While reading through books in my “library”, looking through and reading again Franz Fanon for inspiration and for enlightenment. There was two paragraphs that was fitting Uganda in 2017. It was like explaining the state of the National Resistance Movement. It was like he painted the picture and shown the reality in the flesh. That his visions of 1960s, could still be the same today, with no changes, but with the same attitudes and the same state of affairs.
What is special about this is that while in University in Dar Es Salaam, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni wrote with Fanon in mind in his thesis there. Therefore, he would have read this in the past, but has forgotten the knowledge of the wise-man and intellectual. Fanon is perfectly saying what we all are seing today, nothing seems to be left out. Unless, you have the newly minted taxes and the rising debt made by the elite.
However, here is the part I felt was really like today:
“In these poor, underdeveloped countries where, according to the rule, enormous wealth rubs shoulders with abject poverty, the army and the police force form the pillars of the regime; both of which, in accordance with another rule, are advised by foreign experts. The strength of this police force this army are proportional to marasmus the rest the nation. The national bourgeoisie sells creasingly openly to the major foreign companies. Foreigners grab concessions through kickbacks, scandals abound, ministers rich, their wives become floozies, members of the legislature line their pockets, and everybody, down to police officers and customs officials, joins hands in this huge caravan of corruption. The opposition becomes more aggressive and the people arc to latch on to its propaganda. Hostility toward the bourgeoisie is now manifest. The young bourgeoisie, which seems stricken by premature senility, ignores the advice proffered proves incapable of understanding that it is in its own interest to veil, even slightly, its exploitation of the people” (Frantz Fanon – ‘The Wretched of the Earth, P: 117, 1961).
“The state, which by its strength and discretion ought to inspire confidence and disarm and lull everybody to sleep, on the contrary seeks to impose itself in spectacular fashion. It makes a display, it jostles people and bullies them, thus intimating to the citizen that he is in continual danger. The single party is the modern form of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, unmasked, unpainted, unscrupulous, and cynical” (Frantz Fanon – ‘The Wretched of the Earth, P: 164, 1961).
If this wasn’t like reading about the Ugandan experience in 2018, I don’t know, but I felt like it. All the reports, all the news and the state of the NRM. The army and Police force is the pillars of the NRM, not the popularity, neither is the fight against poverty in the midst of vast wealth for the elites. That are also involved with foreign money and exports, that is not interconnected with the whole economy, therefore, the riches are getting vast amount of money, while the trickling down isn’t appearing. Also, the knowledge of ministers, MPs and elites acting with corrupt behavior and misusing state funds is common, as long as the State House is on it too and get their cut. Therefore, Fanon is like mirroring the experience of 2018. This is something he wrote in the 1960s, maybe a bit earlier. But published the first time in 1961. Still relevant today and should he warning. That some things doesn’t change.
Fanon can paint a picture of the NRM of 2018. He does it 57 years ago. And its still viable and shows the reality of what the President delivers in Uganda. The Republic is a disgrace, all the empty pledges and promises from 1986. Just like the President wrote in his own thesis in 1971:
“It is the work of the most conscious activists to arouse the masses, raise their political consciousness and give them a vision of a better future and the knowledge and will to oppose existing exploitation by all future means. It is incumbent on the activists to make the oppressed people realise the latent capacity in them to smash the centuries-old exploitation and become masters and beneficiaries of their labor. It is only through raising the consciousness of the masses that the subjective conditions for a revolution will be created” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni – ‘Fanon’s Theory on Violence: Its verification in liberated Mozambique’ 1971).
So now he has become the man that oppress, the man that exploits the Republic and are the man behind the elites and corruption that Fanon says underdeveloped nations have. His description is straight out of the NRM of today and their actions towards the public. The use of the police and army to keep grips, while eating of the public plate. That is why the worlds of rebellion and activism from the President is also relevant as he was studying Fanon himself in 1971. A decade after Fanon published the book, which of both of us has taken pieces from.
Uganda needs a better vision for the future, but the guidance cannot be by Museveni. He has forgotten the knowledge and wisdom Fanon had. Museveni has forgotten the tales of rebellion and the tales of resistance, therefore, he has used the army and police to oppose defiance. That is because Museveni has forgotten the reasons why revolutions are created. No one knows when that could happen, when that could spark, but the lack of delivery, the lack of governance and institutions, will sooner or later explode in his face.
No matter how great his police and army is, because you can detain a dozens of activists, but you cannot keep the whole people hostage. You cannot do that, you cannot stop a revolution. You can try, but if it really appears. Then the shallow organizations in and around the NRM will fall. That is because oppressed understood their power that they had latent and could use to topple Museveni. Peace.