Uganda's exiled ex-president to return home before end of 2005

Exiled former Ugandan president and the president of Uganda People's Congress (UPC), Apollo Milton Obote will return to Uganda before the end of 2005, a senior party official has said.

The vice chairman of UPC's constitutional steering committee, Okello-Okello, was quoted by local media on Friday as saying that the party members are doing everything possible to see that Obote would return to Uganda before this Christmas.

He noted that the exiled ex-president had started packing his luggage in preparation for his journey to Uganda.

Okello said that the party had finalized with the modalities to welcome Obote and is now waiting for the United Nations, the Zambian government and the Ugandan government to allow him to return to his home country.

In April this year, Obote's son, James Akena, returned to Uganda from Zambia to prepare for the return of his father.

However, the Ugandan government said that Obote is free to come back home on condition that he answers for the atrocities committed during his regime.

Obote, the head of the UPC, one of the leading opposition parties, is expected to field a presidential candidate in the country's general elections slated for March 12, 2006.

His return is expected to boost the UPC's support across the country.

Party officials however said that Obote will not contest for the presidency but will act as an advisor when the party comes into power.

The 81-year-old Obote fled to Zambia after his government was toppled in a coup in 1985.

As prime minister of Uganda, Obote received the instruments of power from the British colonialists in October 1962. He was sworn in as president in 1966, but was toppled in a coup in 1971.

In 1980, he became president again, after his party UPC won the elections, but was again toppled in a coup in 1985.

Source: Xinhua



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