I have been reading Samir Amin’s book “Unequal Development: An Essay on the Social Formations of Peripheral Capitalism”.
Well, the book reminds me of the mainstream socialist and Marxist thoughts that I was exposed to at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in the early 1970s. It can explain quite a lot of the happenings today in African governance, socio-politics and socioeconomics. I would read it again and again.
I critically read the Chapter on “The Origins of the Development of Underdevelopment”, and concluded that it explains well the current Development of Underdevelopment of Uganda as the NRM Government attempts to build its own brand of peripheral capitalism using primitive accumulation of wealth and veiled foreign investment, yet most such investments involve fronts from Asia for some big people in Government who use some of the wealth accumulated primitively to capitalize the investments.
Virtually all of these investments enjoy tax holidays and some have even got public money officially invested in them with the approval of Parliament. It is as if it is a plot against Ugandans.
Rising dependency, marginalization political ethnicization and ethnic politicization in Uganda are well-understood from the point of view of Unequal Development that Samir Amin so ably tackles.
There is no indigenous group in Uganda, which is not suffering some form of marginalization and exclusion in virtually every sector of the economy. Neither is there any indigenous group, which cannot feel the sparks of political ethnicization and ethnic politicization.
When these processes occur, some people may think that inclusion is taking place, yet they are being used to entrench the political, economic, social, environmental and ecological domination and conquest of the majority by a small group of people.
The arrival of Covid 19 is helping to magnify these tendencies. There is no need to keep quiet about the deepening Underdevelopment and Marginalisation in broad areas of Uganda during the Covid 19 Pandemic.
If we ever become free of Covid 19, we shall find that some areas have become so underdeveloped that they no longer belong to the 21st Century.
We need to stop sleeping with open eyes so that we are fully aware of what is going on. Already those who have no money cannot get treated of Covid 19 even in public hospitals, which today lack facilities to make them suitable for the 21st Century. Those who have the money can seek treatment in private hospitals, which are the ones that belong to the 21st Century, and they are tending to be from one area of Uganda.
This means those without money must die. Those with money must live. Free public services have disappeared. It is as if Coronavirus was specifically made for Uganda to be used as a Genocidal and Political tool. Yet it is a global enemy that must be meaningfully and effectively dealt with locally and globally without discrimination.
The future of Uganda will be shaped by how awake to our reality we Ugandans become in the face of the Covid 19 Pandemic.
For God and My Country
By Professor Oweyegha-Afunaduula
The Writer is An Environmentalist and Former Makerere Don
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