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Besigye, war lordism, and Museveni

By Yoga Adhola

Fixation on removing Museveni from power confirms FDC as a one-agenda party

While I have always believed that FDC is a one-agenda party, I had never got the evidence to speak out; however, on July 7, The Daily Monitor published the evidence. In an article, “I will retire after uprooting the warlords–Besigye” none other than Dr Besigye himself is reported to have said: “The entire adult life I have had has been in a struggle…My struggle as a person, which obviously coincides with our struggle as a party and as a people of Uganda, is about ending warlordism, where power is controlled by a few people relying on guns”.

Unless the warlords are toppled, Dr Besigye said, he was not about to retire from political struggle. “Having spent my entire adult life doing that, I will not retire from the struggle until that is achieved. That is the heart of what I can never turn away from…..”

This statement is crystal clear. As far as Dr Besigye is concerned the only problem Uganda has and which should be struggled against is the Museveni regime. Once the Museveni regime is dislodged then he is to retire. By implication, when the removal of the Museveni regime is done; we should all retire from political struggles.

I would like to suggest to Dr Besigye that Uganda has more problems than simply the removal of Museveni. In the first place Dr Besigye needs to know that the object of colonisation was to impose the capitalist mode of production in the area that became Uganda. The imposition of the capitalist mode of production introduced new social classes as well as new social dynamics. The imposition of the capitalist mode of production also linked the Uganda economy to the worldwide capitalist system.

The independence we got in 1962 did not end the linkage of the Ugandan economy to the worldwide capitalist system. What happened in 1962 is that Uganda was transformed from being a colony to becoming a neo-colony.

The term “neo-colonialism” gained popular usage in reference to the continued European economic and cultural control of African countries that had been decolonsed in the aftermath of the Second World War (1939–45).

It was Kwame Nkrumah, president of Ghana (1960–66), who coined the term “neo-colonialism,” which appeared in the 1963 preamble of the Organisation of African States Charter and was the title of his 1965 book Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism(1965).

Nkrumah theoretically developed and extended, to the post–War 20th century, the socio-economic and political arguments presented by Lenin in the pamphlet, “Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism” (1917), about 19th-century imperialism as the logical extension of geopolitical power to meet the financial investment needs of the political economy of capitalism.

In his book “Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism”, Kwame Nkrumah writes: “Once a territory has become nominally independent it is no longer possible, as it was in the last century, to reverse the process. Existing colonies may linger on, but no new colonies will be created. In place of colonialism as the main instrument of imperialism we have today neo-colonialism.

The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State, which is subject to it, is in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.”

It is for this reason that UPC has always made it clear it is in struggle against neo-colonialism.

The other thing which Dr Besigye does not realise is that Independence was just a threshold opening the door for further struggles. Over 200 years ago, Frederick Engels wrote: “So long as a viable nation is fettered by an alien conqueror, it necessarily directs all its efforts, all its aspirations and all its energy against the external enemy; so long as its internal life is paralysed in this way, it is incapable of fighting for social emancipation.” (Engels, F. 1869; also quoted in Brutents, K.N 1977:168)

The kind of emancipation Uganda was poised for is national-democratic liberation.  By national-democratic liberation it is meant the changes that not only remove colonial obstacles, but also lay important premises for socio-economic development. These changes also remove oppressive situations which developed both before and after colonisation.


Yoga Adhola is a leading ideologue of UPC and a former Editor-in-Chief of its paper, The People

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