In 1969, on this very day, the 19th of December, something significant unfolded in Uganda. Dr. Apollo Milton Obote Opeto, the Prime Minister at the time, narrowly escaped a fatal attack. It was a shocking incident that marked a turning point in the country’s political landscape.
As President Milton Obote Obote was returning from a UPC delegates conference in Lugogo, an assailant with a long-range weapon took aim at him. A bullet tore through his cheek, causing damage to his teeth. Remarkably, he survived the attempt on his life, thanks to a malfunctioning grenade thrown by another would-be attacker. The bomb failed to ignite, sparing Sir Obote’s life by the narrowest margin.
In the aftermath of this orchestrated attack, two Ugandans, Muhammed Ssebadduka and John Wamala, were apprehended and accused of attempting to murder Sir Milton Obote. However, they were not the only ones targeted; prominent figures, party representatives, and political party members were rounded up and arrested.
The repercussions of the incident were swift and severe. The following morning, Milton Obote’s government took drastic measures by banning all opposition political parties in Uganda, leaving only the UPC party in power. This marked the beginning of a period of political repression characterized by excessive abductions and increasing arrests. Many people were abducted, killed, and their bodies mysteriously disappeared.
Ironically, despite these draconian measures, Sir Apollo Milton Obote’s government lasted only a year. In 1971, a new force emerged in the form of Idi Amin Dada, who seized the presidential seat, bringing an end to Obote’s rule. This period became known as one of the darkest times of political unrest in Uganda.
The events of that fateful day in 1969 had a profound impact on the political landscape of Uganda, setting the stage for a tumultuous period that would shape the country’s history for years to come.