- The very low wages of those workers who have lost their rights to collective bargaining. 2. The impact of privatization of the economy and the retrenchment of over half a million workers adding to the ranks of the unemployed.
- Liberalization of the cash crop sector and lower returns to the poor peasantry.
- Increased unemployment of school leavers, along with high levels of under-employment. 5. The disarray of the provision of social services, especially in the areas of health delivery and the appalling state of public hospitals and clinics.
- Declining standards and conditions of education – massive dropout rates and the lack of resources for the creation of jobs.
- Political thuggery by the ruling elements.
- Uncertainty about future of the management of the recently discovered petroleum resources. 9. The deployment of paramilitary forces, especially the so-called crime preventers, to intimidate citizens and
- The future of the Museveni family in the future political processes.
There are numerous other issues confronting Ugandans in this election, but this author has decided to highlight these ten points. Other East African news outlets have identified issues in the elections but these sources have studiously avoided questions of the health and safety of the working poor of Uganda.
Many of the reports of the technical details of the deficiencies of the machinery to supervise elections have pointed to the overwhelming control of the electoral commission by the ruling NRM. Museveni has mastered the art of guaranteeing the elections as a formality since 2001 and rigged elections in Uganda has been a textbook example of procedural democracy. This is the form of democracy where the ruling elements merely go through the motions of organizing elections with structures and institutions but in reality do everything to undermine the true expression of the free will of the people. Western ‘democratic’ agencies have been willing supporters of this form of duplicity in Uganda because Museveni has been a core partner in the global ‘war on terror.’
Not only was Uganda a veritable laboratory for the western imperial forces, but President Museveni and the NRM decided very early to subcontract the Ugandan army in the service of the most conservative sections of global capital. Hence, while the IMF was implementing its onerous medicine on the Ugandan peoples, the imperial forces were lavishing praises on the stability of Uganda and the role of Uganda as a peacekeeper in Somalia. The US military undertook the support and training of the Ugandan military forces subcontracted to the Pentagon while Ugandan private military contractors willingly sent young Ugandans to serve for the United States in Iraq. In this mix of militarism and procedural democracy, the western forces deployed hundreds of international non-governmental organizations to Uganda. Rural hospitals were parceled out to competing religious formations from North America and Western Europe.
Evidence of the work of some of these organizations came to the fore in 2012 when an organization calling itself ‘Invisible Children’ launched an exercise in mind control called Kony 2012. This so-called NGO carried out an ‘experiment’ on how to mobilize the youth internationally to support the US military and their work in Uganda. The pretext of the Uganda government was that this effort by the Pentagon and the NGO was part of a wider plan to capture Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), but by the time Invisible Children had rolled out their plan, Kony had been ensconced in the Central African Republic for many years. Alongside the international NGOs in Uganda were tens of the most conservative elements of the Christian fundamentalist forces in the United States. These fundamentalists were sufficiently influential to support those elements in Uganda who offered legislation to kill same-gender loving persons. The tabling of a stringent anti-homosexuality legislation and its subsequent passage brought the conservatism of the Ugandan leadership into full international glare. The same Museveni government that championed this anti-homosexuality push later expended over $200,000 seeking to bolster his image after the negative responses to the atrocious human rights positions. http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Uganda-US-PR-clean-anti-gay-bill/-/688334/2665112/-/egpjctz/-/index.html
To be concluded tomorrow
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, New York 2013.
By courtesy of Pambazuka News