Uganda’s Independence Day: Dedicate Yourself To Liberating Uganda From Dictator Museveni

Greetings sisters and brothers, comrades. This is Milton Allimadi, publisher of Black Star News and adjunct professor of African History at John Jay College here in New York City. I send Pan-African greetings to comrades in Africa and allover the diaspora.

Today I’d like to dedicate my comments to October 9, Uganda’s independence day celebration. On this occasion Ugandans commemorate this date in 1962 when the country won formal independence from Great Britain. Now many people may wonder why would Ugandans want to celebrate independence given that Uganda has been governed by this dictator of the last 34 years now, General Yoweri Museveni, one of the most brutal and corrupt rulers we’ve ever seen in Africa, who is supported by the West by the way?

In the last 34 years alone he’s received almost $30 billion if not more by the United States government alone, and just recently in May of this year received almost $500 million in an IMF loan, which is supposed to be going to Covid19 relief, although many Ugandans says they’ve not seen any relief at all even in terms of basic food to sustain people that are undergoing hardship right now. And of course when you give a loan to Uganda the loan is actually going to General Museveni because when it comes to government and governance it’s a one-man show in Uganda. So Ugandans know that a lot of this money is going to be diverted toward his election campaign in the 2021 vote. So you may ask yourself what is there to celebrate? Well I’d like Ugandans to take a different approach. Use October 9, as a day where you rededicate yourself, recommit yourself to fighting to remove dictatorship in Uganda, by making sure you support the opposition. Do everything in your power, to support the opposition, to remove the dictator in next year’s election. And the good thing is Uganda’s constitution, and if you’re not aware please do make sure you read the constitution, Uganda’s constitution allows for the removal of dictatorship. So it’s not only the election alone, which of course is the process, but as many Ugandans suspect, he will steal the elections just like he stole it multiple times when Dr. Kizza Besigye defeated him at the polls, he simply refused to yield power. So there is a question, will he yield power if the opposition, which includes the leading candidate Bobi Wine, which includes a candidate Mugisha Muntu a retired general from the Alliance for National Transformation, and the Forum for Democratic Change is also running. And of course, even while he’s announced that he will not be a candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye is the senior elder statesman of Uganda’s opposition politics and he will definitely play a very critical role when the opposition come together to defeat this dictator. So that’s only one part. Even if he does not yield power, we in the diaspora will mobilize and we will continue to agitate and to put pressure on the Western governments and the financial institutions not to support this tyrant, to support all the active Ugandans on the streets in Uganda.

So very briefly let’s assess the post-independence experience in Africa to see why many Africans have this common problem and challenge. You see when the Europeans negotiated their exit from formal colonial rule in Africa, what they did was quite smart. They allowed for formal paper independence but the economic structures that set up the colonial regime was left intact. So you know when the Europeans met in the Berlin Conference from November 15, 1884 to February 26, 1885 to partition Africa, as King Leopold of the Belgians said “I’m determined to get my slice of this magnificent African cake.” So they sliced up the African continent, Britain got some parts, France got some parts, Belgium got some parts, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, the African continent was thoroughly partitioned, and primarily this is what the colonial regime was all about: To secure reliable source of raw materials for Europe’s factories; to seize the land and to produce commodities, ship to Europe; and, also to secure permanent markets for the manufactured products in Africa.

So that was 1884, but when we look today in the 21st century, that structure still maintains. So Africa remains producing primary commodities, sold to Europe and now to China of course, and to the United States, and these industrial countries then export manufactures to African countries that Africans purchase at a much, much inflated price. So obviously if this structure, if this equation is maintained, if it’s not changed, it means Africa will continue to become much more impoverished as the industrial countries continue to become much, much, more wealthy, taking advantage of Africa’s resources.

Africa has been losing out. Many countries have been de-industrializing meaning they are less industrialized than they were in the 1960s. Africa has lost out on its trade share, global share. In the 1960s Africa’s share was about 5.5%, today it is 2.5%. So this dynamic is not tenable at all. There will be chaotic uprisings and civil unrest in African countries as these economies fail to absorb young people in the economy or to create new jobs. That is why it is imperative to remove dictators like General Yoweri Museveni who simply serve the interest of the West. It’s almost like the Europeans removed the European colonial governors and then instituted dictators like General Museveni, who fulfill the wishes of the Western interests.

So that’s why it’s imperative to remove such leaders from Africa so that Africans can set up governments that promote industrialization in Africa, using Africa’s resources to create value added processes, to build factories, and start exporting manufactured products so that Africa can really compete with the rest of the world. And it can be done. In 1959 Ghana’s per capita income was higher than China’s, but look at where China is today. China is an industrialized country, it’s emerged as a super power because the outside world is not dictating how China operates its economy, and certainly not going to extract China’s resources to benefit the West and to build up their wealth, as they used to do before China took control of its destiny. Which is precisely what Africa, every African country, needs to do. And of course today I’m dedicating this comment to Uganda so I urge people in Uganda, continue doing the job on the ground and we in diaspora will also do our utmost best to put pressure on these Western institutions and governments to stop supporting dictator General Yoweri Museveni, and we will succeed.

So yes, you may ask yourself “Why celebrate independence when there’s not much to celebrate given the conditions people are going through the covid19 pandemic?” But there is always a better tomorrow. Uganda is blessed with abundant natural resources, just like most African countries are. So it just means we have to get our politics together and have the right type of leadership in Uganda and elsewhere in Africa. And, it’s quite possible that the next century will become the African century.

Peace and blessing comrades. Stay strong. Stay committed. Stay dedicated and Uganda shall be free.