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Uganda’s Road to Independence: A Journey of Resilience and Determination

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Uganda’s path to independence was a historic journey marked by struggles, resilience, and the determination of its people to break free from colonial rule. On October 9, 1962, this East African nation finally achieved its long-awaited independence from British colonial rule. This article explores the key milestones and individuals who played pivotal roles in Uganda’s quest for self-determination.

Colonial Background

Uganda’s colonial history began in the late 19th century when British explorers and imperialists started to establish their presence in the region. The signing of treaties with various local leaders marked the gradual extension of British influence. The Buganda Agreement of 1900, in particular, was instrumental in consolidating British control over Buganda, a central kingdom in present-day Uganda.

Key Figures in Uganda’s Independence Movement

Kabaka Mutesa II: The Buganda kingdom was a significant player in Uganda’s journey to independence, and Kabaka Mutesa II, the traditional leader of Buganda, was a prominent figure. He advocated for the rights and interests of his people, often at odds with British colonial administrators.
Milton Obote: Milton Obote, a charismatic leader and founding member of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), played a crucial role in the political landscape of Uganda. He became Uganda’s first Prime Minister after independence.
Sir Edward Mutesa II: After gaining independence, Uganda adopted a parliamentary system of government with Sir Edward Mutesa II as its first president. He was a symbol of unity in the newly independent nation.
The Road to Independence

The struggle for independence in Uganda was marked by various phases and events:

Rise of Political Parties: The formation of political parties, such as the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and the Democratic Party (DP), marked the emergence of organized political movements seeking self-rule.
Constitutional Reforms: Constitutional reforms in the late 1950s paved the way for increased African representation in the legislative council, a crucial step toward self-governance.
Lancaster Conference: The Lancaster Conference of 1960-1961 was a turning point in Uganda’s quest for independence. It brought together political leaders to negotiate the terms of independence and a new constitution.
Independence Day: On October 9, 1962, Uganda celebrated its independence with colorful ceremonies and parades. The Union Jack was lowered, and the Ugandan flag was raised for the first time.
Challenges Faced After Independence

Uganda’s early years of independence were marked by both hope and challenges. The nation had to grapple with issues like tribal tensions, economic development, and political stability. The legacy of colonialism, which had left divisions among ethnic groups, posed significant challenges.

Uganda’s journey to independence was a long and arduous one, characterized by the determination of its people to reclaim their sovereignty. The contributions of key leaders and the sacrifices made by many individuals during this struggle should not be forgotten. Today, Uganda stands as an independent and sovereign nation, with its unique history shaping its path forward.

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UPC Women’s League Launches Policy Document to Boost Women’s Political Participation

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The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) party Women’s League unveiled a policy document on Wednesday, outlining their vision for women’s active involvement in politics. This comprehensive document encompasses essential concepts, including the UPC Women’s League Charter, Gender Policy, and Sexual Harassment Policy, all designed to foster an inclusive environment for women’s robust participation in politics and more.

The concept of women’s participation in politics is perceived as both a process and an outcome linked to women’s engagement in political and economic institutions. This includes their participation in bureaucracies, policy-making bodies, and representative organizations.

At the launch event held at the UPC headquarters in Kampala, the Minister for Gender, Labor, and Social Development (MGLSD), Betty Among, served as the chief guest. She emphasized the importance of women’s involvement in political parties, which serve as gateways to political engagement and electoral contests.

“Political parties are very significant, which is why individuals continually vie for leadership positions within them, as that is where power resides,” remarked Among.

Furthermore, the minister encouraged women to rally one another to actively participate in politics, recognizing their pivotal role in the country’s economic development and the efficient delivery of services.

“With upcoming Women’s League elections in the country, we need to assess our readiness,” she added.

Discussing the concepts outlined in the policy document, Among pointed out that women’s initiatives have made significant contributions to the ministry’s work. She also urged other political parties and organizations to adopt similar policies, emphasizing the need for women’s protection.

The event also hosted active women in politics, representing the “Interparty Women’s Platform (IWOP),” a collective body that brings together women from various political parties, regardless of their ideologies. IWOP was established to provide a platform for mutual support and idea-sharing, particularly regarding issues such as sexual harassment.

Hajjat Aisha Waligo, the President of the opposition Democratic Party (DP) Women’s League, who also attended the ceremony, emphasized the vital role women play in delivering services and community development. She acknowledged that sexual harassment is often committed in secret, causing many women to withdraw from active politics.

Apart from financial and biological challenges, sexual harassment remains a significant obstacle, hindering women’s equal participation in politics and giving their male counterparts an unfair advantage, Waligo noted.

UPC President Jimmy Akena expressed his commitment to supporting women within the party to ensure their full participation in politics across the country. He highlighted the party’s dedication to empowering women, as demonstrated in their support for Dr. Eunice Apio Atuko, the Women legislator of Oyam North constituency in Oyam district, during a recent by-election. Akena assured that his office is always open to providing support in this regard.

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FDC Youth League Leadership for 2023-2018 Elected in Highly Competitive Race

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The opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) concluded its 2023-2018 youth league leadership elections on Thursday evening. The elections were organized by the FDC Electoral Commission, under the leadership of Chief Commissioner Boniface Toterebuka Bamwenda, and took place at the party’s headquarters in Najjankumbi, Kampala.

In a fiercely contested race, the following individuals were elected to key positions within the FDC Youth League:

  • Adepo Francis emerged as the Youth League Chairperson.
  • Nakayenze Phiona was elected as the Vice Chairperson East.
  • Atemo Mary Gorret assumed the role of Secretary General.
  • Ssebitosi Andrew was elected as the Secretary for Mobilization.
  • Alupo Mercy Marion was chosen as the Treasurer.

Additional appointments within the Youth League include:

  • Patricia Elubu Ayoo as Secretary for Research and Publicity.
  • Adiro Catherine Okot as the Secretary for Legal, Human Rights, and Constitutional Affairs.
  • Magabo Derrick as the Secretary for Education, Sports, and Students.
  • Sserugga Ibrahim as the Vice Chairperson for the Central Region.
  • Onzima George as the Vice Chairperson for the Northern Region.
  • Bacwa Amos as the Vice Chairperson for the Western Region.
  • Nansubuga Shamim as the Women’s Youth League representative.
  • Muganzi Timothy as the representative for Health and Environment.

The highly competitive election underscores the significance of the FDC Youth League in shaping the future of the opposition party. The newly elected leaders will play a crucial role in advancing the goals and ideals of the FDC among Uganda’s youth and beyond.

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Democratic Party: New Leadership Takes Over Inter-Party Women Platform in Uganda

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In a recent transition of leadership, the Democratic Party (DP) has assumed control of the Inter-Party Women Platform in Uganda (IWOP), formerly led by the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). The IWOP serves as a collective voice for women across political parties in Uganda, addressing issues affecting their participation in politics and within their respective parties.

Originally comprising members from nine registered political parties in Uganda, including the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), Democratic Party (DP), Ecological Party of Uganda (EPU), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Justice Forum (JEEMA), National Resistance Movement (NRM), Peoples’ Progressive Party (PPP), Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA), and the Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC), the platform has now welcomed its tenth member, the Conservative Party.

Ambassador Edith Sempala, the outgoing chairperson of IWOP, expressed her excitement, highlighting the uniqueness of this initiative in Uganda. She emphasized that any registered political party in Uganda with a physical location and a functional women’s league is eligible to join IWOP. The platform provides a space for women to engage in dialogue, offer mutual support, share information, and foster capacity building and leadership development to enhance women’s involvement in politics. Additionally, IWOP aims to build consensus, strengthen networks, and engage in collective advocacy on issues impacting women in Uganda.

Ambassador Sempala believes that through IWOP, the collective potential of women in political parties can be harnessed to contribute to peace, unity, and sustainable development at the national, regional, and international levels by addressing common concerns across political divides. She conveyed this message as she handed over leadership at the ANT head offices in Kampala.

Aisha Waliggo, the incoming chairperson and DP Women League President, urged her colleagues not to be disheartened by numbers but to remain focused on their objectives. She emphasized that their role is advocacy and called upon all Ugandans to believe in the possibility of a peaceful transfer of power. She noted that women constitute 52% of the population and their contributions should be mainstreamed and of high quality. She expressed a commitment to working together for the betterment of the women’s community in Uganda.

Alice Alaso, a founding member of the Alliance for National Transformation, acknowledged the challenges ahead and stressed the importance of strengthening women’s leagues within political parties. She called on Secretary Generals to support the growth of women’s leagues, which, in turn, would fortify IWOP. Alaso recognized the political challenges in the country, emphasizing the need for a detoxification of the political environment to empower Ugandan women.

Launched on March 2, 2023, IWOP undergoes leadership changes every six months in alphabetical order. The platform aims to empower women leaders to devise strategies and advocate for changes that enhance women’s participation in political parties and politics in Uganda.

During the launch, Mr. Francis Rogers, Resident Country Director of the International Republican Institute (IRI), emphasized the importance of finding common ground among diverse political ideologies. He highlighted the strength of women’s voices, both individually and collectively. The platform does not diminish the significance of any political party or women’s group; instead, it unites women to address the issues affecting them in Uganda, regardless of differing ideologies.

Mr. Francis encouraged women to recognize their collective power and use the platform to amplify their voices in influential circles. He expressed optimism that this group of women would be able to effect change and have their concerns addressed.

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Kitatta, Namyalo, and Gashumba Unable to Substantiate Ownership of ‘Tova Ku Main’ Slogan, Rules URSB

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The claims of ownership over the popular campaign slogan “Jajja Tova Ku Main” have been dismissed by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB). Hadija Namyalo, the Head of the NRM Office of National Chairman, Lwengo District Chairman Ibrahim Kitatta, and social commentator Frank Gashumba had all asserted their rights as the originators of the slogan, which gained prominence in late 2022 in support of President Yoweri Museveni’s continued presidency.

Gashumba sought to copyright the artistic rendition of President Museveni’s photo and the slogan, but his application was contested by both Namyalo and Kitatta, each claiming ownership of the slogan. However, Assistant Registrar of Copyright, Denis Birungi, ruled that none of the three could substantiate their ownership.

Kitatta’s claim was dismissed as unconvincing since he objected to the slogan, which Gashumba sought to copyright as an artistic representation that included a 2019 photo of President Museveni. Kitatta’s assertion that he had registered a copyright for the words in January 2023 was also invalidated, as the slogan had already been in use in 2022.

Namyalo, who contended that she had engaged Gashumba to create the artistic works on her behalf, lost her claim after failing to provide evidence of any contractual agreement. Although she had receipts for payments to Gashumba for creating T-shirts with the artistic words, she could not produce a contract proving that she had commissioned him to undertake the work.

The URSB found no proof that Gashumba was the creator of the works, as the used photo was not taken by him and could only be defined as a derivative work under copyright law. Gashumba failed to provide evidence that he had received authorization from the copyright holder of the original image before making adaptations and modifications, making his ownership claim invalid.

Following the ruling, Namyalo stated that the Office of the National Chairman would continue to use the slogan and the artistic representation of the President in its campaigns since neither Gashumba nor Kitatta owned it. The slogan has been used at NRM functions and events where President Yoweri Museveni has received endorsements for extending his rule beyond 2026, representing the position of pro-Museveni youth referred to as Bazzukulu (grandchildren).

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UPC Faction Leader Calls for Akena’s Peaceful Exit , After Court ruling

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In response to last week’s Supreme Court ruling, which declared Jimmy Akena’s occupancy of the UPC presidency as illegal, the leader of the Uganda People’s Congress faction, Peter Walubiri, has called on Akena to vacate his office peacefully. He warns that if Akena does not comply, stronger measures will be taken.

Akena, however, remains steadfast in his position as the UPC party president. He stated this earlier this week, emphasizing that he is undeterred by the court ruling. Akena vows to continue his duties, asserting that those behind the case seek to undermine the legacy of his late father, Milton Obote.

Counsel Walubiri, addressing the media on Thursday, emphasized that following the court’s decision, Akena lacks a legal basis to maintain his role. He also affirmed that the legitimate party leaders are committed to exposing the illegality of Akena’s actions.

“Given Mr. Akena’s recent unsuccessful attempt to misuse the legal process to claim leadership of the party unlawfully, the rightful party leaders will redouble their efforts to complete the ongoing census of all party members and leaders. They will also mobilize party members to focus on rebuilding the party now that this issue is resolved,” Walubiri stated.

Walubiri has pledged to pursue all lawful means to have Akena removed from Uganda House and hold him accountable for any misuse of party funds and resources dating back to 2015. The situation remains tense as the two factions within the UPC continue to clash over the party’s leadership.

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Deputy Speaker Tayebwa Urges MPs to Uphold Decorum and Dress Code Standards

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The Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa has cautioned legislators against character assassination, violation of rules of the House and urged them to legislate with decorum and dignity for each other.

To avoid disruptions and ensure smooth operations in the House, the Deputy Speaker issued new changes and cited two very critical rules that must be followed by all members at all times and cautioned legislators against misconduct and attacking each other.

“It is out of order to use offensive , abusive, insulting, blasphemous or unbecoming words or to impute improper motives to a member or to make personal allusions,” the Deputy Speaker told members as he read out the rules of procedure verbatim.

“I know as colleagues you have a duty to deliver to your constituency but as the custodian of the rules, I have a duty to protect the dignity of this house and I will ensure that is done but I request you honorable colleagues that indeed we accommodate each other because it’s in parliament where we can accommodate each other. I will give you time to speak. I will give as long as your content is in line with the rules.”

He added: “I will give you time to bring your issues here because it’s provided for but I will request you to accommodate each other. The day you stop accommodating each other as a house, we shall have lost it. I want to thank you colleagues.”

Under 83, the Deputy Speaker announced that during a sitting (a) a member shall enter or leave the house with a decorum. (b) A member shall not cross the flow of the house or move around unnecessarily. (c) While a member is speaking, all other members shall be silent or make unseemly interruptions. (d) When a member has finished his or her observation, he or she shall resume his or her seat. (e) A maiden speech shall not be interrupted. (f) A member shall not without the consent of the speaker bring into the house anything other than papers, books or other documents which are directly connected with the business of the house. (g) A member shall not bring in to the house any camera, arms or weapon, tape recorder, transistor radio and (h) A member shall not clap in the house.

Under Rule 83 (2), the Deputy Speaker informed members that notwithstanding paragraph (g), a member may bring in specific electronic devices that can not disrupt the preceding of the house and also the security test of parliament.

New guidelines

In his communication from the chair, Mr Tayebwa as the custodian of the House rules of procedure , also banned impromptu reaction to the Speaker’s communication to the chair and asked the lawmakers to adhere to the official dressing code.

“I want us to enforce the rules properly including dressing code. So dressing code which is clearly provided for under rule 82 of our rules of procedure will be because under African wear is where we have had an abuse. I will no longer allow shirts in the house and because this is a place of dignity and suits,” the Deputy Speaker said.

“I want us to apply properly what is defined as African shirts some are bought in Europe, they are not even African and this rule is also applying to committees. It has been brought to my attention that members walk in committees in jeans in sneakers in converse in flats, some are about to enter in shorts and also for the women, kindly try to be as decent as possible.”

He added: “With effect from today [October 18 2023] and onwards, if a member for example has an injury, and he or she approaches the speaker in time, and he or she explains him or herself, we can have an exception and we understand the member is injured he cannot put on the suit.”

In order to bring order to the House, the Deputy Speaker also banned lawmakers approaching the speaker’s chair during plenary sessions. This is intended to avoid disrupting Speaker’s attention in the House.

“I want to repeat this. No more walking over to the speaker except for three people. Number one, the leader of government business and also it doesn’t mean that we do it all the time, the leader of government business, the leader of opposition and the government chief whip and any other person whom the speaker, presiding officer can invite for consultation but you will be approaching the chair through chits,” the Deputy Speaker Tayebwa ruled.

He added: “I have seen flexibility is never rewarded and you have proved that to me from all sides. Of course I will remain steadfast and I can assure you of this am a very patient character and I will continue being patient…. I want us to apply the rules here the way they are….the rules I will be applying are rules which honorable colleagues you make and I must implement including when I make a ruling it will be final. If you want to challenge my ruling, the rules give you a leeway of challenging it.”

Terror attacks

Meanwhile the House observed a moment of silence in memory of the two tourists and a Ugandan guide who were killed by suspected ADF rebels in Queen Elizabeth on Tuesday evening. The victims and their guide according to Deputy Speaker, were attacked in Kasese around Katwe. The Deputy Speaker described the tragedy as “a very sad moment especially for the country’s tourism sector which was recovering after being hit so much by COVID-19.”

“People want to come and see the marvel of our beauty as a country so all of a sudden this tragedy happened. I know it will affect the tourism sector but government indeed we need to come up and assure our people on the safety of our visitors in the country and we shall give all the necessary support as a house and we do hope that indeed with this incident we don’t as a country lose focus and declare even ourselves as if we are extremely insecure,” Mr Tayebwa told parliament.

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