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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 October 2005, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
State funeral for Uganda's Obote
Milton Obote
Obote's forces tried to repel a rebellion by current leader Yoweri Museveni
The Ugandan government says it will grant a state funeral to the country's first executive president, Milton Obote, who died in exile on Monday.

Information Minister Nsaba Buturo said the decision was taken at a meeting chaired by President Yoweri Museveni.

Dr Obote, long considered a nemesis of President Museveni, was the fourth Ugandan ex-president to die in exile.

Dr Obote took Uganda to independence from Britain in 1962. He was overthrown in 1971 by an army officer, Idi Amin.

Announcing the plans for a state funeral, a cabinet statement said the current Ugandan government had achieved peace, reconciliation and security.

"It was considered appropriate that given the past turbulent history of Uganda, government reiterates its commitment to national reconciliation and consequently decided to accord a state funeral to the former President Dr Apollo Milton Obote," said a statement signed by the secretary to the cabinet, Hilda Musubira.

Dr Obote's party - the Ugandan People's Congress - said he was the father and founder of modern Uganda and had the right to a state funeral.

Turbulent career

Milton Obote embodied the hopes of one of Africa's most promising countries when he took power in 1962 as a young, charismatic politician from the north of the country.
Ugandans read the news

He was overthrown by Idi Amin while attending a Commonwealth summit in Singapore.

He returned to power in 1980, but was again overthrown and fled to Zambia in 1985, where he remained in exile until his death.

His security forces spent five years fighting a rebel force headed by Yoweri Museveni, who seized power in Kampala in 1986 and has led the country since.

As president, Mr Museveni warned Mr Obote against returning to the country, saying he would face prosecution for the deaths of thousands of people during the early 1980s.

The former leader died of kidney failure in a hospital in Johannesburg.


SEE ALSO:
Press split over Obote legacy
12 Oct 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Uganda
08 Oct 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Uganda
08 Oct 05 |  Country profiles


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