By Zziwa Ashiraf
By mid-1985, intrigue and tension scaled up between President Obote’s top generals along tribal lines. The Acholi accused Obote of sidelining them in favour of his tribemates the Lango when it came to top military positions yet many of their colleagues had lost their lives fighting the then National Resistance Army-NRA rebels by Yoweri Museveni in Luwero Triangle.
On the eve of July 26th, 1985, a section of UNLF soldiers mainly Acholis were mobilized from different Army Barrack across the Country. These troops moved to the Northern Region and pitched camp in Kitgum town. It is reported that President Obote’s Security handlers convinced him at night to flee since the situation was out of control.
On July 27th, 1985, a group of soldiers under the command of Generals Tito Okello Lutwa and Bazilio Okello Olara mutinied and announced the overthrow of Obote’s Gov’t. When Sheikh Abdu Obeid Kamulegeya then on his way back home from a trip, heard the new changes in government and decided to take refuge in Nairobi Kenya. Most of the top UMSC officials followed suit. Others abandoned the UMSC headquarters and went underground internally.
It is reported that the late Paulo Muwanga turned against his boss the late President Obote and returned as the Prime Minister in the Government of the Military Junta under the Late Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa as the Head of State. It was definitely Paulo Muwanga who encourage the late Sheikh Kassimu Mulumba to mobilise his diehards to immediately take over the UMSC Headquarters in Old Kampala under the watch of heavy security.
Sheikh Mulumba’s group made a triumphant procession from Lubaga Road to Old Kampala, which they likened to the Prophet Muhammad’s triumphant return from Madina to Makkah following its conquest. Sheikh Mulumba was reinstated to the position of Chief Kadhi for the second time marking the overthrow of Sheikh Kamulegeya’s administration that was constituted under the provision of the UMSC Constitution.
Sheikh Mulumba went into the annals of history as the only religious leader who graced the National Ceremony when Gen. Tito Okello took Oath of the Office of the President. In August 1985, he represented the Muslim community when President Lutwa met top Religious Leaders at the Parliament Building where he explained in detail why they ended Obote’s second government.
The writer is the spokesperson of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.