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Monday, April 25, 2011

MAHMOOD MAMDANI ON POLITICAL PROTESTS

As the "memory of Tahrir Square feeds opposition hopes and fuels government fears" across Africa Mahmood Mamdani addresses the protest "'Walk to Work' in Historical Light' at: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/-/688334/1149498/-/c2moiiz/-/index.html

"Nowhere in the history of successful struggles will you find a people united in advance of the movement. For the simple reason that one of the achievements of a successful movement is unity. Unity is forged through struggle" - Mahmood Mamdani

2 comments:

Chambi Chachage April 25, 2011 at 3:31 PM  

Norah Owaraga wrote in response:

Thanks .... However, what concerns me with Mamdani's opinion is the comparing of the 'walk-to-work' (whatever it is) with the freedom movements in Egypt and in South Africa. In both cases (Egypt and South Africa) the oppression was clear, so was the oppressor and the oppressed. In the case of Uganda, this is not really clear. There is no clear tribe, religion, geographical location, etc. that is systematically being oppressed in Uganda. In Uganda, it is more like "if I am not the one in power then I am going to make it really hard for the one in power to govern, otherwise if I were in power I would pretty much do the same" situation. If you consider that the 'walk-to'work' has been sparked off by raising fuel prices which have in turn sparked off high food prices, then who is the oppressor in this case? Who is in charge of determining fuel prices? What are the reasons that the fuel prices have gone up? Realistically, what can the Uganda government do about the prices? Even if the government had the will to do something, does it really have the geopolitical and economic clout to do it? In fact for Uganda, where 85% (27 million) of the population lives in rural areas, 5 million of the 6.2 million household are in rural areas, 82% of workers are in rural areas, and 42% of workers are getting their earnings from subsistence farming, I wonder if the 'walk-to-work' in Uganda is not simply the best example of the sadening extent of Uganda's elite-mass gap. Infact I would go further to suggest that the 'walk-to-work' (whatever it is) is both imoral and an insult to the majority of Ugandans whose way of life has been and will continue to incorporate walking to work.

Norah Owaraga (BA, MSc.)
Website: www.owaraganorah.net

Chambi Chachage April 26, 2011 at 10:34 AM  

Norah Owaraga further wrote:

Further to my previous email on the subject ... so who are the oppressed, who is the oppressor, and how is the oppressor oprressing the oppressed? Are the leaders of the 'walk-to-work' part of the oppressed as was the case with Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela (black south african fight agains the oppression of blacks by the white south africans), Ghandi (Indian fighting against oppression of Indians by the British), etc.? Then why the following:


Workers leaders slam walk-to-work demos
Publication date: Monday, 25th April, 2011
By Darious Magara

THE workers leaders in the country have condemned the walk-to-work demonstrations, saying they have destabilised work, trade and investment.

The workers MP, Dr. Sam Lyomoki, told journalists on Saturday that they may be forced to mobilise workers to counter the protesters.

He said the demonstrations had affected businesses and work in the civil service sectors where some workers were failing to access their offices during the riots.

“We appeal to the opposition leaders to stop these demonstrations, otherwise we shall mobilise the worker to deal with them,” Lyomoki said.

He said the demos were unconstitutional since their organisers had refused to heed to the Government call for negotiations.

Lyomoki advised the Forum for Democratic Change leader, Dr. Kizza Besigye, to concede defeat instead of using high fuel prices to distabilise the country.

“Many Ugandans who cherish the principle of dialogue are still wondering which kind of change Activists for Change have in mind if they can not sit at a round table,” he added.

Lyomoki said food scarcity resulting from the continued effects of chronic food insecurity and high food price levels had persisted in 31 countries in Africa including Uganda.

He said neither the walk-to-work protests nor arrests of politicians by the Police could solve the issue.

Lyomoki said only dialogue and consensus on increased production strategy can solve the problem.

“The Government should design an education system that inculcates skills for life education, including increased crop and livestock production,” he said.

The MP argued that failure to do so would make the country run a risk of an education system which churns out a social base of desperate politicians any youth who conduct running battles with the Police.

Lyomoki criticised the Democratic Party president, Norbert Mao, for following Besigye without analyzing the situation.

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