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Obote speech on eve of Uganda’s Independence 1962

Independent Uganda’s first Prime Minister Dr Milton Obote receives instruments of power from British government representative Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. PHOTO VIA URN

Prime Minister Apollo Milton Obote’s speech on eve of Uganda’s Independence in 1962

“Countrymen and friends,

At midnight tonight, Uganda shall become Independent. We shall have a Uganda flag, a National Anthem, and a Coat of Arms. These will be symbols, but independence does not begin and end with the selection and raising of a flag, the singing of a National Anthem, and the display of a Coat of Arms.

Our independence shall mean great responsibilities for all of us without exception. Collectively, we shall all be responsible to safeguard our independence and ensuring peace and stability within our country. In addition, the Government in whose name I now speak offers to you a firm determination to protect your life and property and opportunities for your advancement.

It is in this ensuring of peace and stability and this determination for the protection of life and property coupled with opportunities for advancement as individuals and combinations and as a country that I now call upon all to pass an irrevocable resolution marking our new status and guiding us into the future.

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Let us add to that resolution that we are of Uganda and Uganda is ours. Let us recognize that and pay our tribute to these friends from inside and outside Uganda who have helped us on our way to independence. Let us remember the best we have received and now inherit from the British administrators. I also ask all to give the missionaries past and present special praise for the light they brought and do still maintain.

I cannot forget our men of commerce and industry and also our peasant farmers and the working men and women. Our ability to have a higher standard of living will depend as in the past on their success, security, and happiness.

I pray to God to give us and our country the will to safeguard our freedom and to serve our country in peace. I pray that He may give us a reason and in the reason we may seek and find, and may what I have said tonight bind us into the community of hope who shall think and strive and toil in such patterns, that work of more noble worth may yet be done.

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All these and more: For God and My Country.”

Dr Apollo Milton Obote, Monday, October 8, 1962

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