5. Building an independent, integrated and self-sustaining national economy
This is probably the most important point of the whole programme. In the introduction we pointed out that Uganda, being a microcosm of the African situation, is a backward, underdeveloped country whose only progress is the "development of the under-development" to use one scholar's words. The fundamental cause of this under-development is the structural entertwinement with the -economies of the developed countries of the West on an unequal basis. This phenomenon which started almost 5-centuries ago has caused basic malformations that will never allow us to develop. This is because, among other things, there is a constant outflow of resources (what I have called haemmorhage elsewhere) from our economy to the economies of the developed countries—the metropolitan centres of the world system while we content ourselves with the role of outlying villages. Resources flow out, in the present era, in the forms of: cheap raw-materials (some of them—notably minerals which are exhaustible): repartriation of high dividends on investments (which investments do not contribute to the disengagement from foreign . economic domination but rather reinforce the dependence); payment for highly priced manufactured goods (most of them just trash of consumer goods—e.g. whisky, toys, wigs, lipstick, perfumes, sodas, foods that could be grown even by groundmothers (for instance, tomatoes) theft of the nation's convertible currency by a multiplicity of state officials including topmost leaders; flight of capital due to insecurity; purchase with convertible currency of items that could easily be locally produced (e.g. soap, toothpaste, tooth-brushes, toilet paper etc etc.), brain drain due to scientists seeking better opportunities or simply security for their skins; wastage-of labour and resources in the over production of export crops—e.g. coffee—which, being beverages, are less essential in comparison with items like grain that have got a more reliable market apart from assisting our own economy in many ways including nurturing a healthy population; etc etc. The fore-going do not include the
incalculable loss due to failing. to do things that could help the economy if they were done—e.g. lack of scientific education distorted infrastructure of roads and railways running from the interior to the coast and never from an interior point to another point or an under-employed population—all due to the ideological deficiencies of the elite elements that have been wielding power since independence because of a colonial education that turned them completely myopic.
A fundamental solution to all this is making deliberate efforts to build an independent, integrated, self-sustaining national economy This means that we should shift from the present asymmetrical situation where, on the one hand, there is the "enclave"—pseudo modern—export—import sector that exports, cheaply, raw materials (mainly agricultural and minerals) to the advanced capitalist countries while it imports mainly consumer goods at exorbitant prices and, on the other hand, there is the subsistence sector that subsidizes the pseudo-modern sector by keeping the families of the industrial and mine-workers in the rural areas living a half life. The latter technique saves, the firms in the "pseudo-modern" sector from having to pay wages that would enable a worker and his family to subsist in the town which would considerably raise the subsistance wage and therefore, eat into the profits of the firms (largely foreign until Idi Amin caused more mess by "nationalising—actually donating them to his cohorts). This asymmetrical system is characterised by almost a total absence of manufacturing industries; and whatever few manufacturing industries there are, unduly dependent on foreign inputs, which inputs, however, could be locally procured if there was any element of integration in the economy. Sometimes it is merely assembling components already made in foreign countries or rolling and wrapping toilet tissue. That sort of thing is dubbed "manufacturing" industry. You find there is no linkage between the raw-materials producing sectors and the so called manufacturing sectors with the exception of items like cotton. Take copper, for instance. Uganda produces copper at Kilembe. Uganda also consumes copper-derived manufactured goods mainly in its electrical installations. The electrification programme in the country would provide a good market for finished copper goods using Kilembe copper. Although we are at
present unable to lay our hands on the necessary statistics, we are not aware of any significant linkage between the Kilembe copper and Uganda's electricity industry.
The rock is mostly got from Kilembe, smelted at Jinja and exported. Then Uganda has got to import the copper wires necessary in the generation and transmission of electricity from foreign manufacturers probably using Uganda's copper. The finished copper products are, moreover, much more expensive than the copper that was exported. There is, therefore, no linkage between the copper ruining and the copper consumption in the country. This is precisely what lack of integration means. Of course, such an economy as exemplified by the copper mining and copper use is not independent. It is dependent on importing finished copper products that it could economically manufacture itself; it is also exclusively dependent on foreign markets for its raw copper. It does not, however, mean that an independent economy is not inter-dependent with other economies. It is inter-dependent with other economies in fields where it cannot economically be self-sufficient. Even in the so called free markets, it is normally competition among "equals" although at the moment -USA, W. Germany and Japan are "more equal" than the other developed "equals." Uganda's reasons for not using its copper in its industries as raw materials is not concerned with "inter-dependence." It has got more to do with those who take all our copper and sell us all our requirements in finished copper products at much higher prices. It has got more to do with the colonial malformations already referred to and, therefore, the unhealthy dependence of our economy on foreign economies in fields where it could be profitably independent. Having seen what the "integrated," "independent' aspects of our proposed national economy mean, let us briefly refer to the "self-sustaining" aspect. A "self-sustaining" economy means an economy that can move under its own power and is not just a puppet of outside economies on which it is dependent. There are some internal factors that cause motion within that economy or between that economy and other economies. These are called endogenous factors. There may be other "external" factors contributing to the same economy which we call exogenous factors. These, however, are not the primary moving force; but rather, the secondary one. The internal elements of the economy
would be, for instance, the capacity of the economy to make machine-making machines or to extract a metal from its ore and use the metal to manufacture finished products. Foreign capital or importation of inputs are examples of external factors. Therefore, a self-sustaining national economy, while it may be inter-dependent with other economies, has got an internal cohesion that enables it to exist with a measure of independence. This may mean, for instance, ability to use one's raw-materials in his manufacturing industries while one's industries are contributing machinery and other inputs to the raw-materials producing sectors e.g. agriculture and mining. Therefore, with an independent and self-sustaining national economy, one would have to ensure, above all, the forward and backward linkages between the different sectors of the economy: e.g. between industry and agriculture, industry and mining, construction and industry etc. and vice versa. To give some examples, agricultural raw-materials would feed agriculture while bricks, tiles and tar would feed industry and industry would feed construction with tools etc. Such an economy is a dynamic one. The present economy of Uganda apart from the cotton industry—is not integrated. This includes the much talked about tourism. Even in its hey-day in the pre-Amin days, there never was, for instance, sufficient linkage between tourism and agriculture. Who was producing the cornflakes, the butter, the oats, the bread, the tomato sauce, the chillis, the whiskies, the wines and the champagnes etc. etc. that were feeding the tourist industry? The linkage was, indeed, limited to probably milk and meat.
You could find that Uganda's tourist industry was inter-acting more with South African agriculture or with agricultural based industries in other countries than with Uganda's agriculture. When the tourist industry of Uganda import a carton of butter, which could easily be bought locally with proper restructuring apart from being yet another unjustified transfer of resources in the endless hemorrhage to our detriment, the economic activity resultant to thh buying of this extra carton of butter will be realised abroad and not within the national economy. That is to say that the butter producer whose carton of butter was bought by the Uganda tourist industry will be able to buy extra pairs of socks, thereby benefiting the textile industry of their country, attend a film show, thereby
benefiting their entertainment industry etc. etc. Conversely, our textile and entertainment industries will be that much poorer- Hence, this hemorrhage causes both direct and indirect losses.
The building of an independent, integrated and self-sustaining national economy will usher in inter-action and inter-dependence within the national economy which are currently almost totally absent. Inter-dependence with foreign economies that will remain will be healthy because-it will be necessary. What we have; today is not inter-dependence but dependence; it is not symbiotic but parasitic; it is not progressive but regressive.. In short the following steps ought to be taken in order to move towards an independent, integrated, self-sustaining national economy.
(i) Diversify agriculture away from the present narrow confines of just producing requirements for external markets, and produce, in addition, things needed by our industrialisation process and, especially, food that can be exported to the Arab world, North African and Sub-Sahara Africa apart from eliminating the food import bill.
(ii) Building industries in the import—substitution sectors so as to eliminate the import bill for especially consumer goods e.g. soap, tooth paste, paper, textiles etc. etc.—taking pains to build industries that will ,use local inputs as .much as it is technologically possible. It is: of little value to build industries that are heavily dependent on imported inputs if it i is scientifically possible to have local alternatives thereby limiting the out-flow of resources. Import—substitution 'should also be undertaken in producing agricultural tools following,' again, the principle of maximum, self-sufficiency.
(iii) Aggressive industrialisation should take place along the entire spectrum of our agricultural products. Things like butter, jam, sausages or fruit juices should be locally made for home consumption and export. The carbohydrate, protein, and fat foods we produce should be processed and packed for both local sale and for export to especially other African and Arab countries. This industrialisation cannot take-place without a research institute to identify the scientific techniques necessary for processing, preserving and, packing the various food: we produce for internal distribution and export. The industrialisation should not confine itself to just processing and pack aging; extraction of industrially useful substances could also be done.
(iv) Construction of basic industries—e.g. iron and steel, chemicals or construction and engineering-should be undertaker where feasible. If one African country cannot do it alone then several of them could co-operate on one project or on number of projects. Without these basic industries—e.g. iron and steel it is impossible to industrialize or develop because steel is required in so many things—housing, road construction, machine-making, agricultural tools, automobile—manufacture etc. etc.
(v) We should ensure that we eventually develop a capacity to make locally, machine-making machines. We cannot content ourselves with merely importing the whole range of foreign plants. to use in our manufacturing sector.
(vi) Similarly we should ensure that we. acquire, -eventually, the computer technology.
(vii) In short we reject the notion that we should be dependent or others for all our technology. To do otherwise, is the best recipe for perpetual subservience.
A hundred years ago we controlled our own technological development. Now we are dependent on foreigners for the making of even safety or drawing pins. It is a shame and an unpardonable crime for African leaders to accept this situation. Moreover, we wish, to point out the fact that without the building of an independent integrated, self-sustaining national economy, Uganda or-indeed other African countries, will never stabilize. Much of the present turmoil is as much due to political mismanagement as it is due to a narrow economy that cannot accommodate the aspiration, of so many groups within the individual countries. A local
example, in the 'colonial days, there were only 55 ' Gombolola (sub-county) and 1.0 Saza (county) chieftaincies, the Enganzi, the treasurer, the Kihimba and the Muramuzi (chief-minister, treasurer, head of civil service and chief-magistrates respectively) in Ankole district with a population of 555,000 at that time. These were the only high level jobs in the whole district that people had to compete for. This accounted for much of the sectarianism in the politics of Ankole as the various factions of the elite, tried to use the population as bases in their unprincipled struggle for jobs. These factions of the elite were: Bahima chiefs, Bairu-protestant and Bairu-catholic elites. Proof that the whole struggle was for jobs is given by the fact that when the Bairu-Protestant clique took power in 1963, it soon split up again between the Nkomba and the Mufunguro factions. Another good example is that the Bahima chiefs, although in power from 1900 to 1946 did absolutely nothing for the Bahima population. It was during this period that the Bahima people were forced by the adverse economic situation created by the colonial situation, (tse tse flies, unplanned cultivation.) lack of education and their own ignorance (and consequent arrogance) to disperse from their home-land to many other parts of Uganda.
In respect of Buganda much of the trouble was caused by the protestant clique of Mengo while they were trying to defend the colonial rewards for collaboration with colonialism as per the 1900 agreement. Eventually the Catholic elite elements of Buganda
joined the DP to fight for "truth and justice"—i.e. "justice" for the elite—never for the masses. If you talk of "justice" for the masses, the DP leaders accuse you of communism.
Similar wars over the narrow prospects were to be seen in Busoga (Mwangu .Bakaswirewa), Acholi (Lakidi-vs-Ojera) etc. etc. In fact' much of Uganda's problems have been due to these unprincipled line-ups. If the economy, however, was expansive, interest in state offices would somewhat decline. In fact with a few. opportunities in farming and the commercial sector, the situation was relieved somewhat. These days you can notice retied' civil servants in farming or the commercial sector. Try to imagine what would happen if there were no such, albeit limited openings. The pressures on the cohesion of society would be that much more. The situation would further improve if we embarked on the implementation
of the six points enunciated above to ensure the building of a self-sustaining, integrated and independent national economy, accompanied of course by a correct line in politics.