Otunnu is a politician, diplomat, and lawyer. He was elected president of the Uganda People's Congress (UPC), a political party in 2010 and contested as the party's candidate in the 2011 presidential election. |
Although many party faithful saw his coming as a blessing given his international diplomatic reputation, his performance in the elections was poor, with only 1.58% of the valid votes. He was also accused of failure to vote in an election where he was a candidate for the highest office in the land.
Otunnu defeated Jimmy Akena in the UPC elections to succeed Miria Obote, wife of former President Milton Obote.
Otunnu was Uganda's Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1980 to 1985 and served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1985 to 1986. Later, he was President of the International Peace Academy from 1990 to 1998 and he was an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict from 1997 to 2005.
Otunnu, who was born in Mucwini, Kitgum district, received his early education at Mvara, Mucwini, and Anaka primary schools. He went to Gulu High School and King's College Budo, before proceeding to Makerere University, Oxford University and Harvard Law School.
Otunnu was appointed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict in 1997.
Otunnu’s problems started in 2011, when Otunnu hastily sacked a group of senior party leaders who were critical of his leadership style.
They included the then party chairman Edward Rurangaranga, secretary general John Odit, and David Pulkol, the former director of research in Otunnu’s executive.
Otunnu also failed to forge a harmonious relationship with the Obote family and other senior party supporters. The family and officials accuse him of betraying Dr. Milton Obote when he (Otunnu) decided to join the government of Tito Okello Lutwa in 1985 that had overthrown the former UPC president.
Early this year, Otunnu resigned as UPC president, saying he was stepping aside to concentrate on political activism. “We must bring change to the country and I am not giving up on politics,” Otunnu told journalists at the party headquarters.