Why it’s time for Ugandans to call Museveni’s bluff

Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso whose attempts to extend term limits were thwarted by peoples power.
Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso whose attempts to extend term limits were thwarted by peoples power.

Evidence from all parts of Africa points to the need for numerous forms of political struggles to empower the most oppressed sections of the people. Evidence from the Egyptian uprisings in 2011 exposed the need for clarity and organizational depth to oppose presidents who want to impose their sons on society. More recently, the peoples of Burkina Faso showed the way by mobilizing in popular worker struggles to remove Blaise Compaoré who wanted to extend himself in power. Civic rebellion along with electoral struggles had taught the people of Burkina Faso not to depend on one mode of struggle. Ugandan workers and poor farmers are demanding change, but so far the traditional opposition parties have failed to present a project that could find support among the most oppressed. Kizza Besigye has persevered over the past 15 years, but his horizons are limited to his understanding of the future dependence on western forces.

Uganda is a very rich country with well-watered lands and massive biologic resources. The discovery of large amounts of fossil fuel, estimated at 6.5 billion oil barrels, has made this election tremendously significant for the future of the society. Secrecy surrounds the agreements about production and the future plans of an oil refinery in Uganda have proceeded without the establishment of the technical infrastructure for petroleum products to have a multiplier effect in the economy. Yoweri Museveni has promised to go back to guerilla warfare if he is not in control of these massive resources. It was reported in December 2015 that while speaking at Namutamba District, he said: “Then you hear people say ‘Museveni should go’. But go and leave oil money? They want me to go so they can come and spoil the oil money. These people want me to go back to the bush.”

It is time for Ugandans to call his bluff. Progressive Pan-Africanists must oppose the thuggery of the NRM in this electoral contest.

Horace Campbell is Professor of African American Studies and Political Science, Syracuse University. Campbell is also the Special Invited Professor of International Relations at Tsinghua University, Beijing. He is the author of Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa in the Forging of African Unity, Monthly Review Press.

By courtesy of Pambazuka News

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