OPINION: The Movement Will Survive M7-Amama Contest

Amama (L) during his interview with BBC's Allan Kasujja last week
Amama (L) during his interview with BBC’s Allan Kasujja last week

“Through this the well-beloved Brutus stabb’d;

And as he pluck’d his cursed steel away,

Mark how the blood of Caesar follow’d it,

As rushing out of doors, to be resolved

If Brutus so unkindly knock’d, or no;

For Brutus, as you know, was Caesar’s angel:


Judge, O you gods, how dearly Caesar loved him!

This was the unkindest cut of all;


Mark Antony speaks to the crowds in Rome and shows them Caesar’s body, after the assassination of the latter by Brutus and others – in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”.


Listening to the BBC on Friday morning, I was stunned by two statements I heard the former Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi make in an interview with Mr. Allan Kassujja. The first was that “everybody in Uganda knows” that President Museveni takes credit for all successes, but blames everybody for all weaknesses. Second, that in all the time he has been in Government, Rt. Hon. Mbabazi has “had no authority” to effect policy and other changes he would have desired.


The reader will have to bear with me, because in this article I may come across as quite personal. It cannot be otherwise, because for almost a decade I have been privileged to work very closely with Rt. Hon. Mbabazi. I have had the greatest respect for him, his hard work, and clear commitment to patriotic and pan Africanist values. At a more personal value, my family has benefitted from his immense support in difficult circumstances and times of sorrow. It has been therefore, extremely painful, to watch the rift between him and our revolutionary leader Yoweri Museveni, grow and widen to where it is today.


Most painful, is the inescapable conclusion after repeatedly perusing Rt. Hon. Mbabazi’s public statements over the last few days, that there is absolutely no revolutionary, ideological or philosophical justification for his decision to challenge his comrade-in-arms Yoweri Museveni, for the leadership of the movement. While the movement will inevitably survive this “contest”, it is completely unnecessary, and removes the focus from the discharge of the central national and historical tasks of the day.


Here is why there is absolutely no justification for the latest political moves by Rt. Hon. Mbabazi. First. Rt. Hon. Mbabazi understands very well the nature and character of national liberation movements – which are not yet parties in the strict sense of the world. The founder leadership of such revolutionary formations is never elected in the formal sense – it simply emerges. Even when the movement takes on the external appearance of a political organization, it remains in essence a multi-ideological, multi-interest formation – where the majority membership is motivated by social psychology or every day experience, not ideological conviction.


Yes, there objectively has to be a dominant political line is such a formation – in the case of the movement, the line represented by Yoweri Museveni since the 1960s. Amama Mbabazi and others have preserved that line of struggle since the 1970s. They should therefore understand that it cannot be jettisoned without causing an implosion of the movement. Discussion about “internal democracy” has to be mediated by a scientific comprehension of this defining reality.


Second. The statements of Compatriot Mbabazi, explicitly suggest that his comrade-in-arms Yoweri Museveni has no comprehension of the demands of “modernity”. This is a gross distortion of the truth, and extremely unfair to President Museveni – yet, the extreme opposite is true! Compatriot Mbabazi in his letter to President Museveni opines: “A number of those in the leadership reject various facets of 21st Century modernity …. The undeniable reality is this: a new age is upon us and it demands three things. The first is an awareness of its existence …”


Even a cursory glance at any of President Museveni’s major statements, writings, etc, over the last 40 years gives the lie to the Mbabazi appreciation above! Under the guidance and leadership of President Museveni, Uganda is now at the stage of consolidating the pre-conditions for take-off, after the movement ensuring minimum recovery.


Borrowing the W.W. Rostow’s development model as an analytical framework, for example, this means alongside a significant existence of subsistence agriculture (traditional society) elements of pre-conditions for take-off (technology spread, individual mobility, an emergent export base) and elements of the take-off stage (urbanization, and a shift to the secondary and service economy) all exist side by side. Equally significant, through the benefits of the ICT Revolution, elements of the drive to maturity and high mass consumption stages, are already present.

There is no doubt that Uganda is going to become a first world country in the next two generations – after becoming a middle income country in the next few years. After achieving an average of annual economic growth of 7% over the last two (2) decades, the threshold has been set for double-digit economic growth – which shall be sustained over the next two (2) decades. Moreover, Uganda is now in an unstoppable advance towards an oil and gas economy.


We are now going to usher in, in an unprecedented manner: agro-related industry (e.g. refrigeration and containerization); metallurgy; machine tool production; machine building; cybernetics/electronics; chemical industry; transport industry; aviation industry; defence industry; etc. It should therefore be reasonably clear why energy, roads and infrastructure must continue being the priority of priorities in the foreseeable future. Confusion on this point would have fatal consequences for our political economy.


Yoweri Museveni is absolutely clear about this process of socio-economic and political mutation, and is carefully guiding it. He is eternally youthful ideologically, and therefore his is leadership of: the 21st Century; the ICT Revolution; the Nuclear Age; the Space Age; the Digital Age. Critical, amidst all this, he works to preserve the best interests of the Ugandan and African people in the face of a predatory globalization – unlike many pseudo-liberalist pretenders to the leadership of our people.


Third. Any discussion of “fairness in salaries”, dealing with the “scourge of unemployment”, “education”, “healthcare”, “public service” etc – outside the overall movement of the economy outlined immediately above, is not particularly useful and is unfortunately populist. That is the cul de sac that ends up in adventurist projects of “democratizing poverty” – a manifesto to “let’s be poor together”! The point is that we must first grow the economy, before we attain a meaningful possibility of re-distribution.





  1. David Mafabi

Private Secretary/Political Affairs, State House


Subscribe for notification