader of the Democratic Party and one of the early leaders that led the country in the transition between colonial British rule and independence...

 emerged as the largest single party. Kiwanuka was on the verge of becoming the first Prime Minister of independent Uganda when he was thwarted by a surprising alliance between the UPC and Kabaka Yekka.

The Kabaka
Kabaka
Kabaka may refer to:*Kabaka of Buganda, the title of the king of Buganda*Kabaka Puttur, a village in the state of Karnataka, India...

 was afraid that DP would remove the Monarchy in favour of a more modern-looking Uganda. As for the UPC, Milton Obote, realising he had lost the election, saw the alliance as the way to power. In return Obote offered the Kabaka a ceremonial role in the new administration and the retention of all royal powers. The UPC/KY alliance thus formed Uganda's first government with Milton Obote as Prime Minister.

First government


The alliance between the UPC and Kabaka Yekka did not last long. After four years in power, Milton Obote ordered a military attack on the Kabaka's palace in 1966. The attack was led by an army officer called Idi Amin
Idi Amin
Idi Amin Dada was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King's African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military...

. The Kabaka escaped to London and Obote declared himself President of Uganda. This action more than anything else began the decline of the UPC as a popular party in Uganda. As his unpopularity grew Obote increasingly turned to his Northern home support rather than trying to strengthen the party in the South. The 1969 elections were cancelled and Obote became dictatorial. His government was overthrown in 1971 by Idi Amin.

Return to power


The UPC returned in 1979 after Idi Amin was overthrown. Obote as leader of the UPC was closely aligned to the Military Junta that had replaced Idi Amin and rather than strengthen the support of the party in the South of Uganda took up a more military approach. The army (traditionally dominated by Northerners) was a brutal machine that carried out numerous atrocities particularly in the South. This polarised the North/South divide with the UPC being perceived more as a Northern party than ever before. Southerners turned to the Democratic Party and a smaller party called the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) led by a former UPC member Yoweri Museveni
Yoweri Museveni
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is a Ugandan politician and statesman. He has been President of Uganda since 26 January 1986.Museveni was involved in the war that deposed Idi Amin Dada, ending his rule in 1979, and in the rebellion that subsequently led to the demise of the Milton Obote regime in 1985...



In the elections of 1980, there was overwhelming suspicion that the UPC had rigged the result with the help of the Military Junta. This perception was further enhanced when Obote appointed the head of the Military Junta, Paulo Muwanga as his Vice President when the UPC was declared the winner of the elections. A civil war broke out in Uganda when Yoweri Museveni rejected the result and went to the bush to fight the government.

Yoweri Museveni's eventual success was due to the North/South divide that the UPC had helped foster in Uganda. Southerners more than ever before realised that they had to take up arms to protect their rights. In the past most Southerners had despised military careers. When Museveni came to power in 1986, his army was dominated by Southerners particularly from the west.

2006 election


On November 28, 2005, Obote's widow Miria
Miria Obote
Miria Kalule Obote is the former First Lady of Uganda, and widow of former Prime Minister and President Milton Obote. She was a candidate in the presidential elections in February 2006....

 was elected party president. Miria Obote was UPC's presidential candidate in the 2006 general election
Ugandan general election, 2006
The Ugandan general election of 2006 took place on February 23, 2006. This was the first multiparty election since Yoweri Museveni, the current president, took over power in 1986. Six candidates contested for the Presidential office, and at least 33 parties were expected to enter the Parliamentary...

.http://www.monitor.co.ug/news/latest.php

The UPC returned to contest the election in 2006, when Museveni restored multi-party elections; however Obote died in exile a few months before. The UPC's traditional heartland in the North appeared uninterested in the UPC without Obote, but still opposed Museveni. This time they turned to Museveni's main opponent Kizza Besyigye (from the South) who led the Forum for Democratic Change
Forum for Democratic Change
The Forum for Democratic Change , founded on December 16, 2004, is the main opposition party in Uganda. FDC was founded as an umbrella body mostly for disenchanted former members and followers President Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Movement...

 (FDC).

The UPC had failed even to capitalise on its self created dilemma (appearing to be a Northern party) by not appointing a popular Northern politician to lead the party - instead they opted for Obote's widow (Miria), a Southerner. After the elections, the party suffered many high level defections to Museveni's ruling National Resistance Movement and to the FDC. Miria's election is a source of resentment, and many Ugandans still associate the party with the military excesses of the past. In the 23 February 2006 parliamentary election
Ugandan general election, 2006
The Ugandan general election of 2006 took place on February 23, 2006. This was the first multiparty election since Yoweri Museveni, the current president, took over power in 1986. Six candidates contested for the Presidential office, and at least 33 parties were expected to enter the Parliamentary...

, the party won nine out of 319 seats in the National Assembly.

New leader


The UPC's poor performance in the 2006 elections forced the party to review its place in Ugandan politics. Uganda's political landscape is changing from regional based parties to personality driven politics. The party needed to find a leader with a recognised calibre in politics. The party chose Dr.Olara Otunnu
Olara Otunnu
Dr.Olara A. Otunnu is a Lawyer and the President of the Uganda Peoples Congressand a Presidential Aspirant for the 2011 General elections in Uganda...

, a former UN under secretary general for children and armed conflict. The election however revealed internal conflicts in the party that are likely to affect its performance at the 2011 elections. Otunnu served under Tito Okello as Foreign Minister and is seen by some as part of the putsch that overthrew the last UPC government in 1985.

Otunnu's main rival at the party elections was Milton Obote
Milton Obote
Apolo Milton Obote , Prime Minister of Uganda from 1962 to 1966 and President of Uganda from 1966 to 1971, then again from 1980 to 1985. He was a Ugandan political leader who led Uganda towards independence from the British colonial administration in 1962.He was overthrown by Idi Amin in 1971, but...

's son Jimmy Akena, the Member of Parliament for Lira Municipality showing the Obote family still cherishes the party that Obote created.

External links