Africa-Press – Uganda. On September 17, the NRM launched what it calls “ideological clinics.” These are weekly lectures, the purpose of which the deputy secretary general of NRM gave as “to cause interaction between NRM young supporters and party historicals who have lived to witness NRM’s historical context, transformation and evolution from the 1960s to date.”
The first historical to address the gathering was Gen Kahinda Otafiire, the minister of Internal Affairs. The minister said some very strange and unpalatable things about the NRM. He even predicted a bleak future for the NRM.
“The NRM of 1986 and the NRM now are not the same. If the two were to meet, they wouldn’t recognise each other.
There are many things that as pioneers we believed in and held dear but have now changed,” Gen Otafiire was quoted as saying by NilePost last week.
For the benefit of full closure, I was a member of the first phase of Fronasa in the 1970s. Gen Otafiire belonged to the second phase. I left Fronasa because I felt the political line it was taking was erroneous.
The group wanted to bring about a revolution without any preparation. Vladimir Lenin had taught that a revolution cannot occur without the subjective as well as the objective conditions.
The objective conditions are the hardships which can cause people to revolt. Subjective conditions are the level of politicisation as well as organisations to sustain revolutionary struggles.
It was in the context of all these inadequacies that Mr Museveni launched his struggle for revolution. As he had not prepared ground for revolution, he co-opted the forces of social banditry to fight for him.
And so when the NRA stumbled into power in 1986, it did not have the subjective conditions to launch the real revolution. It is, therefore, not correct for Otafiire to claim that when they came out of the bush they had an ideology.
What they had for ideology was a set of illusions. These illusions began to be shed after they got to power and came face to face with reality. It is this shading off illusions that people like Otafiire talk of veering off course.
A good example is their dealing with the World Bank and IMF.
Before they came to power they castigated former president Milton Obote for dealing with the two institutions. They were doing this out of ignorance as to how the international financial system operates. They did not realise that peripheral economies like that of Uganda are ultimately run by the two institutions.
We have it from Mr Tumusiime-Mutebile who later became Governor of the Bank of Uganda and one of those who persuaded Mr Museveni out of his illusion. Mutebile wrote in an article, ‘Institutional and Political Dimensions of Economic Reforms’ published in a collection of articles titled Uganda’s Economic Reforms: Insider Accounts:
“Several months after he came to power, when a Cabinet memorandum recommended the continuation of some of the IMF/World Bank supported economic stabilisation measures initiated under Obote, President Museveni was furious.
He said that he could not be expected to implement the very policies that he criticised in the 10-Point Programme, which he had written to guide the NRM in the struggle to overthrow Obote.”
It is clear that when Mr Museveni stumbled in power in 1986, he had no clue that peripheral capitalist economies are run by the IMF and World Bank. Museveni was to hit a brick wall in May 1987 when Uganda announced a budget that contradicted the IMF agreed package.
From that point Mr Museveni swung away from the infantile left wing ideas. He has, however, never told anybody of these changes and most NRMs are not aware of these changes. This is what NRMs like Otafiire call veering from the position the party held. There is no return to what Otafiire calls the original ideology. That original ideology was nothing but an illusion.
Yoga Adhola is a leading ideologue of UPC