In his response to Mr. Odrek’s missive about Africa’s Strongmen, Mr. David Mafabi credits Rwabwogo for contributing to Ideological Confusion, a compliment well deserved since in the spate of about 2 years he (Rwabwogo) has come to be known as “Mr. Ideology” due to his lectures on NRM Ideology around the country.
Mafabi in his rebuttal ignores the most important issues raised by Rwabwogo on institution building and political transition but rather criticizes the scholarly deficiencies therein. However, the rebuttal provides a thesis in analyzing the origin of ideological confusion in NRM vis-à-vis his recommendation for enhanced Democratic centralism in the Movement. In this article we shall address our minds to these critical areas.
Origin of Ideological Confusion
In the days of what he calls “Era of Political Awakening” Museveni espoused principles of Marxism. His world outlook was influenced by the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels on dialectical materialism. He received his military training from North Koreans and Cubans not to mention that his first firearm was given to him by the Cubans “who claimed it had been sent to me by Fidel Castro”. His political acquaintances included Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Walter Rodney and Samora Machel who were sworn socialists.
Upon capturing power Museveni inherited a very rotten economy which forced him to abandon his Marxist ideals and embraced the neoliberal structural adjustments advocated by the imperialistic Bretton Wood institutions (World Bank and IMF) making Uganda a purely capitalist economy.
In a bid to distance themselves from the evils of capitalism which would cast the ruling class in a bad light as blood sucking vampires, the lecturers of Ideology, Mafabi and Rwabwogo inclusive, set out to hoodwink the emerging political elite within the Movement that Uganda is an ” Enclave economy ” with slogans like “We are neither Pro-west nor Pro-east but Pro-ourselves”. Never mind that the term “enclave economy ” in the context of Uganda even fails the prima facie test.
Is this ideological confusion a qualifier for Fukuyama or Daniel Bell’s “End of Ideology? That’s a subject for another debate!
Internal democracy and Democratic centralism
We have witnessed leadership positions being ring-fenced (Arguably the motivation behind Rwabwogo’s loss of faith in the system), the Movement constitution being altered to suit the Chairman’s desire to appoint the Secretariat, one would not help but smile inwardly at the mention of internal democracy in NRM.
In his conclusion Mafabi recommends that ” The Movement leadership should move more decisively in the direction of Democratic centralism… ” Mafabi deliberately uses the term “Movement” not “Party” because he knows NRM doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of a contemporary political party keeping in mind that Multiparty politics were imposed, just like SAPs, on Uganda by the same predatory Bretton Wood institutions.
Nonetheless, let us examine the notion of Democratic centralism as adopted by The 6th Convention of the Bolsheviks in 1917. It was defined to entail the following;
1- That all directing bodies of the party, from top to bottom, shall be elected;
2- That the party bodies shall give periodical accounts of their activities to their respective party organizations;
3- That there shall be strict discipline and subordination of minority to the majority;
4- That all decisions of higher bodies shall be absolutely binding on lower bodies and on all party members.
Mafabi’s argument is premised on the 3rd and 4th principles with total disregard to the 1st and the 2nd which are nonexistent in NRM
In conclusion therefore we argue that unless the 1st and 2nd principles are adhered to, a party member like Rwabwogo is relieved of his duty to tow the “party line” since all there seems to be is the Chairman’s line.
Gaddafi Nassur, Chairman NRM Youth League and CEC Member.
Ian Gumisiriza Jeremiah, Movement Cadre.