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The Return of Military Rule: 1985

The military government of General Tito Lutwa Okello ruled from July 1985 to January 1986 with no explicit policy except the natural goal of self-preservation--the motive for their defensive coup. To stiffen the flagging efforts of his army against the NRA, Okello invited former soldiers of Amin's army to reenter Uganda from the Sudanese refugee camps and participate in the civil war on the government side. As mercenaries fresh to the scene, these units fought well, but they were equally interested in looting and did not discriminate between supporters and enemies of the government. The reintroduction of Amin's infamous cohorts was poor international public relations for the Okello government and helped create a new tolerance of Museveni.

In 1986 a cease-fire initiative from Kenya was welcomed by Okello, who could hardly expect to govern the entire country with only war-weary and disillusioned Acholi troops to back him. Negotiations dragged on, but with Okello and the remnants of the UNLA army thoroughly discouraged, Museveni had only to wait for the regime to disintegrate. In January 1986, welcomed enthusiastically by the local civilian population, Museveni moved against Kampala. Okello and his soldiers fled northward to their ethnic base in Acholi. Yoweri Museveni formally claimed the presidency on January 29, 1986. Immense problems of reconstruction awaited the new regime.

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The best general introductions to Uganda in the precolonial and colonial periods are: S. Karugire's A Political History of Ugandaand J. Jørgensen's Uganda: A Modern History. For the place of Uganda in the larger context of East African and African history, see B. Davidson's A History of East and Central Africa to the Late 19th Century; Zamani: A Survey of East African History, edited by B. Ogot and J. Kieran; and the relevant chapters in History of East Africa, published by Oxford University, 3 volumes, and The Cambridge History of Africa, 8 volumes.

More specialized treatment of Uganda issues can be found in T. Sathyamurthy's The Political Development of Uganda, 1900- 1986; D. Rothchild and M. Rogin's "Uganda" in G. Carter's National Unity and Regionalism in Eight African States; D. Apter's The Political Kingdom in Uganda, F. Welbourn's Religion and Politics in Uganda, 1952-1962; N. Kasfir's The Shrinking Political Arena; and C. Gertzel's Party and Locality in Northern Uganda.

The destructive period of Amin in the 1970s produced a series of studies, among them D. Martin's General Amin; H. Kyemba's A State of Blood, A. Mazrui's Soldiers and Kinsmen in Uganda; M. Twaddle's Expulsion of a Minority, G.I. Smith's Ghosts of Kampala; and the International Commission of Jurists' Uganda and Human Rights.

Sources for Uganda since the fall of Amin are T. Avirgan and M. Honey's War in Uganda; H. Hansen and M. Twaddle's Uganda Now; P. Wiebe and C. Dodge's Beyond Crisis; K. Rupesinghe's Conflict Resolution in Uganda; and the Minority Rights Group's Uganda and Sudan--North and South. (For further information and complete citations, see Bibliography.)

Data as of December 1990