By Morris DC Komakech
Militarise agriculture, education, rural economies, and breaking the spirit of the country
The Pope has decried the rampant conflicts in and around the world, calling it “piecemeal World war III”. War is not a game; it destroys lives and livelihoods, ravages homes, and stalls the very essence of humanity. Ugandans have experienced so many senseless wars with the same outcomes that they have become resistant to war-talk as an alternative of changing government. This is one aspect where rational and politically conscious individuals should applaud our opposition leaders who reject war talk.
The Pope can as well be right in his assessment that the world is experiencing piecemeal world War III. According to the Center for Systemic Peace, since 1946, there have been 331 episodes of armed conflicts around the world. Currently, there are 32 armed conflicts going on around the world. The US has launched 201 of the 331 wars and masterminded many others, according to reports in a 2012 Journal of Peace Research [49(4): 565-575].
Statistic shows that since the end of WWII in 1945, over 50 million people have been killed, tens made homeless and million others left with injuries and bereavement. In the history of warfare, the twentieth century has been accredited as the bloodiest. According to sources, three times more people have lost lives in wars in the last ninety (90) years than the previous five hundred years.
A quick entry into the databases of conflict for Sub-Sahara Africa shows that nearly every country is situated peripheral to a conflict zone and has high potential, itself of erupting into conflict. Currently there are conflicts in Central Africa Republic, Southern Sudan, Sudan (Darfur), Ethiopia, Mali (Sahel), and Somalia, Nigeria (both ethno-religious and the persisting Delta region). In every continent except Australia, there is some semblance of war going on.
Irrespective of the causes of these armed conflicts, the wars being fought in the world today may not be clear cut conventional World War type because the fronts have become diverse and complex, such as “terrorism”. However, the cumulative impacts of these wars have surpassed those of WWI and WWII. The magnitude of destruction, both in infrastructure and human race only reveal how we have become so adept at accumulating resources for destruction, rather than for advancing the human race.
The wars of our time have been fought majorly over resources and the control mechanism for its distribution. The wealthiest countries, which also have the capacity to manufacture weapons of mass destruction, and the legitimacy to deploy them, are also the fiercest proponents of capitalism and liberal idealism.
As a consequence, continents designated as resource rich are also permanently or frequently embroiled in armed conflicts.
Despite the resistant to war-talk as an alternative of changing government, President Yoweri Museveni continues to incubate conditions for potential armed conflict as a mode of repression.
There is a correlation between war, oppression, servitude, infirmary and poverty. Ironically, most of the countries that are rich in mineral resources are also the ones with some of the poorest populations who are oppressed and vulnerable to human trafficking and servitude.
It is important to understand the arguments advanced by the Uganda’s anti-war Opposition. They meticulously argue that changing governments by armed conflict does not necessarily guarantee infinite freedom and equality. If it did, Ugandans would not be stuck with President Museveni with all his Mambas and teargas on the streets to repress dissent.
The population should wake up to understand that comprehensive conditions of peace, tranquillity, and stability are a product of a Nation’s consciousness. These are requisite conditions for equitable resource distribution and accountability required for an equal nation to prevail.
President Museveni may be using the army to cling onto power. He may militarise agriculture, education, rural economies, and break the spirit of the country into pieces. However, the last sense of authority for legitimate change lies with the population and not war. I prophesy that the Museveni era will collapse without a shot when the population awakens.
Morris Komakech is a Ugandan Social Critic and Political Analyst based in Toronto, Canada. Can contact via [email protected]