There been saying that there are similarities between the 1980s General Election and 2016 General Election when it comes to the Presidency and Parliament. Because of that I have checked and read some reports. Here is stories from the 1980 General Election, as the stories comes out and this here is not from articles from New Vision or Daily Monitor, this here is direct reports or educational-papers, even the international media and some of the people involved in the matter like Yusuf Lule and Paolo Muwanga. But there are lots of questions still, but the certainty of British involvement in the result and the outcome has surely come to mind. Here is some information and not just mere speculation to how the General Election went.
Background to the General Election 1980:
“Thus assured of support, Obote now moved in fact to destabilize the UNLF Government in Uganda. In this he found an ally in the Military Commission of the UNLF, whose Chairman Paulo Muwanga and Vice-Chairman, Yoweri Museveni, joined hands to stage a coup against the UNLF in May 1980. But Museveni was out maneuvered by the Obote-Muwanga clique. The latter rigged the December 1980 elections in their favor” (…)”Britain, in tum, manipulated the Commonwealth to send an “Observer Group” to witness the elections – a ploy that served to “legitimize” Obote’s victory, and thus secure the official suppon of all members of the United Nations and the OAU. Needless to add, Britain was the first country to recognize Obote’s fraudulent victory. Margaret Thatcher convinced the Americans to back the regime and to give the green light for IMF stand-by credits. The full regalia of a neo-colonial restructuring of Uganda was opened in front of all eyes to see. Obote was “the man of the hour”. Whilst Britain played a key role in legitimising Obote (through the mediation of the Commonwealth Secretariat), and later in providing him with assistance to train his army, the role other imperialists played must also be mentioned. The Germans, and in particular the Christian Democratic Party and its foundation the Konrad Adenaur Foundation, all linked with German monopolies, have had an historical interest in Uganda, and close ties with the mainly Catholic Party, the DP. They decided that in the interest of protecting broader Western interests in Uganda, Obote’s election “victory”, though fraudulent, must be recognized. The CDU played a significant role in convincing the DP to accept Obote on the grounds that since Obote had offered to “respect” a “multi-party system”, the DP still had a chance in the future” (Tandon, 1987).
From the 11th December 1980 Proclamation:
“The Chairman of the Military Commission, Mr. Paolo Muwanga, has issued a declaration regarding the confirmation of who shall be considered as having been elected a member of Parliament following the end of the 1980 General Elections” (…)”Any results declared otherwise than in compliance with the provision of the declaration shall not be valid or binding in any publication or such purported result by any means whatsoever” (…)”For the purpose of the 1980 elections to the National Assembly, section 47 of the National Assembly (Elections) Act shall be substituted by the following: “47A(a) when the result of the poll of 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 conduct of the election” (Muwanga, 1980).
The official Results:
Yusef Lule claims this:
“I accepted the cabinet on an interim basis. Once I got to Uganda. I shuffled my cabinet and brought in better people. In the 69 days, I tried to rectify the mistakes. For example, one of the roots of troubles in Uganda has been the recruitment of the army from only a few ethnic groups. The British had started this for their own reasons. But as soon as I was President in Uganda, I ordered the recruitment of soldiers from all elements of the population to make it a national army. Nyerere and Obote immediately saw their plan to sieze power after a year might be thwarted. From the moment on Nyerere withdrew from me the support of the Tanzanian troops that controlled the country” (…)”Nyerere insisted that Lule must resign even though the Consultative Council had no legislative powers. (Indeed, the Ugandan High Court ruled, in October 1980, that Lule’s removal had been unconstitutional)” (…)”Since then have come the Uganda elections of December 1980 and much fighting. Lule is highly critical of the Commonwealth Observer Group (COG) because they issued their much-publicized interim report stating the voting had been relatively free and open, before the results of the polls had been announced” (…)”After the Commonwealth statement, Muwanga, contrary to his supposedly neutral role, intervened in the electoral affairs by suspending the announcement of growing victory of anti-Obote forces, and declaring victory for Obote. Muwanga became Obote’s Vice President and Defence Minister” (…)”After the ballots had been counted in Gulu, the permanent secretary – a close friend – called up Mrs. Aliker in Nairobi to congratulate her on her husband’s victory by 40,000 votes against 3,000 for his opponent. The tide was running heavily toward the anti-Obote forces. Then Paulo Muwanga announced suspension of the results. There was immediate tension. When Radio Uganda came on air the next day, they first announcement was that in Gulu, Dr. Martin Aliker had been defeated by 40,000 to 3,000. The candidate falsely announced as the winner refused to believe the result” (Munger – Lule, 1983).
Another story of the 1980 elections:
“Meanwhile, in Uganda, controversy raged over the electoral arrangements, amid an increasingly febrile and violent atmosphere. While under the supervision of the Electoral Commission, the actual mechanics of the election were largely in the hands of the administration – in a continuation from late colonial practice, each district commissioner was the returning officer for all constituencies in his district, and was in effect in control of the hiring and supervision of electoral staff. Just over a month before the election, 14 of Uganda’s 33 district commissioners were dismissed and replaced by men appointed directly by the Military Commission; soon afterwards, Obote publicly warned civil servants to ‘stop frustrating the UPC election efforts’. One man who was a young UPM activist at the time recalled that in his constituency, the district commissioner set about ensuring that all polling staff were UPC supporters” (…)”well over 80% of the registered voters in most places, which meant that rather more than one quarter of the total population voted. This a remarkable number in a country where slightly more than half the population were under 18, while one constituency saw a 103% turnout. Such figures might seem to suggest wholesale ballot-stuffing, and it seems likely that there was some local malpractice involving multiple voting and/or stuffing. But if there was manipulation, it appears to have balanced out, because turnout levels were generally consistent across UPC and DP strongholds.In Buganda, where the UPC suffered more or less complete electoral annihilation, the turnout was as high as it was in the UPC heartlands in the north(the 103% came here). Tito Okello, the commander of the UNLA, ‘praised Ugandans for their peaceful attitude and love for political progress’ and called the election ‘a day of rebirth when Uganda will once more have its rightful place in Africa and the world community’” (…)”The Electoral Commission had, however, fallen silent; its secretary had gone into hiding (and fled the country two nights later) and the rest of its members temporarily vanished from the office. When it resumed the announcement of results, these showed a very substantial UPC victory. In the end, UPC secured 74 seats, against 51 for DP and 1 for UPM; though in terms of the overall vote, the DP secured more votes overall. The process of tallying at a constituency level had been largely unobserved, since the Observer Group had returned to Kampala on 11 December and – following an outbreak of shooting around their hotel that evening – were largely withdrawn on 12 December” (…)”In his memoirs, the senior British member of the Observer Group, Robert Wainwright, comforted himself that Obote would have won anyway, even had he not cheated in the nominations. Obote’s biographer, citing the Observer Group report, insisted that Obote had won the election simply because of its ‘superior organization’, and dismissed accusations of malpractice as unfounded” (Willis).
“Mr. Obote’s party gerrymandered voting districts, delayed opposition candidates past deadlines for qualifying and in the end shut down a public tally of votes to simply announce victory over national radio. In the last two weeks, the Obote administration also has closed five opposition newspapers” (…)”We are going back on a course we thought we had left, just as things were under Amin,” said Paul Ssemogerere, leader of the opposition Democratic Party. A Democratic Party member of Parliament, John Magezi, said in an interview this week that: ”I’m not sure I understand what’s happening myself. This isn’t even third world politics; this is fourth world.” (…)”The most serious threat to the Obote regime is thought to be a rebel force led by Yoweri Mseveni, who was a member of the six-member military commission that ruled Uganda until the election. Making War From the Bush” (…)”Mr. Mseveni was the only man on the board who did not support Mr. Obote. He formed a political party, but he was trounced in the election that he is convinced was stolen by Milton Obote. Now he is in the bush – with a force of five thousand, he claims – preparing for a major offensive unless the Obote administration steps down” (Jaynes, 1981).
“Without the investment budget, the economist said, Uganda’s chances of economic revival look slim. But frequent reports of violence, perpetrated particularly by Government troops, may make potential investors wary. And thus a vicious circle could be created with economic discontent fueling the problems that block economic revival. Many Ugandans still live in poverty. Dispute Over 1980 Election” (…)”Neither do the insurgents seem to offer an immediate alternative to the present Government. The guerrillas undoubtedly have considerable support among the Baganda people around Kampala, who form the nation’s largest single ethnic group. The Baganda have been opposed to President Obote since he banished their king during his first term of office, from independence in 1962 until his overthrow by Idi Amin in 1971. Mr. Obote returned to power in elections in December 1980, which the Baganda opposition charges were rigged, and which Mr. Obote says vehemently were free and fair” (…)”The President himself asserts that, were the guerrillas to achieve their aims and install a Baganda leader, then the rest of the country – which, he says, voted solidly for him in the 1980 election – would rise up in revolt” (Cowell, 1982).
Certain Acholi feelings about the 1980s:
“This was followed by several short lived junta administration (governments) till the 1980 general election that was generally disputed by the majority of Ugandan political parties that participated. They claimed that the election was “not free and fair”. This led to a re-organization once more into another liberation movement that struggled till 1986 when they finally succeeded in capturing political power by force of arms. In this struggle, some members of the then defeated army were either taken as prisoners of war or voluntarily joined liberation movement or settled back home while a section regrouped in the north in order to launch a counter offensive to gain political power. It is generally accepted that this was the starting point of the Northern Uganda conflict that has changed faces of struggle which adversely affected the people of the greater North” (ARLPI, 2007).
Here we see the British position to the matter and verifying the results and the way the rigging is open and blatant happening, even with witnesses and wife’s getting information about the victory by phone and the day after on the radio hearing and announced that the person didn’t get their seat in parliament after all.
The 1980s elections seem by many means rigged and the reports validate that sense. As some have question if that is true or something Uganda Patriotic Movement used to defend their rebellion towards the state, as the opposition does now; the FDC claims as the predecessor UPM did at one point. The worrying point about the whole election at that time is how the Commonwealth Observers is being used by British Officials, as the Dr. Milton Obote got the verifying force and the international credibility to stop the nuance of asking to accepted. While the Parliament and members was more selected than elected. Just as it seems as after 18th February as the Electoral Commission under Eng. Dr. Badru Kiggundu, put all the eggs in the basket of President Museveni and avoided lots of polling stations to benefit the ruling regime. The way the ruling regime of Uganda People’s Congress did their job and their Paolo Muwanga made the cake for Dr. Obote and his second term in office.
The way Obote told Civil Servants to serve UPC and not work against them, the same way Museveni today tells that everybody should stay behind NRM; they use other words, but initially mean the same. The same is also that Museveni says the election happen in a free and fair fashion as did Obote on the 1980s. They actually could be saying the same words or as similar as can be. They could be like brothers today and President Museveni did everything in his power in the beginning to demolish the legacy of Obote. So that he could be seen as the essential leader of the nation.
Today we see the ways that the army and police are used as tool of oppression as it was done during the Obote area as well. The determination of oppressing the opposition and making life hard for anybody who is not NRM is shown through the pre-election period and now after the polls as evidence today and the recent days where the Police have gone after the opposition with vigor and power. Jailed and detained FDC Mobilisers, Officials and others for affiliations or having the original declarations forms that the Electoral Commission have rigged, so to get rid of evidence.
So there is so many of the same traits that it is staggering… and the ways they are conducting the elections and polls; are nothing difference than from Obote, the man he fought for 5 years in a Bush-War to free the peasants, making himself to be like him. That is impressive as he was supposed to be an intellectual and a wise-guy who could make Uganda democratic, what that has happen is that President have made government of Uganda now acting the same ways as the ones he ousted. That is ironic and sad at the same time. Wished for the people Uganda another President who respect rule of law, the role of the executive and the true power of transparency and accountability, but that will not occur under President Museveni as he now will only seek his own gain and not care about the general state of Uganda; as his power and keeping that is main objective, everything else is secondary. Peace.