By Edwin Muhumuza
Prof. Yash Tandon , a professed socialist has said a mix of maxism and socialism is key to solving Uganda’s economic and political challenges which he attributes to a well – engineered ploy by the west to keep Uganda poor. He made the remarks as he launched his book titled “Common People’s Uganda” .
The book is a Marxist-socialist manifesto that he presents to Uganda as a solution to the current socio-economic and political challenges especially the widening gap between the rich and the poor.According to Prof. Yash Tandon, Ugandans need a national dialogue uniting all political forces, through which, President Museveni should prepare to hand over power to the young generation.
He however, urges Ugandans not look at Museveni as the chief enemy, saying the enemy is neo-liberalism engineered by western institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Trade Organisation (WTO) among others, which have captured Uganda specifically and Africa in general.
‘’Uganda Neoliberal policy makers in Uganda are in denial about two things. One is a reluctance to look at imperialism in the face, and acknowledge that the capitalist-imperialist system of production and wealth distribution is inherently and fundamentally flawed. And the second is that left to the so-called ‘free market’, the system not only divides people between the rich and the poor but further compounds this division over time because the market rewards the rich and penalises the poor.’’
A united Uganda, he argues is what is needed to fight western imperialism. He also argues that political leaders should unite to broach a socialist vision that works for ordinary Ugandans.
In attendance was the third deputy Katikiro, Apollo Makubuya, interim president Alliance For National Transformation ,Hon. Mugisha Muntu, Governor Bank Of Uganda Emmanuel Tumusiime Mutebile, Former Buganda premier Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere ,Uganda People’s Congress President Jimmy Akena, elder statesmen, civil society and the media. The launch was moderated by Makerere Uiversity Historian,Prof.Ndebesa Mwambustya.
Prof.Ezra Suruma, Chancellor ,Makerere University who gave the key note address agreed with Prof.Yash that indeed Uganda was facing an enemy or power that has been pressing Ugandans that must be addressed by everyone through contributions geared towards overcoming them other than opting for blame-game politics. He cautioned that, ’’when you dare to act there is a cost including loss of life’’
UPC’s Jimmy Akena said it is going to take more work to restore what used to be the pride of Uganda economically because the foundations set by former president Milton Obote have been altered so much.
Alliance For National Transformation interim president Mugisha Muntu in his closing remarks noted that the challenges of Uganda are rooted in her politics and thus there has be general consensus across the board of all political actors to solve the question of how power is going to be transferred from one group to another in a democratic fashion and thereafter Ugandans can decide on what market system they want for themselves.
On the question of Patronage Politics, Prof.Yash notes that it is a trend not only in Uganda but a universal phenomenon especially in market oriented capitalist systems seeming to support the Cuban system with the argument that it was done in the national party’s democratic system. He adds that the world is approaching a system where the ‘’empire is collapsing’’ with regard to the EU-Brexit, nationalistic tendencies coupled with a gradual shift of power; industrial, political, economic to China where the Chinese Yen is likely to displace the US Dollar.