While in exile in Tanzania, Museveni formed the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), a rebel army whose stated purpose was the overthrow of Amin. When this occurred in April 1979, Museveni assumed a prominent place on the Military Commission which was established as the new national leadership of the country. He served as minister of defense to the three presidents who served prior to the 1980 elections. Museveni was enormously popular, within the Military Commission and among the Ugandan general population. In November 1980, Museveni was promoted to vice-chairman. The December 1980 election of Milton Obote to the presidency again precipitated an exodus of resistance fighters from the country. As head of the NRA, Museveni was once more in the forefront of the effort to overthrow Uganda's government. After a bloody civil war, Obote was overthrown in a 1985 coup, which brought Brigadier Basilio Okello to power. Most rebel groups soon reached agreement with the Okello government and were given positions on the Military Council; the NRA was not among those groups. The UNLA, now the official national army, continued its reign of terror.
The NRA continued its campaign to overthrow the government and succeeded in gaining control of large areas of the country. On 26 January 1986, they entered Kampala and dissolved the Military Council. Museveni was sworn in as president three days later. By this time, Uganda's 24-year turbulent history since independence had been through seven military coups, eight presidencies, two suspensions of the Constitution, and loss of an estimated 400,000 lives.