Obote was born on 28th December 1924 in Akororo village, Marusi County in Lango (Northern


His father Stanley Opeto was a local chief. Obote's early years were not very different from those of other children. He played and herded animals.

Obote started his education at Lira Protestant School and then proceeded to Gulu High School and

Busoga College, Mwiri.

He afterwards joined Makerere University College for an Arts degree, which he never completed - He was reportedly expelled in his second year by the then Principal Yusuf Kironde Lule for political activism (he led a students strike)

After his expulsion in 1949 and frustrations with the colonial government (it refused him a visa to study abroad), Obote joined a British Engineering and Construction firm called Mowlem Construction

Company based in Jinja.

When the company transferred to Kabeta in Kenya, he followed it. He later left it and joined the Standard Vacuum Oil Company.

In Kenya, he was influenced by the likes of Jomo Kenyatta, Waruhiu Itote (Gen. China), Walter Odeda, Paul Ngei and Dedan Kimathi, who were members of the Mau - Mau movement. He had studied with some of them at Makerere.

Obote stayed in Kenya until 1957, when he returned to Uganda and on arrival, he was appointed

Chairman of the Uganda National Congress (UNC) Lango branch.

The following year, he was appointed to the Legislative Council representing Lango. He became one of the vocal members on the council.

At the same time Obote befriended I. K. Musaazi - the leader of UNC. Musaazi appointed him to represent the UNC in Mbale. By doing this, Musaazi dug his own grave.

Later, Obote sacked Musaazi for travelling to London without the consent of the party (UKC. He

replaced him with a young Muslim _ Abubaker Kakyama Mayanja.

Musaazi, by bringing Obote to the high table of UNC had not only dug his own grave but also that of his party.

As a result of Obote's maneuvers, the UNC lost popularity and Musaazi was exiled in Gulu and later


Obote also befriended William K. Nadiope, a member of the Legco who had with six others formed a party called the Uganda Peoples Union (UPU).

Nadiope always moved with Obote and introduced him to the crowds as a son of Busoga. This was a big mistake for Nadiope because it weakened his party (UPU).

In 1959, there was a split in the Uganda National Congress with one faction led by Jolly Joe Kiwanuka and another anti Buganda wing led by Obote.

In 1960, he was awarded an honourary Doctorate of Law of Long Island University in the United

States of America.

On 9th March 1960, the Uganda Peoples Union merged with Obote's faction of UNC to form the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC). Obote assumed leadership of this new party with John Kakonge as its Secretary General.

The party became so powerful as more people joined it, but most important of these were three Ugandan_ educated young men, namely Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, Ali Kirunda Kivejinja and Abednego Kintu -Musoke.

Other prominent members included men like Chango Machyo W'obanda and Dani Wadada Nabudere. In the 1961 elections, Obote's UPC lost to the Democratic Party led by Ben Kiwanuka. Kiwanuka

therefore became the leader of the Legco and Obote the leader of the opposition.

In the Legislative council, Obote strongly demanded for an immediate advance towards self - rule ~d on 1st March 1961, Uganda became self - governing.

Obote was among the Ugandans who attended the 1961 London Conference, where he greJ.uy

supported Buganda's federal demands.

He was so tactical that he also decided to marry a Muganda lady - Miria Kalule, This made him the darling of the Baganda.

Some came up with slogans like "Okufumbirwa Ben nfumbirwa Obote" (I would rather get married to Obote than Ben). They were referring to Ben Kiwanuka the leader of DP whom they hated so much. Others gave him Kiganda names like Bwete from the Mamba (Lungfish] clan.

As a result of his demands, elections were organised in April 1962. UPC got 37, DP got 24 and KY 21. Obote allied with KY to form a government. This was a victory for Obese as an individual, although the opponents of this alliance described it as 'an unholy marriage'.

On 9th October 1962, Uganda got complete independence with Obote as the Prime minister. A year later (1963), Muteesa became the first President of Uganda.

On 25th January 1971, he was overthrown in military a coup led by his own army Commander Maj. General Iddi Amin Dada, while attending a Common Wealth Conference in Singapore.

After the fall of Iddi Amin in April 1979, Obote came back on 27th May 1980 from a nine - year exile spell from Tanzania

Under the UNLF umbrella, he participated in the December 1980 fraudulent elections that brought him and his UPC party back to power

On 27th July 1985, he was again ousted in a military coup led by Brigadier Bazillio Olara Okello. He fled by road to Kenya, from where he connected Lusaka Zambia, where he stayed up to the time when he passed away in a Johannesburg hospital on 10th October, 2005 aged 81.

He is survived by a widow Maama Miria Kalule Obote and four sons.