Uganda National Liberation Movement


A combined force of Ugandan fighters together with the Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces (TPDF) finally defeated Amin in April 1979. Prior to the overthrow of Amin, President Julius Nyerere had called a conference at Moshi, Tanzania of various Ugandan political groups that were opposed to Amin.
The Moshi conference formed that Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF) and chose Professor Yusuf Lule as President of Uganda. The conference also created the National Consultative Council (NCC), which was to act as the legislature, under the leadership of Edward Rugumayo.

Each of the political groups that met in Moshi was given two seats on the NCC. A UNLF government under Professor Yusuf Lule was set up but he lasted only 68 days as President. Lule was succeeded by Godfrey Lukonga Binaisa as President. The UNLF was an umbrella organization, which brought Ugandans of different political opinions together.
Indeed, as can be seen from the foregoing, since the onset of colonialism, this was the first opportunity for Ugandans to organize politically on the basis of their own interests rather than the interests of others. However, this chance was not properly used, as subsequent events were to show.

Despite the confusion and division that marred the UNLF, a healthy foundation for Uganda’s politics could have been established under the UNLF. Basing itself, unfortunately, on the brotherly, but misinformed, support of the TPDF, the UNLF administration was short-lived.
Later, as a result of political manipulation on the part of UPC and DP leaders, the UNLF umbrella was torn, with both UPC and DP insisting on factional, sectarian elections in 1980.
Some of the leadership had pressed for elections under UNLF and the NCC had passed a resolution approving elections under the Front, this view was suppressed.
Consequently, the UPC helped by the Military Commission, headed by Paulo Mwanga, won the 1980 elections, which were widely seen as rigged. Electoral constituencies were not based on administrative units of population size.

This resulted into the gerrymandering of constituency boundaries. Each party had its own ballot box, which made it easy to tamper with the results. The votes were not counted at polling stations and ballot boxes were transported and kept overnight before counting.
In the end, even the Electoral Commission was not allowed to announce the winners as Paulo made it a criminal offense for anyone, other than himself to do so. Indeed as legal Notice Number 10 dated December 10, 1980 specifically laid out:

“When the result of the poll of at a constituency has been ascertained, the returning officer shall make no public declaration of the finding but forthwith communicate it to the Chairman of the Military Commission with a confidential report on various aspects of the election. (The Chairman) shall ascertain whether the election has been free and fair of any irregularity or violence.”

“Any result declared otherwise than in compliance with (these provisions) shall not be valid or binding and any publication of such purported result by any means whatsoever whether in writing, print, communication or by word of mouth howsoever shall be a penal offence punishable by a fine of up to sh500, 000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”