On May 12, 1996, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was sworn in as Uganda’s first directly elected president, after 10 years in office.
Fifteen years later, he swears in today for his fourth presidential term after a quarter of a century in power. Upon completion of his term in 2016, Museveni would have been President for 30 years, making him one of Africa’s longest serving leaders. Michael Mubangizi looks at the highlights of Museveni’s reign.
Jan 26, 1986: NRA rebels come to power after overthrowing the Gen Tito Okello’s government.
Jan 29, 1986: Museveni sworn in as 8th President of Uganda. In his inaugural speech, he says his ascent to power is not a mere change of guard, but a fundamental change. He also promises to establish democracy and attacks the lavish lifestyle of past leaders, who led poor people.
“We want our people to afford shoes. The honourable Excellency who is going to the United Nations in executive jets but has a population at home of 90% walking barefoot, is nothing but a pathetic spectacle.”
Dec 11, 1986: Government forms the Uganda Human Rights Commission, headed by Justice Arthur Oder (RIP) to investigate human rights violations between 1962 and 1986.
Jan 22, 1987: The remains of former President Yusuf Lule are brought home for reburial.
March 9, 1987: Andrew Kayiira, one of the ministers in Museveni’s first cabinet, is murdered just days after being released from jail on charges of treason.
Oct 24, 1988: The National Resistance Council forms a constitutional commission headed by Justice Benjamin Odoki to gather views for incorporation in the new constitution.
Feb 10, 1989: Elections for the expanded NRC. People vote by lining up behind their preferred candidate.
July 11, 1989: About 80 people suspected of being rebels suffocate to death in train wagons after being arrested in Mukura, Kumi district.
Oct 11, 1989: The NRC extends the term of the NRM that was meant to end in 1990, by five more years. The move leaves cracks in NRM, with the resignation of NRC member Wasswa Ziritwawula.
Oct 1990: Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Maj Gen Fred Rwigyema sneaks out of Uganda to invade Rwanda.
April 3, 1992: An army council sitting in Gulu resolves to start negotiations over the restoration of kingdoms.
February 5, 1993: Pope John Paul II arrives in Uganda for a five-day visit.
July 31, 1993: Ssabataka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II is enthroned 36th Kabaka of Buganda.
Aug 16, 1993: The Uganda AIDS Control Programme announces that one out of every eight Ugandans is infected with HIV/AIDS.
Nov 20, 1993: Prince John Barigye enthroned as the 33rd Omugabe of Ankole, but his coronation isn’t recognized by the government.
Nov 21, 1993: Former President Tito Okello Lutwa returns to Uganda from exile.
Dec 18, 1993: Sanyu FM, the first privately owned radio station, goes on air.
March 28, 1994: National election of Constituent Assembly (CA) delegates to debate the new constitution
June 11, 1994: Solomon Iguru Gafabusa I enthroned 27th Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom.
March 28, 1995: The CA rejects proposal for a federal system of government.
April 17, 1995: Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Rukidi crowned Omukama of Toro after the death of his father, Omukama Patrick Kaboyo Olimi III.
June 20, 1995: CA rejects motion seeking to restore political parties.
Oct 8, 1995: New constitution promulgated.
Feb. 11, 1996: Henry Wako Muloki enthroned Kyabazinga of Busoga kingdom.
May 9, 1996: Museveni wins the first election after 10 years in office.He got 75.5%, defeating Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere (22.3%) and Muhammad Mayanja (2.2%). He campaigned under the ‘No Change’ slogan.
May 12, 1996: Museveni is sworn in as Uganda’s first directly elected president.
June 27, 1996: Election of members of the Sixth Parliament.
Oct 1996: Traders in Kampala start a six-day close-down strike opposing the introduction of VAT. The strike is widespread and covers many parts of the country.
Jan 2, 1997: The Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme starts. This was as a pledge by Museveni during the 1996 election campaigns.
March 21, 1998: Then US President Bill Clinton, wife Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea arrive in Uganda for a three-day visit.
October 1998: MTN launches its mobile phone operations in Uganda as a second national operator after Uganda Telecom (formerly Uganda Posts and Telecommunications).
Jan 1999: The 40,202-seater Mandela National stadium is opened.
March 17, 2000: More than 1,000 followers of the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God, a cult led by Joseph Kibwetere, burn to death in a church in Kanungu.
June 29, 2000: Ugandans vote in a referendum to change political systems. They vote to remain under the Movement system.
June 2000: Nasty skirmishes in DR Congo between Ugandan and Rwandan armies in the Congolese town of Kisangani.
Oct 27, 2000: Dr Kizza Besigye announces that he would contest for the presidency in 2001, marking the start of his so-far 10-year bitter rivalry with President Museveni.
Oct 2000: Former South African President Nelson Mandela visits Uganda.
Feb 20, 2001: Maj Okwir Rabwoni, a supporter of Besigye, arrested at Entebbe Airport in a dramatic incident that highlighted the level of tensions in the run-up to the 2001 elections.
Jan 29, 2001: UTL launches its mobile phone services in Kampala under the Mango brand name.
March 12, 2001: Ugandans vote in presidential elections won by Museveni with 69.4%, a decline from the 75% he got in 1996. Kizza Besigye gets 27.7% while other presidential candidates (Francis Bwengye, Aggrey Awori, Kibirige Mayanja and Chapaa Karuhanga each get less than 2%).
April 13, 2001: Former President Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa returns from exile.
April 2001: Supreme Court rules that there were gross irregularities in the presidential election. It, however, upholds the election, saying the irregularities weren’t substantial enough to affect the outcome.
May 12, 2001: Museveni swears in as president for the second five-year term to start his sixteenth year in office.
Sept 21, 2001: Heritage Oil and Gas deposits Shs 875bn with the government as a guarantee that they will drill oil in the Lake Albert Basin.
Nov 30, 2001: The East African Legislative Assembly and Court of Justice are inaugurated in Tanzania.
April 23, 2002: Maj Gen Ali Bamuze of the Uganda National Rescue front returns home after renouncing rebellion.
May 9, 2002: Parliament passes the Political Parties and Organizations Bill 2002 amid protests by multipartyists and moderate movementists. The bill restricts party activities to the national level.
Aug 23, 2002: President Museveni appoints a government team to hold peace talks with Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Sept 13, 2002: Uganda holds the ninth national housing and population census. Results put Uganda’s population at 24.6 million people.
Dec 22, 2002: President Museveni flags off 164,000 pieces of men’s pairs of shorts to America, Uganda’s first textile export under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) initiative.
March 26, 2003: President Museveni asks the National Executive Committee of the Movement to free political parties. The move is seen as a result of pressure from donors.
July 11, 2003: US President George Bush visits Uganda.
Aug 16, 2003: Former President Idi Amin dies in exile in Saudi Arabia. Government refuses to have his remains returned for burial at home.
Dec 10, 2003: The Constitutional Review Commission hands over its report to the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister, Janat Mukwaya. It is, however, divided and the chairman, Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa, writes a minority report opposing the proposal to lift presidential term limits.
Feb 21, 2004: 259 people are burnt to death by LRA rebels at Barlonyo, in Lira district.
April 6, 2004: President Museveni retires from the army at the rank of General.
Aug 26, 2004: The Works and Transport minister launches the construction of the 21km Kampala northern by-pass, to cost Shs 105 billion.
Sept 24, 2004: The Supreme Court rules that the act under which the 2000 referendum on political systems was held was null and void, thus invalidating all government business conducted under it.
March 3, 2005: A man eats a raw rat demanding a district for Tororo county at a rally that President Museveni held in Molo sub-county, Tororo district.