By Oweyegha-Afunaduula

Fidel Castro came into the global political scene when he captured the instruments of power in Cuba through the barrel of the gun in 1959 after a protracted guerilla war.

Museveni And Fidel Castro

Almost immediately after capturing the instruments of power, Castro made Africa the place to depict his military internationalism, humanitarian internationalism, and altruism in the face of adversity occasioned by crude colonialism. His was the Principle of International Solidarity, Socialism and the emancipation of Africa.

In a way he held the view that Cuba was not freed if humanity in other parts of the world, especially Africa, was under the yoke of colonialism. This explains why he was at the forefront of supporting liberation movements in and the decolonisation of Africa.

Very early he involved his revolutionary army just emerged from the bushes of Cuba in covert operations in Algeria (1961), Congo and Guinea Bissau (1964) and Angola (1975), with his greatest legacy in Africa being in Angola.

There is no doubt that Castro was a close ally of the African National Congress (ANC) and Mandela in the pushback of Apartheid South Africa. Indeed he gave a long and moving eulogy at the burial of Nelson Mandela when he died.

I don’t know to what extent the old man in absolute power was involved in President Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s guerilla war against Obote’s regime, but if we are to go by President Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s condolence message following the old man’s death, Castro was a friend, brother and leader who redefined Africa’s path to self-rule.

It is not clear what role he played in the insurgency of NRM/NRA in the bushes of Luwero in Buganda. However, when the new leader of Uganda in 1986, declared that he was going to integrate Uganda in global trade and business through Barter Trade, Cuba was one of the country the Uganda leader identified as one of the country he would engage barter trade with.

I don’t know also to what extent Fidel Castro influenced President Museveni by way of development philosophy and policies. But Cuba emphasizes science, especially health sciences and has done a lot to help African countries in the field of health. When President Museveni refused to respond to Doctors’ demand for justice in salaries and allowances he threatened to ferry in Cuban doctors.

Castro put a lot of emphasis on building the medical human resources capacity. But I don’t know what their hospitals are like. Cuba was one of the earliest countries to innovate a vaccine against Covid 19, which has ravaged the world for the last two years.

President Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s emphasis on natural sciences, at the expense of the humanities and social sciences, which he and his wife, erroneously refer to as, “those useless courses,” ignorant of the fact that social sciences are sciences and philosophy, is the highest form of science, because it is about one’s capability to reason, draw conclusions and make recommendations that contribute to improved knowledge by humankind for development, transformation and progress.

Kiira bus, Kiira car etc are supposed to be promoted in Uganda but the social sciences and the Arts, including the performing arts, are supposed to be suppressed in favor of the natural sciences. Don’t ask me what is happening to reason in Uganda. It is because the sciences are being disintegrated politically and n favour of laboratory based science.

If I is true what Dr Higenyi of Makerere University – that when he as Minister for barter trade and President Museveni visited Cuba in the early days of NRM/A rule – Castro remarked that it is easier to rule poor people than rich ones if you want to stay in power for a long time, then we should remember Castro for the miseries of the poor and needy. Most policies in Uganda promote poverty, not prosperity for the majority.

The Writer Is a Ugandan Scientist and Environmentalist. 

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