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Uganda's exiled ex-president Obote to retire from party's presidency
www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-28 13:56:40

    KAMPALA, Aug. 28 (Xinhuanet) -- Exiled ex-president Apollo Milton Obote will not stand for the presidency of the opposition Uganda People's Congress (UPC) when the party holds its first annual delegates' conference in 20 years next month, an official from the party has said.

    The chairman of UPC's constitutional steering committee, Haji Badru Wegulo, was quoted by local press on Sunday as saying that "we have communicated with the president and he says he is not interested in leading the party any more."

    Wegulo said Obote had led the party by remote from Zambia for over 20 years, not because he wished to, but because the National Resistance Movement government had suppressed party activities.

    He said Obote had pledged to be an advisor to the new president,it the elected person so wished.

    Wegulo said about 10 people, some of whom are abroad, had expressed interest in contesting for the party president. But he declined to name them.

    He said that apart from electing a party leader, the delegates'conference would also approve a manifesto for the 2006 presidential elections and make amendments to the party constitution.

    "The last delegates' conference we tried to organize in 1985 was disrupted by the coup and since 1986 parties have not been free to operate. So the party members could not convene to elect anew leader," he said, adding that the party would this week begin opening branches in all parishes.

    The 81-year-old Obote, as prime minister of Uganda, received the instruments of power from the British colonialists in October 1962. He was sworn in as president in April 1966 but overthrown ina coup led by commander Idi Amin in January 1971, then he fled to Tanzania where he stayed in exile until 1980.

    In December 1980 Obote become president again after the UPC wonthe national elections. he was ousted in a military coup in July 1985 and fled to Lusaka where he has been living in exile.

    The UPC announced earlier this year that Obote would return to Uganda after 20 years exile from Zambia. But the return was delayed after government officials observed that when Obote returns, he will have to answer for the atrocities committed during his regime between 1981 and 1985. Estimated 300,000 people were killed during the time as the guerrilla forces led by the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army, battled with Obote's Uganda National Liberation Army. Enditem

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