12 January 2023
Established political organisations emerged on the scene in Uganda in the 1950s as ‘loose networks’ of locally powerful politicians rather than centrally organised and programmatically unified institutions’ (Wilkins, 2018, p. 67).
The first of these was the socialist-leaning Uganda National Congress (UNC) founded by Ignatius Musaazi and Abu Mayanja in 1952 under the slogan ‘Self Government Now’. Subsequently, the Democratic Party (DP) emerged in 1954 out of Catholic mobilisation against the Protestant establishment in the Buganda Lukiiko. The DP then spread outside Buganda on the strength of Catholic communities who, although a majority, had been systematically excluded from positions of power by the Protectorate’s de facto privileging of Protestants.
In 1960, an ideological contestation alongside elite cooperation, religious and ethno-lingual tenets among the ranks of the UNC sowed seeds of proand anti-Buganda factions, resulting into a breakaway faction that formed the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) led by Milton Obote.