Uganda Elections 2006: Miria Kalule Obote’s Rise in Politics
Miria Obote after nomination.

Uganda Elections 2006: Miria Kalule Obote’s Rise in Politics


She came out of nowhere and made us think twice about the fingers we have been pointing on her late husband.

By Gerald Rulekere
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First published: December 30, 2005


Death of a dear one can sometimes bring good things to an individual and society. Take Miria Obote for Example. She was on Monday November 28th elected the President of the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), which her late husband led as President for most of its long history.

Miria Obote has never stood for any political office, but following the death and eventful burial of her husband last month, Miria gained political weight at amazing speed.

Miria Kalule Obote is the first Ugandan woman to lead a major political party, the UPC.

She is the Presidential candidate of the UPC party in the 2006 Presidential elections, making her the first Ugandan woman ever to contest for the national presidency.

She delivered a strong speech during her husbands burial in which she defended the late Obote’s actions, especially storming the Kabaka’s palace and though it may be hard to admit, she has changed a lot of Ugandans’ outlook at Obote and UPC especially in that regard. Storming the Lubiri is one of the most hated acts of UPC under Obote.

After the speech, many Ugandans were convinced about Obote’s actions and sympathy for the former President has been growing by the day. This speech is believed to have prompted the local UP leadership to ask Miria to lead the party.

Miria is expected to give UPC another outlook, given the fact that people from northern Uganda and men have dominated it, since she is a Muganda woman.

Miria was born on July 16 1936 to Blasio Kisule Kalule and Mrs. Malita Kalule of Kawempe, a Kampala suburb. She went to Gayaza High School from where she joined Makerere University for Intermediary studies.

Miria married Apollo Milton Obote on November 11, 1963 in what was described as a state ceremony.

She lived in Exile twice when her husband was deposed. First from January 1971 to May 1980 and then from 1985 till she returned to Uganda in October 2005 at the head of the cortege bringing her late husband’s body for burial at his ancestral home in Akokoro, Apac district.

Miria Obote is expected to get votes in Lango sub-region where her late husband was born as well as in some towns of eastern Uganda like Jinja and Mbale where UPC has a strong following.

But her party leadership is divided not only about her being appointed party President ad candidate but also bringing new leaders with limited if any political experience to mobilize people to vote UPC in the national election, a party incumbent President Yoweri Museveni has been campaigning against for more than 20 years, holding it responsible for the political turmoil the country experienced from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In short, it is an uphill task for Miria. And few people are really counting her as a strong contender though her party was once the lion of Uganda’s political jungle. But having gained so much political weight in one month, who knows what she may gain by the February 23, 2006 when the Presidential elections will be held.
By Gerald Rulekere
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First published: December 30, 2005
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Gerald Rulekere is a Journalist and member of Ultimate Media Consult. He has written and published extensively on business and gender issues and been writing for Ultimate Media Consult (U) Ltd for the last two years. A professional and graduate journalist, Rulekere is always looking for an opportunity to better his writing especially for international media.