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How President Museveni celebrated his 79th birthday

By Freya Wanjiku September 9th, 2023 2 min read

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni’s dedicated his 79th birthday to the Katonga battle of between September 1972 and 1985.

President Museveni, who celebrated his birthday a week before his actual birthdate, noted that his birthday was in remembrance of the fighters of Katonga and beyond.

Dressed in yellow and in a facemask, President Museveni thanked all those who fought in Katonga and the battles before.

“All the past wars in Uganda were unnecessary because there was always another way of solving the problems peacefully. Since 1962, we could have had peaceful politics, but some people didn’t want to. They decided to go for violence and sectarianism. They never wanted the elections to decide. We would have used peaceful means to solve our problems,” President Museveni tweeted.

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The 1972 invasion of Uganda was an armed attempt by Ugandan insurgents, supported by Tanzania, to overthrow the regime of Idi Amin. However, the invasion was poorly executed and lacked sufficient planning.

Within a short time, the Ugandan military, loyal to Amin, repulsed the invaders. The invasion was a failure and only served to solidify Amin’s grip on power.

President William Ruto in a discussion with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda at Entebbe State House. PHOTO | PCS

In the wake of the failed invasion, Amin’s regime increased its campaign of repression and purges, targeting not only real or suspected enemies but also ethnic groups he deemed as disloyal or a threat.

The failed invasion also led to further deterioration of relations between Uganda and Tanzania, culminating in the 1978-1979 Uganda-Tanzania War, which eventually led to Amin’s ouster.

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The early 1980s were tumultuous times for Uganda, marked by the rise and fall of numerous political and military factions, especially after Idi Amin was deposed in 1979.

President Milton Obote returned to power in 1980 in an election clouded with accusations of rigging. His rule, marred by significant human rights abuses and brutality, saw the emergence of various rebellious factions, notably Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA).

In 1985, as the NRA made advances against Obote’s Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), a battle ensued near the Katonga River. This was among the final major clashes leading up to the capture of Kampala by NRA.

President Obote’s grip on power weakened, culminating in his ousting by a coup orchestrated by Brigadier General Tito Okello in July 1985. President Okello’s reign was fragile and continually undermined by insurgencies, especially from the resolute NRA.

Attempts at peace negotiations faltered, and after months of intense conflict, the NRA successfully stormed Kampala in January 1986. This victory ushered in Yoweri Museveni as the nation’s leader, a position he has held onto for nearly four decades now.

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