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Post by sol_drethedon on Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:36 pm

The first measure in which imperialism played a significant part as Uganda prepared  for its  political  independence was over the  Lancaster House constitutional talks and politics of the ensuing elections of 1962. Here efforts were made by various imperialist monopolies to divide the different political parties, with the result that the constitutional compromise left loopholes which later enabled imperialism to intervene increasingly in Uganda's affairs. Firstly the efforts were made to block any kind of agreement between the UPC and the DP, both of which put forward generally progressive positions on independence. Here the religious contradiction among the the people was brought onto play. We have already seen  that in Buganda a section of the petty bourgeoisie with king Muteesa at its head, which had taken control of the lukiiko in the 1955 and 1960 elections, turned the national movement on its head. This faction had its narrow interests as the main consideration after it had achieved a number of concessions from the colonialists which enhanced its economic and political power. King Mutesa declared that it was loyalty to him and not to the people's right to self-determination that mattered. With the support of a section of British monopolies he opposed any measures which would enable the people of Uganda to exercise their democratic rights fully at the political level.

The DP, which had put forward nominations for democratic elections in Buganda, was referred to by King Mutesa and his faction as 'traitors trying to grab office at the expense of loyalty'. The archbishop of Canterbury speaking on behalf of the Church of England, itself a monopoly, backed King Mutesa's manoeuvrings of separatism. Indeed, King Mutesa's support was wide and being a darling of British conservative opinion and that section of British monopolies, he was brought up as a brigadier guard in Her Majesty's Army of Britain and empire. One of the monopolies giving support to King Mutesa was the Unilever Group, which has wide interests in East Africa, including a manufacturing monopoly- British East African industries- with a large market in Uganda. The Unilever Group is the second largest monopoly in England in terms of capital( excluding oil monopolies). It includes 400 associated companies, with worldwide sales of 118milion pounds (1967). In East Africa, apart from import substituted manufacturing, its other main line is imports, which it handles through Gailey and Roberts Ltd., whose branches are throughout east Africa. It has eight associated companies engaged in the sale of capital goods- machinery and equipment. It also engages in insurance, construction, and metal furniture manufacture.

The DP on the other end was supported by the Catholic Church at the Vatican-itself also a monopoly-and through its worldwide links had support from certain monopoly circles in Canada, Germany and France  and through its churches in Uganda. This  support was  open as we  have noted in the DP's origins.

Given the  balance  of electoral forces, the alliance between the UPC and the KY was seen by the two as a necessity in order to establish stability and bring independence for Uganda. since the Mutesa faction's object was to block the democratic rights of the people of Uganda to have their representatives to parliament elected directly without going through the Mutera- dominated lukiiko, and being satisfied that 'neither party could govern without us', it appeared as if the  only sensible solution left to the UPC was to forge an alliance with the KY. UPC also had its own reasons for forging this alliance. Given the alliance it could, with its majority, form the first independence government, with due recognition to the KY's share.  UPC's support although disguised, was from the Church of  Uganda, a protestant church aligned to the Church of England and since KY was a protestant clique the two felt that the alliance had more in common than met the eye. UPC had struck its own alliance externally, first with social democracy in Europe, particularly Germany, and then, using the left wing factions within its own ranks, obtained support from China, the Soviet Union, Egypt and from the other nationalist parties in East Africa which also were linked to Europe.

We will say more about UPC's imperialist linkages in the next section. Suffice it to say here that the alliance was based on shaky material foundations, as the very interests it represented were shallow and narrow. Being petty bourgeois, neither faction saw the alliance in terms of strengthening the people's political will in order to continue the struggle against imperialism. On the contrary, finance capital-despite pronouncements to the contrary-was the very basis of the alliance. Indeed all factions agreed to one fact- they all required imperialist loans to enable them to 'develop the national economy', which meant in the final analysis credit to enable their class to acquire more small properties, and this was only possible so long as monopolies continued their exploitative activities in Uganda.

According to Obote in a letter to London friend, the reasons for the alliance were that;

'The politics of Uganda at the time were very much against a nationalist party associating with Kabaka Yekka. The UPC, however, did so in order that Buganda, which had boycotted the 1961 general elections because of a ruling by the Kabaka and the lukiiko against elections, should participate in the elections of 1962 even in an indirect manner. This was the only practical way to ensure political stability in the country and recognition of the National Assembly by every part of the country, both of which were essential for the achievement of independence.'

This according to Obote, required 'foresight and boldness'. It required compromise on party policy and identity in order to ensure political stability. 'That foresight and boldness was part of the UPC'S election platform in 1962', he continued. The result was that the alliance 'proved resilient and the strength of the party' and therefore a landmark of 'our endeavors to bring about understanding, stability and unity in Uganda.' The alternative would have been, due to the situation obtaining in 1961, 'an electoral humiliation for the UPC'. Obote recounted this in 1968, at the height of his effort to consolidate himself and introduce one party rule of the UPC as a land mark of 'unity and stability'. Barely two years after the alliance when unity and stability disappeared into thin air. It turned out that, as conceived by the UPC and KY, the alliance was purely temporary and a basis for instability.

But King Mutesa's version of the reasons behind the alliance are even more revealing of this 'solid and resilient alliance'. According to his short autobiography, Desecration of My Kingdom,

'The alliance between Buganda (mark that!) and UPC was suggested, with innumerable promises of respect for our position after independence. He (Obote) would step down, and I should choose whoever I wished to be prime minister. Though I did not particularly like him, for he is not a particularly likeable man, I agreed to the alliance without misgivings. He understood our fears for the position of Buganda; we shared his hopes for a  united, prosperous and free Uganda...'Trust me', he said a nd smiled reassuringly. With only faint misgivings we did.'

It was  with these misgivings too that the masses were introduced to a precarious alliance- a shaky foundation that was  bound to collapse. Here the ethnic contradiction among the people was being brought into play. It can be seen that King Mutesa envisaged a hegemonic rule for 'Buganda' in which 'Buganda', through King Mutesa as imperialist agent overlord, would appoint whoever he  wished to be prime minister of Uganda regardless of whether that person was democratically approved by the people of Uganda or not. As we have noted in our earlier analysis, King Mutesa's concept of ;Buganda' here is fictitious. It represented no more than a handful of 'rural bourgeoisie' and some urban intellectual petty bourgeois who agreed with him in the Buganda lukiiko. What King Mutesa sought in the alliance was therefore dictatorial powers for himself. Having not been elected himself, claiming powers of feudality that no longer existed, he in effect wished to impose himself on the people, supported by his section of British monopolies. the Church of England, and his local faction of the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie.

O751985428. 0792404724.

to be continued.

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