Uganda’s two time former President, Apollo Milton Obote (RIP) is remembered, among many things; for fighting for Independence from the British colonialist.
On 9, October, 1962, Uganda gained Independence and Late Obote was given instruments of power.
He was eloguent, brave and with a soft heart, many recall.
Like it’s said leaders come, leaders go, Obote “went”, paving way for new leaderships. He died in 2005 in a South African hospital.
However, during his reign as President, he made numerous statements (quotes) and today, from different archives, we republish his quotes.
On alcoholism: “When you see your parents, brothers, sisters drinking, don’t think they are enjoying it. They are actually suffering, “Uganda Argus, October 10, 1968.
On being president of Uganda: “I want to tell you that I have found the work of the presidency very light, but I found the work of being the Commander-In-Chief rather heavy,” Uganda Argus, October 24, 1968
On intrigue in UPC: “We have in Africa people who think they know everything, and do not want to be advised; and who think everything others do is wrong and that what they do is the best and should not be questioned. We will allow you to follow that road to the capitals of our enemies, but we shall remain true to our road,” Uganda Argus, December 16, 1970.
On neo-colonialism: “We live in a world of giants and dwarfs. We live in a world of big powers and small nations. The small nations are constantly worried by the tendency of big powers to use their giant’s powers like giants,” Uganda Argus, June 10, 1969.
On foreign countries: “We here in Uganda, for instance, do not want either the Chinese or the Russians to be our masters tomorrow; in the same way that we do not want nor accept any Western power either directly or indirectly to be our masters,” Uganda Argus, December 19, 1970.
To some European powers: “Africa is their preserve and playing field. To them, no African government has the right to exercise self-determination. Uganda Argus,” December 19, 1970.
On the independence constitution: “When we got independence, our constitution had certain ambiguous provisions that did not make it clear whether Uganda was a republic, a monarchy, a federal or a unitary State. Since 1966, we have been streamlining things. We are now a republic and we are endeavoring to emancipate the people economically and mentally,” September 10, 1970.
On the youth: “The past belongs to our grandfathers, the present belongs to the adults of today, but in the future which is of the greatest importance to our country belongs to the youth,” Uganda Argus, October 8, 1968.
On Parliament and people: “When we stress that one Parliament, one people, one government, we are not stressing a slogan but an achievement is essential for the youth today. The youth of today and tomorrow should not grow up in closed tribal perimeters. We must break away from the present history; we must make our own history,” Uganda Argus, June 17, 1970.
On national unity: “It is true that in Uganda we speak many languages. But difference of languages is no difficulty at all in the unity of Uganda; and the difference of religion is no difficulty at all,” Uganda Argus, April 12, 1968.
On tribalism: “Let us all our people reject any idea that there is a tribe in Uganda which is more important than other tribes. After we have rejected those ideas, we must build a platform for national unity, and we can do this,” Uganda Argus, April 12, 1968.
On the Pearl of Africa: “Although Uganda’s description of herself as the “Pearl of Uganda” might seem a form of advertisement that did not conform to realities; it was the goal of the country’s aspiration. In this aspiration, however, it did not intend to show that Ugandans were a people and a country that was not in Africa. We are a part of Africa, the wealth of Africa is a part of us and so is the poverty of Africa,” Uganda Argus, March 28, 1969.
On the development of Africa: “The old description of Africa as the “dark continent” cannot now do. Africa must describe itself in its own way and that can only be done by the Africa,” Uganda Argus, August 17, 1966.
On the common man: “The biggest of us all, the richest of us all, and perhaps the highest educated of us all, cannot stand without the support of the common man,” Daily Nation, December 21, 1970.
On Buganda’s mwana wani policy: “This is the age of the common man and, therefore, politics based on bosses cannot work. It is the common man who has the vote. It is his reign and it is his age,” Uganda Nation, June 29, 1963.
On Buganda’s feudalism: “The past policy of feudalists that the masses were unable to govern themselves and had, therefore, to be ruled by certain categories of individuals due to no qualifications other than birth has been replaced by the principle that citizens should work together, sharing joys and tribulations on the basis of equality, believing in one government, one parliament based on common leadership and one people,” East African Journal, October 1968.
On the abolition of kingdoms: “The government wanted to abolish the era of servitude that the people had known for centuries and centuries. Those who wanted to remain slaves could stay backward,” Uganda Argus, April 19, 1968.
On racism: “There are many people here who are not Africans and who do not know Africans – who have refused to believe that an African is a human being,” Uganda Argus, August, 5, 1968.
On Africa’s international relations: “It would be wrong for Africa to be a closed shop and develop in isolation. Africa is a part of the world and a very important part of it and has to maintain contact with the rest of the world. But that must not mean that Africa has to be a parrot and copy everything from other continents and countries irrespective of their usefulness on the soil of Africa,” Uganda Argus, April 12, 1969.
On supporting polio victims: “The means should be given to them to overcome their disability in order to lead a normal life – to bring up their families and to lead a full and rewarding life, be it in town or village,” Uganda Argus, July 22, 1967.
On tribalism: “I belong to a tribe, religion, but I do not believe in tribalism and I do not believe in religion separating me and the rest of the people… but I want to emphasize that a leader is sometimes alone. However, in UPC, a leader who is alone is no leader,” Uganda Times, November 5, 1980.
On Buganda and Uganda: “It is very dangerous for anyone to try to isolate any tribe in Uganda. It is even more dangerous for any politician to try to isolate Uganda’s central province. Buganda is an essential part of Uganda. Uganda cannot do without Buganda, just as Buganda cannot do without the rest of the country,” Uganda Times, August 15, 1980.
UPC ideology: “We are a party of the people, a party of the peasants, a party of the workers, a party of the youth and above all a party of ideas. The people of Uganda know that before the UPC states anything of any position, the other parties dare not do so,” Uganda Times, November 5, 1980.
On the accusation of ‘creating’ Idi Amin: “I did not create Amin. It is God who created Amin,” Drum Magazine, July 1980.