By David Mafabi
An unholy alliance, following a well articulated script of treachery and intrigue, is once again attempting to subvert the wishes of the people of Uganda. For this unholy alliance, the current electoral process is not about elections. Elections are a façade for the alliance to attempt to enact an “Arab Spring” here at the Equator. Fortunately, the scheme has already fallen flat on its face. The Ugandan people shall – loudly, clearly and eloquently – consign the scheme into the dust bin of history, on 14th January 2020.
Who are the partners in the unholy alliance, in the grand scheme of the despoliation of Africa? There are essentially two groups. First, are forces and elements external to Mother Africa – who will do anything to subvert the regeneration and self- assertion of the African people. This group serve the interests that seek to maintain intact the 600 year old current world division of work and market – which is inherently weighted against the African people. This group believe the African people must forever remain objects of history – in peasant and enclave economies. We shall keep returning to this group in the coming weeks, and their geo-strategic and other material interests. For now, let us disabuse ourselves of the illusion that this group act because of altruism, or because they are some kind of “guarantors of democratic governance”. No. They are nothing of the kind. More, later.
The second group are offspring and representatives of our African flabby and fragmented political class, elite and intelligentsia – an inevitable product of peasant and enclave economy. Naturally, they have no sense of responsibility and allegiance to the states created by colonialism on the periphery of global capitalism. The group have imbibed a toxic, uncritical and eclectic blend of Fukuyama, Huntington, Friedman, Sachs, Stiglitz, etc. They are blind to the need for African people to crystallize revolutionary and patriotic liberating ideology. When we add to this their deep sociological roots in the peasantry, total ideological confusion becomes inevitable!
For this group, neo-liberal orthodoxy at the global level, is translated into a hotchpotch of pseudo-liberal development paradigms – which saps and inhibits their creative faculties and innovation towards socio-economic transformation.
A misguided loose-cannon fringe of the group is now attempting to take over its leadership – with the rest of the membership gleefully buying into the mirage of organizing an intifada (Arabic for uprising) in Uganda! The forlorn hope of this group is that our under employed youth shall provide the cannon fodder and foot soldiery for the madness! Amazing! The good news, as alluded to earlier, is that the project is still-born. More about the essential character of this group later. Suffice it for now to mention, that the loose-cannon fringe is a pawn or surrogate for the first group.
The two groups we have described above, are the two parties in the unholy alliance – in the grand scheme of the despoliation of Africa.
The unholy alliance is seeking to popularize a patently false narrative, which they have been weaving for more sometime – to provide an aura of “respectability and legitimacy” of their nefarious interests. The false narrative has two planks.
The first plank is that the NRM Government is deploying violence against innocent and peaceful campaigners in an election, or against innocent and peaceful demonstrators unhappy about this or that infringement on the “fundamental or inherent rights and freedoms”.
This plank, obviously, is self-serving – and amounts to a lot of baloney. The loose-cannon fringe of the second group announced a campaign of defiance, of non-co-operation … well before the Presidential Candidates’ nominations … They publicly announced their intention to enact “the Arab Spring” in Uganda … They publicly rejected the concept of “scientific campaign” as the only sensible mode of election campaign that should be held in face of the COVID-19 pandemic … in this they echoed the recklessness and irresponsibility of the leadership of some older states … The modus operand of the loose cannon fringe is gross provocation of the forces of law and order … the purpose is to create confrontation every day of the Campaign and hopefully usher in an intifada of sorts!
As the forces of law and order sort out the issue of “proportionate force” to calm down the carefully prepared and inebriated squads being thrown against them, they must be applauded for exercising extraordinary self-restraint in the face of clear threat to life and limb …
The skewed “violence” plank of the false narrative is choreographed with a related social media blitz, amplification of the false narrative in some legislatures abroad, amplification in United Nations system – ad infinitum, ad nasuem … Lately, a few diplomats accredited to this country have started commenting in such a manner as would suggest that they have been taken in by the false narrative … Fortunately, the truth will catch up with them – and set them free.
Let us conclude with a brief look at the second plank of the false narrative. The second plank talks of a “contest of generations” – youth against the “old generation”. The refrain is that it is time-up for the elders. They must give way to the “youth” … An old friend of mine the other day wrote about a “youth hurricane”!
We shall write separately about the discussion on the “youth bulge”, the ICT Revolution etc – and place them in clearer perspective. We shall, in effect, explain why the people of Uganda are going to unequivocally and overwhelmingly vote Yoweri Museveni and the NRM next month – and confound all the charlatans and prophets of doom.
For now, let us only lay out some philosophical parameters for an objective discussion on the social category “youth”. For purposes of this discussion, “youth” will include all those running against Yoweri Museveni for President – irrespective of their actual ages, including the amiable Mr. John Katumba (#Katumba Oyee!). We now quote extensively from a short paper we published five years ago under the title, “Inter-Generational Cohesion”:
“Today, we have chosen to flag a number of categories and concepts that indicate the central importance of ideological and political clarity in the struggle for transformation, rather than “generation differences”. The sequence is immaterial, and they can be re-arranged as the reader or researcher deems”.
“First, we must locate ourselves in the various classical schemas reflecting the movement of society and peoples from primitive or traditional society, to world capitalism. The specifics of how far along that journey each people or community have moved, defines our overall objective needs and requirements – not the different “generations”. It does not matter how young or old slaves are – all are slaves. Serfs in a feudal order are serfs, it does not matter how old each is”.
“Second, we must look deep into the prevalent mode of production, which is related to the immediately foregoing. How does a people or community produce and reproduce the means of sustenance and wealth? Who produces? Who appropriates the products of labour and surplus in such a community? The last two questions here, lead us straight to the social class composition of that society. These questions are more of fundamental import than who is older or younger than who”.
“Third, the role and position of ideology. Once we start dealing with the first two points above, we are moving into the realm of ideology, of critical thought, of a world view. Random and sporadic thoughts do not constitute ideology. Ideology denotes systematic, coherent and consistent appreciation of our reality, of our world. In the final analysis, ideology has nothing to do with how young or old we are. It has nothing to do with appreciating society at the much lower level of social psychology, i.e. of everyday experience.
Ideology, to emphasize, is extremely important for anybody seriously interested in the transformation of society. It is a class category reflecting definite socio-class interests. It reflects objective reality, concrete historical reality and, concrete historical tasks. Age is totally irrelevant here”.
“Four, is the question of the source of ideas, thought, norms and values. These, again, do not spring from how young or old we are. Thought and consciousness are products of the human brain, and man himself is a product of nature. Thought and consciousness therefore, develop along with their material environment. Sensation, thought and consciousness are the highest products of matter organized in a certain way. They are not the products of how young or old we are”.
“Five, we need to look at the concept of “New Democracy” – there are important lessons to be learned here – and none comes anywhere near generational war or conflict. The concept of “New Democracy” was postulated by Mao Zedong in his work “Whither China” (1940). It encapsulated governance which was neither bourgeois democracy, nor working class and peasant democracy.
“New Democracy” was anti-feudal, anti-imperialist, pro social progress and pro social justice. It envisaged a revolutionary democratic dictatorship of all patriotic forces, to enable society deal with its fundamental ills – especially when bedeviled by existence within the periphery of global capitalism. Jurisprudence and Law would serve the interests of the state of “New Democracy”, and not the other way round. Age, clearly, is an absolute irrelevance in this configuration”.
“Six, the central place and role of the National Liberation Movement in the organization of politics – rather than the classical political party – needs to be closely examined. The formations which go by the tag of “party” are actually nothing of the kind in reality. Deep down, all of these are largely peasant formations, with no distinct ideological identity. This is the epoch of broad fronts and movements, rather than the political party.
Now, this would not mean the absence of ideological clarity. Far from it. This is the epoch of national or new democratic ideology, which must seek dominance as a political line over the multifaceted peasant formations. The leadership of the struggle for socio-economic transformation at this point, comes from the revolutionary intelligentsia …”.
Writer is a Senior Presidential Advisor/Special Duties State House