This is a collection of various articles, letters and commentaries, mostly published in newspapers, on Dr. Apollo Milton Obote, who led Uganda to independence in 1962 as Prime Minister, and was President twice, 1966-1971 and 1980-1985. Dr. Obote is a figure in Uganda’s history that draws a variety of emotions from various people depending on how they experienced his regimes, interpreted his achievements and failures or Uganda’s history, interactions with him at the personal and professional levels, their political aspirations and their perceptions.
The authors include former Ministers and former civil servants in his two governments, his wife, parliamentarians, journalists, academicians and members of the public, among others.
As such, the editor has organised these articles and commentaries into four parts: Obote the Hero, Obote the Villain, Obote the Victim, Obote the Mixed Bag. While the latter is the longest part, the second one [Obote the Villain] is the shortest, perhaps showing the man, who is the subject of this book, was to a significant extent influenced by external factors much as he was a victim of the circumstances for the events by which he was labelled a villain. A case in point is the attack on the seat of Buganda Kingdom that eventually led to establishment of Uganda as a unitary Republic. From this, the reader is left to form his or her own view of Dr. Obote basing on how he is presented in this book from several perspectives.
The book opens with two statements from the Uganda People’s Congress, a political party that he headed for several decades until his death in 2005. These highlight his vision for the country and the achievements that were made by his governments. The final article is written by the editor, who bases his argument on his legal grounding to assess whether Dr. Obote can be prosecuted for the “crimes” he has been accused especially by President Museveni and his National Resistance Movement (NRM). Also noteworthy is the coverage of the NRM government’s efforts in facilitating the return of Dr. Obote’s body from South Africa, where he died, through Zambia, where he spent 20 years in exile, to Akokoro village, where he wished to be interred. President Museveni’s seemingly conciliatory speech is ironic considering that he had never said anything positive apart from demonising the ex-President.
In light of the fact that there is no autobiography or memoirs by Dr. Obote, Omongole Anguria has contributed significantly to how the founding father should be judged by posterity instead of the skewed way that has been perpetuated for so long by the NRM and the Baganda or Buganda.
This review was published by The Ivory Post at http://www.theivorypost.com/entertainment/08/oct/ent011008.html