Two days ago, Uganda celebrated the 48th anniversary of its independence from Britain. Milton Obote was the first prime minister of independent Uganda, and King Edward Muteesa II held the ceremonial position of President. In 1966 Obote responded to corruption allegations by suspending the constitution and declaring himself president. In 1969 opposition parties were banned. In 1970 the government took a 60% share in banks and major private corporations.
While Obote was in Singapore in January 1971, Idi Amin seized power in a military coup. His rule was even more chaotic, repressive and arbitrary than that of Obote. In 1972 he expelled Asians from the country, resulting in the collapse of the economy. Around 300,000 people are believed to have been killed during Amin’s reign which ended in 1979 when his plans to invade Tanzania backfired.
A period of political instability followed Amin’s demise. Seizing the opportunity, Obote returned to power through rigged elections, and several years of civil war ensued, ending when Yoweri Museveni, the current president, seized power in 1986. Rebel activity in the north of the country continued for the next 30 years, but the rest of Uganda has experienced relative peace and a slightly lower level of corruption and mismanagement than had occurred previously.