MUSEVENI: Uganda is ready for takeoff


Countrymen and Country Women,

The NRM is presenting to you a Manifesto for the period of 2021-2026.  This Manifesto builds on the big successes of the NRM ever since 1965 when we formed a Student Movement, on the basis of new principles, having come out of the old Political Parties of DP, UPC and Kabakka Yekka, that were based on sectarianism of religion, tribe and gender chauvinism.

Over the years, this Student Movement, came to understand the long journey of 4½ million years of the human race, on this Earth, as well as Africa’s position in that long journey.

In the speech I gave to the Conference in Namboole on the 25th of January, 2020, I pointed out to the country how the human being, initially only living in Africa until about 100,000 years ago, used his unique characteristics of his big brain, a hand that can shape things by holding and working and his bi-pedalism (walking on two legs), to make tools (stone, hammer, chisel, etc.) and use those tools to do work for purposes of producing or catching food (hunting, fishing, agriculture) and improving his quality of life.  In that effort, he was assisted by the continuous discovery of new technologies that used the laws of nature to assist production (the invention of fire 1.5million years ago, iron in the year 1200 BC etc.).  These continuous discoveries changed the way of living of man and the way he was producing wealth and food or he was catching food (hunting, fishing).  The invention of fire enabled man to descend from the trees and live in caves; enabled people to cook (kuteeka), roast (kwootsya), kukara (dry on fire), kutarika (grilling, to smoke), kujumbika (earth-oven, cooking pit), rather than eating the food raw (kukoota, kumeketa); and, eventually, enabled man to get the hard metal of iron (ekyooma) out of the iron ore, a rock or soil, known as obutare.

This ability of man to discover new technologies, reached a watershed point (a revolutionary boundary point) in the year 1440, when a German man by the names of Johannes Gutenburg, invented a Printing Press.  Most of the previous tools were powered by human muscle.  However, the Printing Press used technology of a screw press.  In the year 1698, Thomas Savery, a person from England, invented the water pump that was being powered by condensing steam.  Eventually, by the year 1812-1813, the water pump technology, was developed into the steam-engine technology that, started pulling trains.  This change by part of the human race from the use of the muscle-power to machine power, came to be known as the Industrial Revolution  the first Industrial Revolution. The second Industrial Revolution was the invention of electricity and the third one was the automation of machines.  The human race, is now entering the 4th Industrial Revolution of Artificial Intelligence, machines that have got artificial brains.

This is great for the human race.  However, the problem is that Africa, the pioneer of civilization, the origin of the human race, had missed out on these water-shed phenomena.  Why?  Two reasons.  The first, the failure by our indigenous rulers to detect the new danger of Europeans that broke out of Western Europe, blocked by the Ottoman Turks that captured Constantinople (Istanbul) in the year 1453 AD, when they started looking for a Sea route to the East (Asia) to replace the Marco-Polo land route that had been blocked by the Turks.  These chiefs, failed to unite us to fight this new danger.  Instead, putting on leopard and lion skins, pretending to be those animals in courage, they were busy fighting one another.

Secondly, at the very moment new inventions were being made in Europe and China, Africa came under assault by these new arrivals, starting with the bombardment of Mombasa by Vasco Da Gama on the 7th of April 1498, on his way to India.  Indeed, the first slaves were taken from Sierra Leone in the year 1652.  By 1862, when the first European arrived in Uganda, Uganda was still a three class society of farmers (livestock and crops) and fishermen, Artisans (black smiths, carpenters, banogoozi – ceramics, bashakiizi – herbalists, bakomagyi – bark cloth makers etc.) and the feudal rulers.  The Europeans had used the 400 years since Columbus and Vasco Da Gama, to advance in Science (the steam engine, quinine etc.) and military technology (breech-loaders and the maxim machine gun).

Our chiefs, had misused the 400 years, fighting one another; but the Europeans, had used those 400 years to discover answers to our only reliable defenders: the long-distances of Africa and its jungle, rivers and forests; the mosquitoes and the tsetse flies; and the ferocious-tribesmen, but poorly led by the chiefs, poorly armed and isolated from one another by the same myopic chiefs but also by the difficult terrain.

By 1900, the Conquest of the whole of Africa was complete, except for Ethiopia.  As I have told Ugandans repeatedly, this conquest of Africa was potentially fatal.  Many of the other Peoples that were conquered, never survived.  The Red Indians of North America, the Aztecs of Mexico, the Incas of Peru, the Indians of Bolivia, the Indians of Brazil, the Caribes of the Caribbean, the Aborigines of Australia, the Maoris of New-Zealand, etc.  Many of these groups were either exterminated or are still greatly marginalized.  Their languages and cultures were replaced by European languages and cultures.  The languages in use now in those lands are: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French and not the indigenous languages of those peoples.

By the 1950s, part of Kenya was being called the “White Highlands”.  South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia were being paraded around as White Countries.  Angola, Mozambique, Guinnea Bissau and Cape Verde and Sao Tome were “Overseas Provinces of Portugal”.  The complicating and redeeming factor in Africa were the genes of the Africans and the advanced civilization of Africa.  We could not easily die because our cattle, goats, chicken, that stayed with us in our huts, had long inoculated us against the zoonotic diseases.  We, therefore, survived in spite of the slave trade, the genocide, the colonial wars, the hard labour etc.

When we, therefore, met at Igongo as CEC on the 23rd of December, 2018, I proposed to CEC in the Paper I presented, that while addressing the issues of Uganda’s Political – Social – Economic metamorphosis, we should ask the following questions:

  • How was Uganda’s economy in 1900?
  • How was it in 1962-1971?
  • How was the economy in 1986?
  • How is it now?
  • Where do we intend to take it?  And what stimuli shall we use to achieve our goals?

This way of erecting milestones, can help us discipline the discussion.  The Manifesto is a voluminous and comprehensive document that has dealt with these questions following my proposal to them.  I thank the Manifesto Committee so much that was led by Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu.

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