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Godfrey Binaisa: Wikis


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Godfrey Lukongwa Binaisa QC (born 30 May 1920), lawyer, former Provisional President of Uganda and Attorney General in the post independent government of Uganda of the 1960s.


Education and early career

Binaisa was educated at King's College Budo and Makerere College. He then earned a LLB in law from King's College London in 1955 and was called to the Bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1956. He was appointed a Queen's counsel (QC) and had a private law practice in Kampala.

Binaisa was a member of the political parties Uganda National Congress and United Congress Party in the 1950s. He later joined Uganda People's Congress which in 1962 formed the first post-independent government of Uganda. He was appointed the Attorney General in 1962 a position in which he served until 1968 when he resigned over disagreements with President Milton Obote concerning constitutional matters, particularly the presidential powers of detention.

In 1969 Binaisa went into private legal practice, and after Idi Amin took power in 1971, he went into exile to the United States, where he practiced law in Mount Vernon, New York. While in the US, he became a member of Uganda Freedom Union, one of several anti-Amin groups in exile.

The presidency

Following the overthrow of Idi Amin in 1979, Binaisa returned to Uganda. After Idi Amin, Yusuf Lule served as the interim president for 68 days. On June 20, 1979, Binaisa was appointed President of Uganda by the National Consultative Commission, which was then the supreme governing body of the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF), a coalition of former Ugandan exiles who had helped remove Idi Amin.

When Binaisa removed the army Chief of Staff brig. Oyite Ojok, he was himself removed from office on 12 May 1980 by the Military Commission, a powerful organ of the UNLF headed by the Paulo Muwanga, and whose deputy was Yoweri Museveni (then leader of Uganda Patriotic Movement). The country was then led by the Presidential Commission of Uganda (created a few days after the coup) with among others Paulo Muwanga, Yoweri Museveni, Oyite Ojok and Tito Okello.

The Presidential Commission ruled Uganda until the December 1980 general elections. Binaisa had joined, and was made vice president of the Uganda Patriotic Movement. The elections were won by Milton Obote's Uganda Peoples Congress, however, the results were disputed, leading Museveni to launch a guerilla rebellion, which subsequently led him to gain the presidency in 1986.

The development of the "Movement" political system previously used by Museveni's government has often been attributed to Binaisa. Calling the ideology "Umbrella", Binaisa used the system to consolidate his position during his own presidency, seeking to unite all Ugandans in the same political fold. Whether this was a move of pure self-interest or a genuine attempt to curb the more divisive elements of Ugandan politics is open to debate.

Throughout the early 1980s and 1990s, Binaisa lived in New York practicing law and has since returned to Uganda, where he now leads a quiet life. He is the only surviving ex-president of Uganda being looked after by the state under provisions of the 1995 Uganda Constitution.


On 26 July, 2004 Binaisa married Tomoko Yamamoto in a Unification Church Blessing Ceremony. [1] The marriage ended in July, 2005. [2]

Political offices
Preceded by
Yusufu Lule
President of Uganda
June 1979 – May 1980
Succeeded by
Paulo Muwanga

See also




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