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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Should Milton Obote be honoured?
Milton Obote
Does Uganda's first executive president deserve a state funeral?

The Ugandan government, opting for reconciliation, has granted Milton Obote, who spent 20 years in exile in Zambia, a state funeral on Friday.

Mr Obote, who died last week of kidney failure aged 80, was president twice - in the 1960s following independence and again during the 1980s. Both occasions were marred by terrible violence and each time, he was overthrown by the military.

While alive, he was threatened with prosecution for the deaths of thousands of people during his second term in office if he were to return home.

Is the Ugandan government's right to give Milton Obote a state funeral? Does dying in exile make a difference? Should his record in office be taken into account? Or is he a special case because he led the country to independence? Send us your comments.

Your comments:

Obote was a very cruel man. He killed our King.
Batuuka Mangalita Pexilina Kadoso, Kampala, Uganda

Obote is responsible for all the unhappiness of the Buganda with their Kabaka who for so long have pleaded to Museveni's government to hand over their land and federal powers. Hadn't he invaded the Lubiri, the Buganda would have retained their property and so wouldn't have pleaded to the Museveni government who call Obote bad but retain what he confiscated undemocratically.
Kabuuka Fred, Nakifuma, Uganda

Milton Obote was a man with a unique style of true governance, but he lacked the ability to redirect his focus amidst the cloud created by his opposition. The fear of that weakness made Idi Amin an historical monster to mankind. Third chance would have made him a perfect leader of our time. May his soul rest in peace.
Joe C Ochei, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Leaders will come and go but their histories will carve our tomorrow nations be it good or bad. They remind other leaders to watch their steps - no-one is immortal. Finally their mistakes or their success open the eyes of nations and the entire world. Rest in peace Mr Obote. You were once a tyrant but today you are a hero - the whole world talks about you.
Rabbyce Kittermasterr, Malawian

We have to remember that he founded the independence that we enjoy now
Kibuuka Patrick, Kampala

Yes he did the wrongs but as he is dead now. We have to remember that he founded the independence that we enjoy now and some infrastructure that some leaders have up to now failed to set-up to his standards. Obote rest in peace. For God and our country.
Kibuuka Patrick, Kampala, Uganda

The death of Mr Milton Obote has created a vacuum in the archives of Ugandan and African revolutionary politicians. His memories will remain evergreen though with unanswered bothering questions. May he rest in peace.
Oguh Jerry, Cape Town, South Africa

There is no such thing as a perfect leader either in the past or present, as for Mr Obote, he is a loss of a quality born leader who speak the language of unity for his nation. May God rest his soul in peace.
Eric Lakidi, UK

Obote made so many Ugandans lose their lives and property. He failed to control his army thus causing deaths of people all over the country and he indeed ruined the economy. I do not have any kind word for Obote. All bad leaders should not be praised when they die. We should be frank. Obote does not even deserve a state funeral. Let him be buried like a pauper. He ruled us badly; making us join the forces when we were still very young. It is good God has taken him and I do hope that he will have to answer for his sins.
Kiwanuka Richard Nsubuga (Veteran), Mengo, Uganda

Let us leave the final judgement to God!
Vivien, Kampala, Uganda

It is very sad news to hear of the death of Milton Obote. My motherland has lost one of her most important statesmen. But I'm only glad Milton Obote left a vision for the progress of mother Uganda for decades to come. May his soul rest in peace. One thing that makes Obote great is that he loved his country better. Though he made some mistakes, it only confirms that he is human.
Abdallah, Tripoli, Libya

May the living learn from the dead
Tafadzwa Mapfumo, Harare

Many of our African leaders leave a bad legacy because of dictatorship, oppression and intolerance - so much so that it is hard to grieve for them. In fact, many will say good riddance. Similarly Milton Obote's death has roused mixed feelings but largely the good is overshadowed by the bad. May the living learn from the dead.
Tafadzwa Mapfumo, Harare, Zimbabwe

Dr Milton Obote died as a hero to some and an opportunistic dictator to others. It is a shame that he will never stand before a tribunal and answer to allegations placed against him. This has denied the thousands who lost during his reign a sense of closure and peace. We should always forgive, but we should never forget. The truth is out there somewhere and may those who lost and suffered during Obote's rule find a sense of peace in their hearts. Long live Uganda!
Richard Mwesigye, Edmonton, Canada

I was very young during his second regime but one thing for sure is that Dr Milton Obote wrote the political history of Uganda, a true African statesman. An everlasting memory of the father of the nation will be in the minds of Ugandans.
Flora Aduk, Kampala, Uganda

Obote's death is sad news but African leaders should take it as a lesson. They should avoid over staying in power and committing crimes so that they can stay in their countries peacefully.
Kyebuzibwa Julius, Masaka, Uganda

Dr Obote deserves a state funeral as a founding father of Uganda. At one time he hailed democracy which was admired even though, he failed in some areas. As an African I count him as a champion and the greatest of Uganda and he should be remembered. Thanks President Museveni, for this great honour.
Kamau John, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

The Uganda government is right to grant Obote a state funeral because during his first term in office he did many good things for the development of Uganda some of which led to his ouster in 1971. Errors in during his second term in office can be forgiven as he was a frustrated man.
Dr CB Alphonce, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

You know African presidents love power. It's so sweet to them
Syantema Konayuma, Lusaka

Should Milton Obote be honoured? Why not? He was a national leader! He may have committed crimes against his nationals. The blame may be on us as citizens in these nations. We allow systems and constitutions that make a president a semi-god, and you know African presidents love power. It's so sweet to them.

Let Obote be honoured for the positive things he did for Uganda. It would also be important for posterity to have a biography which outlines good and bad lessons from his life. If Ugandans won't honour him, who will?
Syantema Konayuma, Lusaka, Zambia

The dead should be given permanent resting place. There should be reconciliation for the life to continue normally. I use to admire him when he was the President of Uganda but I never know what he did wrong before he was overthrowing by the military. I salute the courage of the present government.
Samuel Fadiya, Reston, USA

I never knew Obote. I read and heard about him. My conclusion though is thus: He made glaring mistakes and he made great contributions. The man deserves a state funeral. Let's learn from his mistakes and let's imitate he's good deeds.
Anonymous, Kampala, Uganda

Milton Obote, one of the post independent presidents of Africa, deserves not to be honour due to bad seed sown during his presidency. Obote is one of the hosts of post independent leaders in Africa, who misdirected our political trend. History will judge them for their political naiveness.
FL Camara, Gambian in America

Whether we want it or not Obote is honoured by those who know his contribution in history. Why for example should Zambia have a public holiday for his burial? Was he more Zambian than Ugandan? The 20 years of President Yoweri Museveni's rule has been spent on erasing and changing the history of Obote and Uganda as such. It does not have to be Museveni's government to grant a funeral for Obote. It is like saying he had control over his death. No.
James William Mugeni, Tororo, Uganda

Honestly like the legendary Mandela said, we can forgive but we won't forget
Bangirana, Kampala

It's rather unfortunate that Dr Obote died in exile. Honestly like the legendary Mandela said, we can forgive but we won't forget Dr Obote's bad deeds. They don't deny him the right to a state funeral. For heaven's sake, the man put in a lot for the independence of this country.

However all of us know that Mr Museveni is giving in to these requests just because of the forthcoming presidential elections. He is however in a dilemma because giving a public holiday will estrange the Buganda votes he craves so much, so don't expect a public holiday despite Zambia having granted one in honour of the old man. Dr Obote RIP.
Bangirana George Williams, Kampala, Uganda

It is sad to see the present government in Uganda eulogize a man that was responsible for many years of unrest and torture in a country with a lot of promise. It speaks volumes for the injustice that continues to be acted out on the African continent. We are guilty as human being to sit back and see that nothing is done to these irresponsible leaders.
Gregory, Washington, DC

All former rulers should be accorded state funerals
Lewis Momanyi, Denver

My thinking is that all former rulers should be accorded state funerals. These are people who have represented their countries at one point. They must at least have done something positive during their tenures. These ex presidents were chosen by people of those countries, and as a leader not all people will see the positive side of you, negative side always is portrayed more than anything else.

That's why I think they deserve the respect and honour of being accorded the state burials. One special case though is for those who have led their countries to independence. These people have fought a tough war for their countries, they've seen it all and I guess they should be given some special treatment i.e. special holidays names after them etc.
Lewis Momanyi, Denver, USA

We have to put in question, what kind of leaders need to be honoured with a state funeral. Dr Milton Obote, was a leader of Uganda who however, with Museveni are accountable for the death of the people in Luwero. Therefore with the abuse of human rights they do not deserve a state funeral.

Also let's not forget it was Dr Obote that exiled Kabaka Mutesa the first president of Uganda and remember did not even honour him with a state funeral. I believe beyond any reasonable doubt that he has been given this state funeral because of political reasons not because of his deeds. Therefore, I will conclude that records indeed need to be put into account for any leader to be given a state funeral.
Moses Njuki, Ugandan in USA

It is very scandalous to accord state honours to former brute leaders who contributed immensely to the brutalizing of their own people. It is scandalous because those who were once brutalized by the likes of Obote are now being forced to honour a corpse of a person who terrorized them. I strongly believe that our leaders' records must be taken into account before we honour them, dead or alive.

We must not dignify dictatorship by honouring brutes like Obote because his conduct in office negated his positive contribution to the independence of Uganda. The same applies to the likes of Mugabe whose conduct in office has all but erased his positive contribution to the liberation struggle of Zimbabwe. As Africans, let's not mystify these independence leaders as if they are demi-gods - they must be held accountable to their actions, dead or alive!
Munya Munochiveyi, Minneapolis, USA

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Press split over Obote legacy
12 Oct 05 |  Africa
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