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12/10/2009 -- GGWANGA MUJJE BOSTON CHAPTER INC. Demonstrates against Museveni Dictatorship in Uganda
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» 11/25/2009 -- Origins of Museveni Politics of Violence and Killings
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| Origins of Museveni Politics of Violence and Killings 11/25/2009 |Origins of Museveni Politics of Violence and Killings
Edited by Aloysius M.M. Lugira
Editor’s Introductory NotesThis posting is intended to bring to you, by a primary source, information about the origination of what is currently transpiring concerning politics in Uganda. This is being presented under the general title of: “Origins of Museveni Politics of Violence and Killings”.
By completion of his secondary schooling at Ntare School in Mbarara by 1967 Yoweri T. Museveni failed to get admission to Makerere University Kampala. Instead he was admitted to the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. There, it is recorded that he pursued studies in economics and politics. There too, by life style, he became an unreconstructed Marxist, meaning a person who does not accommodate himself to the view that the Cold War was lost by the former Soviet Union
Besides, Yoweri T. Museveni got himself preoccupied with revolutionary ideas which landed him not only in reading about FRELIMO, that is the Liberation Front of Mozambique, but physically also led him to the bush in Mozambique where he witnessed the doings of these freedom fighters.
At the University of Dar es Salaam he intensified his revolutionary proclivities by getting himself endeared to Frantz Fanon’s theory on violence particularly as outlined in his book: The Wretched of the Earth. Fanon prescribes the use of violence in fighting against colonialism. Museveni’s perception does not make him see the distinction between freedom fighting against colonialism and nation building. Ugandan fighting for independence, one must admit is special. Ugandans did not fight British colonialism by going to the bush. It is after the acquisition of our political independence that we start to hear about things like National Resistance Army or Lord’s Resistance Army. Under humane circumstances when liberation is acquired resistance disappears. Museveni believes in protracted war even after he declared to have won the war in January 1986. Why is that? It is because of the misperception and misplacement of Frantz Fanon’s theory.
For a graduating paper at the University of Dar es Salaam Museveni wrote about the applicability of Frantz Fanon’s ideas of revolutionary violence to post colonialist Africa including Uganda. Herewith it is the editor’s intention to make Museveni’s paper available for people to read it in Museveni’s own words. The paper is titled as “Fanon’s Theory On Violence: Its Verification in Liberated Mozambique”. It was published in a book titled as Essays on the Liberation of Southern Africa, edited by Nathan Shamuyarira. It was published in Dar es Salaam by Tanzania Publishing House in 1971. It is found on pages 1-24. For practical purpose it will be serialized on MMG (that is www.musevenimustgo.com ) in four parts.
Part One is the part which follows here below. It opens up with the title of the paper as page one and ends on page eight.
Quotations in Part One relative to “Origins of Museveni Politics of Violence and Killings” are rendered in bold letters in the text. These quotation should be understood in context with Museveni’s concluding final sentence of the paper found on page 24. That conclusion is premised by the fact that the people of Mozambique applied violence to ward themselves off the Portuguese colonialism. Within that context Museveni asserts that “The Mozambican has made a more serious attempt to recover his manhood, to commit suicide as a ‘native’, than the African of, for instance, Uganda”. With such murderous disposition Museveni has not refrained himself from contributing to killing fields in Uganda and the Great Lake Region of Africa. Following are some of the pertinent quotes from his paper:
Since his involvement in the FRELIMO cause in the late sixties Museveni has been involved in singing praises of violence as an administrative means. And mind you, violence not applied as against colonialism but in independent Uganda against civilian nationals. As a result many Ugandans have become victims of Museveni initiated violence which if prosecuted constitutes a state of crimes against humanity. For that reason is now a Buganda Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc.
- “Fanon advocated violence in order to bring about total and authentic decolonization.” Museveni used violence to shoot his way to state power in Uganda. Had Uganda been under colonialist control, probably one would have given him the benefit of the doubt. With his FRONASA Museveni introduced violence in Ugandan politics, as for decades, it has proven itself, not for the common good but for self agrandisement. His violence has so engendered violence the stopping of which necessitates the www.musevenimustgo.com
- “The naked truth of decolonization evokes for us the searing bullets and blood stained knives which emanate from it. For if the last shall be first, this will only come to pass after a murderous and decisive struggle between the two protagonists. Here Museveni does not only betray his murderous mindset. He also exhibits the disrespect he has in general and the disrespect he commands for Biblical texts.
- “In other words, Fanon acknowledges violence as the highest form of political struggle. He also says that it is only reasonable, if you are talking about fundamentally changing the colonial society, which to him, means making the last first and vice-versa, to expect to use violence. ….He further adds that this colonial situation is perpetrated by the use of colonial violence and to end it, you must use revolutionary violence”.
Museveni in his Own words:
Part OneAt the level of individuals, violence is a cleansing force-Fanon.
FANON'S THEORY ON VIOLENCE:
ITS VERIFICATION IN LIBERATED MOZAMBIQUE
by Yoweri T. Museveni
FANON did not advocate violence for its own sake. If he had, he would have been a homicidal maniac, not a revolutionary. His writings would not be worth the attention paid to them. Fanon advocated violence in order· to bring about total and authentic decolonization. He says: 'Decolonisation, which sets out to change the order of the world, is, obviously, a programme of complete disorder. But it cannot come as a result of magical practices, nor of a natural shock, nor of a friendly understanding.'(1).
Later on he says,
'Decolonisation is the meeting of two forces, opposed to each other by their very nature, which in fact owe their originality to that sort of substantification which results from and is nourished by the situation in the colonies. Their first encounter was marked by violence and their existence together-that is to say the exploitation of the native by the settler-was carried.on by dint of a great array of bayonets and cannon. The settler and the native are old acquaintances. In fact, the settler is right when he speaks of knowing "them" well. For it is the settler who has brought the native into existence and who perpetuates his existence. The settler owes the fact of his very existence, that is to say his property, to the colonial system.'(2).
Further talking on decolonization, he says,
'Decolonization never takes place unnoticed, for it influences individuals and modifies them fundamentally. It transforms spectators crushed with their inessentiality into privileged actors, with the grandiose glare of history's floodlights upon them. It brings a natural rhythm into existence, introduced by new men, and with it a new language and a new humanity. Decolonization is the veritable creation of new men. But this creation owes nothing of its legitimacy to any supernatural power; the "thing" which has been colonized becomes man during the same process by which it frees itself.'(3).
He further says that decolonization, true decolonization, might be described in the well known words: 'The last shall be first and the first last. Decolonization is the putting in practice of this sentence,'(4).
He goes on: 'The naked truth of decolonisation evokes for us the searing bullets and blood stained knives which emanate from it. For if the last shall be first, this will only come to pass after a murderous and decisive struggle between the two protagonists. That affirmed intention to place the last at the head of things, and to make them climb at a pace (too quickly, some say) the well known steps which characterize an organized society, can only triumph, if we use all means to turn the scale, including of course, that of violence.'(5). In other words, Fanon acknowledges violence as the highest form of political struggle. He also says that it is only reasonable, if you are talking about fundamentally changing the colonial society, which, to him, means making the last first and vice-versa, to expect to use violence. In o.ther words, like Chairman Mao, he acknowledges the fact that it is naive to rely on the 'good sense' of imperi-alism or to expect that exploiters are going to abdicate their seats peacefully. He further adds that this colonial situation is perpetuated by the use of colonial violence and to end it, you must use revolutionary violence.
As already pointed out, there is a dialectical relationship
between the existence of the· settler and the native. The colonial world is a world of two compartments the settler world and the native world. These two compartments are 'not complementary' at all. 'The two zones are opposed, but not in the service of a higher unity. Obedient to the rules of pure Aristotelian logic, they both follow the principle of reciprocal exc1usivity. No conciliation is possible, for of the two terms, one is superfiuous.'(6). The settler's zone is a zone of plenty while the native's zone is a zone of gloom, hunger and misery. Both of them develop complexes and mental distortions:
'The colonial world is a Manichaean World. It is not enough for the settler to delimit physically, that is to say with the help of the army and the police force, the place of the native. As if to show the totalitarian character of colonial exploitation, the settler paints the native as a sort of quintessence of evil ... The native is declared insensible to ethics; he represents not only the absence of values but also the negation of values. He is, let us dare to admit, the enemy of values, and in this sense he is the absolute evil. He is a corrosive element, disfiguring all that comes near him; he is the deforming element, disfiguring all that has to do with beauty or morality; he is the depository of maleficent powers, the unconscious and irretrievable instrument of blind forces.'(7).
Fanon goes on: 'At times this Manichaeism goes to its logical conclusion and dehumanizes the native, or to speak plainly it turns him into an animal. In fact, the terms the settler uses when he mentions the native are zoological terms'.(8)
The colonial situation also has profound psychological effects on the colonized. First, among the many effects, is the phenomenon of self-destruction on the part of the natives. This is because they fear to attack the real enemy; so they attack supposed, or invented, enemies.
Fanon, in this respect, says:
'While the settler or the policeman has the right the live-long day to strike the native, to insult him and to make him crawl to them, you will see the native reaching for his knife at the slightest hostile or aggressive glance cast on him by another native; for the last resort of the native is to defend his personality vis-a-vis his brother. Tribal feuds only serve to perpetuate old grudges deeply buried in the memory. By throwing himself with all his force into the vendetta, the native tries to persuade himself that colonialism does not exist, that everything is going on as before, that history continues. Here on the level of communal organizations, we clearly discern the well-known behavior patterns of avoidance. It is as if plunging into a fraternal blood-bath allowed them to ignore the obstacle, and to put off till later the choice, nevertheless inevitable, which opens up the question of armed resistance to colonialism. Thus collective auto-destruction in a very concrete form is one of the ways in which the native's muscular tension is set free.'(9).
'A belief in fatality removes all blame from the oppressor; the cause of misfortunes and of poverty is attributed to God; He is Fate. In this way, the individual accepts the disintegration ordained by God, bows down before the settler and his lot, and by a kind of interior restabilization acquires a stony calm.'(10). But this 'avoidance' is not sufficient. The native also has to take refuge in a host of other myths. Fanon writes: 'There are maleficent spirits which intervene every time a step is taken in the wrong direction, leopardmen,serpentmen, six-legged dogs, zombies-a whole series of tiny animals or giants which create around the native a world of prohibitions, of barriers and inhibitions far more terrifying than the world of the settler.'(11). Later on, Fanon points out that this magical superstructure performs, among other things, the function of reducing the importance of the settler. The magical superstructure is seen as the force to be reckoned with, as being much more important than the settler. Fanon, in this connection, declares: 'We no longer really need to fight against them since what counts is the frightening enemy created by myths. We perceive that settled by a permanent confrontation on the phantasmal plane.'(12). Sometimes, this avoidance manifests itself in hysteria or exhaustive ecstatic dances-'The native's relaxation takes precisely the form of a muscular orgy in which the most acute aggressivity and most impelling violence are canalized, transformed and conjured away.'(13).
The native is even thought to be a defective of some sort according to some foreign scholars. Professor Porot, for instance, used to regard the Algerian as a lover of blood, 'a congenital impulsive'. It was commonly alleged: 'The Algerian does not see the whole of a question. The questions he asks himself always concern the details and exclude all synthesis. He is a pointillist, clinging to objects, lost in details, insensible to ideas and impervious to concepts.'(14). Professor Porot further declares: 'The native of North Africa, whose superior and cortical activities are only slightly developed, is a, primitive creature whose life, essentially vegetative and instinctive, is above all regulated by his diencephalon.' Fanon, commenting on the foregoing said: 'We should remember that the characteristic of the human species when compared to other vertebrates is that it is cortical zed. The diencephalon is one of the most primitive parts of the brain and man is above all the vertebrate in which the cortex dominates.'(15). A French prefect is reported to have said, 'we must tame nature, not convince it.'(16).
Introducing The Wretched of the Earth, Jean-Paul Sartre says, 'not so very long ago, the earth numbered two thousand million inhabitants: Five hundred million men and one thousand five hundred million natives.'(17). In other words, it is only the white races that were considered as men; others were just 'natives' who were not men. In another book, Fanon says: 'I believe that the fact of the juxtaposition of the white and black races has created a massive psycho-existential complex.'(18). He goes on to declare: 'At the risk of arousing the resentment of my colored brothers, I will say that the black is not a man.'(19). He further says: 'The problem is important. I propose nothing short of the liberation of the man of color from himself. '(20). Again Fanon says, 'If there is an inferiority complex, it is the outcome of a double process: primarily economic; subsequently, the internalization-or, better, the epidermalization-of this inferiority.'(21).
This is the background of our discussion of Fanon's theory on' violence. First, Fanon says that to bring about true decolonization, one ultimately would have to resort to violence because decoloni-zation, to be authentic, would mean a complete overhauling of the system; this, cannot be done peacefully for the exploiters cannot be expected to voluntarily hand over power. But not only is violence the only effective instrument of bringing about the real overthrow of colonial rule, it is also a laxative, a purgative, an agent for creating new men. In the course of this violent struggle, all the psychic complexes, arising out of the colonial situation, dissolve, disappear in thin air. The native kills the settler and sees that the settler has got the same skin as the native.' He is as susceptible to death as anybody. Fanon writes: 'For if, in fact, my life is worth as much as the settler's, his glance no longer shrivels me up nor freezes me, and his voice no longer turns me into stone. I am no longer on tenterhooks in his presence; in fact, I do not give a damn for him. '(22). In fact, he is prepared to kill, the settler, to lay ambushes for him. The 'symbolic killings, fantastic rites, imaginary mass murders' ---'all disappear.
'During the struggle for freedom" a marked alienation from these practices is observed. The native's back is to the wall, the knife is at his throat (or, more precisely, the electrode at his genitals) he will have no more call for his fancies. After centuries of unreality, after having wallowed in the most outlandish phantoms, at long last the native, gun in hand, stands face to face with the only forces which contend for his life-the forces of colonialism.'(23).
On this point, Fanon further says:
'And the youth of a colonized country, growing up in an atmosphere of shot and fire, may well make a mock of, and does not hesitate to pour scorn upon zombies of his ancestors, the horses with two heads, the dead who rise again, and the djinns who rush into your body while you yawn. The native discovers reality and transforms it into the pattern of his customs, into the practice of violence and into his plan for Freedom.'(24).
In other words, with the start of the armed revolution, the
Colonized man is so much engaged in real struggle that he cannot afford to indulge in illusions or to be controlled by the mythical world. Besides, all the impurities, previously in him, all the complexes and distortions arising out of the colonial situation evaporate. The native becomes a man. He, no longer, fights over petty things; he is, No longer, short-tempered ('impulsive' as he was usually described); He no longer hates his fellow tribesmen, instead he is indissolubly united with them by a common danger, and he becomes a balanced man devoid of complexes. While previously food was fought over among the natives, now it is liberally given to a passing patriotic column.
'The family's only donkey may be lent to transport a wounded
Fighter; and when a few days later the owner learns of the death of his animal which has been machine-gunned by aeroplane, he will not begin threatening and swearing. He will not question the death of his donkey, but he will ask anxiously if the wounded man is safe and sound.'(25). this man, the new peasant, is the previous colonial 'pointillist'. This purification of individuals will be amplified in the whole population. Fanon in this respect says, 'The nature of a crime or the frequency of offences depends on the relations which exist between men and women and between persons and the state.'(26) He further says that in the revolutionary period 'The national conflict seems to have canalized all anger, and nationalized all effective or emotional movements.'(27). in other words all the rage, the hatred, is transferred from between individuals among the people to between the people as a whole on the one hand and the enemy, the colonialists and the counter-revolutionaries. 'The Algerian war, like all wars of national liberation, bring to the fore the true protagonists,' says Fanon. (28).
This is the interpretation Fanon put on the role of revolutionary struggle, whose highest form is armed violence, in the lives of former colonial subjects. This is what l wanted to test in one Sub-Saharan area. I used Nangade district of Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, as my experimental area. Nangade district is in North-Eastern Mozambique. It is inhabited by a Bantu-speaking people, the Makonde. The Makonde, according to many reliable accounts, are fearless and brave people. They have played an important role, not only in the Mozambican Revolution but also in the Zanzibar antifeudalist Revolution. There were many Makonde workers in Zanzibar at the time of the 1964 revolution; scientific socialists must avoid the anthropological approach to African political problems. The understanding of African problems cannot be attained by relying on anthropology but rather by adopting a materialist approach. This problem, however, is not my main concern in this article. But it is worth pointing out that the~ Imperialists, and other bourgeois confusionists, have been spreading the lie that the Makonde are 'the brave people' of Mozambique; that the other tribes like the Nyanjas, are soft people. This idea is prominently put forward in articles titled The Black Man in Search of Power that originally appeared in The Times of London. This is a bankrupt way of looking at things. The Makonde are not brave because they are Makonde, People's attitudes are determined by the prevailing conditions around them as well as the degree to which they are politicized. Therefore, the attitudes of a given African people, or any other people, cannot be understood by a predominantly anthropological approach, but by understanding their sociology. An examination of the prevailing conditions will reveal that the Makonde were oppressed people. Although Cabo Delgado was a relatively remote area, the people were forced to grow cotton which they sold to a monopoly company at prices fixed by the same company. If anyone did not comply, he was sent to Sao Tome to suffer the privations of forced slave labour. Out of fear, the cotton had to be grown. Growing cotton for this company (Compahnia Agricola Algodeira) consumed most of the peasants' time so that they could not grow other cropsthis was a source of poverty and, sometimes, famine. Harassment by company officials kept the people in a perpetual state of fear.
In Nangade, the people were doubly 'inferior'. First they felt themselves 'inferior' to other people-fellow 'natives'-from other provinces further to the South who appeared more 'developed' and
Sophisticated’, but who in fact were more dehumanized and alienated. Secondly, they felt inferior to the omnipotent white man. There was a lot of colonial violence: murders, stealing, burning other people's houses, witchcraft and numerous fights. Although it is almost impossible to get statistics in this regard, there is a consensus among all the people I interviewed that colonial violence was widespread. There was excessive drinking, aimless brawling, murders, witchcraft and other manifestations of a colonial situation.
People from this area who went to Tanganyika to work as labourers or domestics, or went south to Lourenco Marques, Beira and other towns, were exposed to what they considered 'a superior way of life', this deepened their inferiority complex. One deputy base commander of FRELIMO forces told me that he had worked for Europeans, as a 'shamba-boy' and sometimes, as a 'house-boy' in Tanga, Moshi and Kisumu. It should be remembered that African house servants were called 'boys' even when they were 40 years of age. He told me how he used to be kicked by his young masters even when he was an old man. He suspected and feared not only the white man but a few affluent blacks with cars whom he used to see in Moshi and Kisumu. He looked upon them as men who must be as cruel as his white masters. But his experience as a freedom-fighter has reversed the process. Ever since he started fighting, killing whites who in death divested themselves of their fraudulent superhumanity and assumed mortality and the weaknesses that accompany it, he has discovered that the white man's skin is equal to any other ordinary man's skin. He has since discovered that the erstwhile demi-gods and self-appointed deities are nothing but human beings who, sometimes, are even inferior to himself in a number of respects. In the changed circumstances; he was no longer referring to the white man as 'master' (bwana) or 'mehmsahab' (madam). The former 'bwana' was now honoured with the prestigious name of 'mdudu' (insect). The Portuguese are now called 'wadudu' (insects) while they were formerly called masters. As an alternative name, the Portuguese are called 'wareno' which means 'the cursed ones'. He spoke with great contempt for the Portuguese soldiers, although he had respect for the Boer soldiers from South Africa. It was the consensus among fighters that the Boer soldiers were much braver than the Portuguese although, in tbe initial stages of the war, they showed unbelievably poor knowledge of guerrilla warfare. The man in question has completely changed from being a domestic servant-a house negro', according to Malcolm X the most alienated of all-to being a commander of men, with grave responsibilities. There we were, six university undergraduates from the University of Dar es Salaam, probably reactionary puppets of neo-colonialism in the making, with more than 15 years of Western 'education' behind us, getting rudimentary lessons in the science of liberating our people from a man who was considered but a grown-up child in the colonial days. There he was watching over us and patiently correcting our faltering moves in handling the gun. Our long stay in the Western citadels of 'learning' notwithstanding, we learnt the ABC of national liberation from a former 'house-boy'. This is what authentic national liberation means-making the first last and the last first. This Commander had become a history-maker while we were history-students.
Many similar cases of a complete reversal of attitudes could be cited. Men who could neither read nor write, who were very parochial, even irresponsible, in outlook, who have since changed into men of wide horizons and great balance of mind. This was reiterated at barazas (meetings) and was confirmed in individual conversations. Political commissars, many of them trained in Algeria between 1962 and 1964, agreed that the first obstacle to overcome before enlisting people's support was to convince them that they could kill a European. This, sometimes, was overcome by the guerrillas organising an ambush against the colonialists in the neighbourhood.