About me.

Andrew M. Mwenda is the founding Managing Editor of The Independent, Uganda’s premier current affairs newsmagazine. One of Foreign Policy magazine 's top 100 Global Thinkers, TED Speaker and Foreign aid Critic

Monday, August 12, 2019

Inside the NRM struggle

William Pike’s account of the clash between Museveni’s utopia and Uganda’s hard reality

THE LAST WORD |  Andrew M. Mwenda |  A The capture of power by President Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) in January 1986 was a moment of great hope. Blood had been shed, lives lost, careers abandoned, families left behind and educations sacrificed in a heroic effort to liberate the country from tyranny. It was called a new dawn, a fresh beginning, a rebirth. Museveni’s inaugural speech reflected this mood when he promised “a fundamental change in the politics of our country.” There would be democracy and freedom. And there would be rapid economic development to transform the lives of Ugandans.

This is the setting of William Pike’s book, `Combatants: A Memoir of the Bush War and the Press in Uganda’. It is written by a man who came close to the center of it all; an outside-insider. Pike, an Englishman, had taken enormous risks to travel from London to Kampala and then be smuggled to the bush in Luwero to witness the NRA in action. On many occasions he brushed shoulders with death. But through naivety, passion and sheer dint of tenacity, he finally reaches Matuga where he enters an NRA forward camp.

There he interviews some of the key players in this drama whose comments give us insights into them. Kale Kayihura is idealistic and ideological, David Tinyefuza is a deep thinker, Museveni is a master of strategy, Matayo Kyaligonza jolly but fearless – if not reckless, Kahinda Otafiire is witty and frank, Salim Saleh is intelligent and generous. There are high standards of hygiene; everyone is on strict instructions to use pit latrines for long and short calls. (What happened to this discipline given the mess Kampala is in today?)

It is 1984 and Tinyefuza tells Pike that the NRA and UNLA had reached “strategic parity.” When Pike interviews Museveni, he says the UNLA does not represent “any operational capacity.” Museveni the strategic thinker is in full view: “If you have to depend on a foreign country, even if it is friendly, you are hostage to that government,” he says, “What is essential in military terms is not the control of territory. What is crucial is preservation. If a liberation army can preserve itself and succeed in dismantling the enemy’s strength by killing soldiers, capturing equipment, destroying his political image and disrupting his diplomacy, then it is winning.”

Pike had met Ben Matogo, then a PhD candidate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) who introduced him to the NRM struggle, especially Eriya Kategaya. The latter invited him to Luwero to get firsthand experience of the struggle and broadcast it to the world. Pike’s book is a good historical document because he kept a notebook where he recorded events from 1984 to the capture of power in 1986 and to the first five years of NRM in government.

The author is more impartial, less impassioned and reflective on the changes in the NRM and of Museveni personally as their bush ideals come face to face with Uganda’s political reality – nationally, regionally and internationally.

In the bush, NRM had claimed its economic policies would be “anti-imperialist” and its political program “anti-dictatorship”. Once in power, Museveni the pragmatist triumphs over Museveni the idealist as utopia succumbs to reality.

Pike recognises the necessity of NRM abandoning its leftwing economic policy idealism in favour of free market policies. These emphasised rolling back the state via privatisation, liberalisation and deregulation and were imposed upon NRM by the IMF. Given how Uganda sold everything to multinational capital, it shows how Museveni moved from being anti-imperialist to being an agent of imperialism.

But Pike does not endorse this same necessity when it comes to the speed (as opposed to the direction) of democratisation. Didn’t Museveni have to abandon some of his anti-dictatorship rhetoric in the face of the requirements of consolidating political power and maintaining stability?

Yet it would be unfair to accuse Pike of not recognising NRM’s contribution to democratisation and a free press in Uganda. Indeed, the book is a statement of the liberal ideals of Museveni personally, Kategaya critically and the NRM generally. Pike reveals through many anecdotal stories how much freedom he had as Managing Director and Editor in Chief of a government owned newspaper, The New Vision and its sister vernacular papers. The paper was, therefore, able to continually expose corruption and human rights abuses without undue restrictions from the state.

Interestingly the only time in his 20 years at the helm of New Vision when the paper had to withhold a story from publication was under pressure from the United States government. Where Museveni disagreed with the New Vision, he called Pike on phone or for face-to-face meetings and expressed his displeasure but never forced them to withhold a story. And in almost all cases, Pike shows that Museveni’s disagreements with the paper would be on facts, not opinions. This does not mean Pike did not face political pressures.

The lesson from the book is that a free press is greatly helped if leaders in the media are connected to key state actors with liberal convictions. This makes their intentions less suspect but also arms them with internal surrogates to defend them within the system when controversies emerge. For instance, Pike had allies such as Kategaya, who was Museveni’s childhood friend, a deputy prime minister, national political commissar and for many years effectively number two. Kategaya always defended Pike and the New Vision against many elements within NRM who wanted to gag the paper. Indeed, Kategaya’s fall out with Museveni in 2003 left Pike exposed and inaugurated the process that led to his eventual fall in 2007.

The third lesson is that to have freedom of the press, the media need financial independence from the state. Although owned by the state, New Vision became profitable early in its life and therefore did not depend on state subsidies to survive. Otherwise if it had to go to politicians for money every year, they would have used this to compromise its independence. New Vision is also evidence of Pike’s own transformation from a journalist to an entrepreneur.

The book’s greatest aspect is that even with his misgivings about political developments like removing term and age limits, Pike shows how far the country has travelled from the basket case it was in 1986 to a more stable and increasingly prosperous nation it is today. Pike avoided controversy because the book stops in 1992, a period when there was a wide elite consensus in favour of Museveni.



Unknown said...

Hello viewers around the Globe, I was despondent because i had a very small penis, about 2.5 inches soft and 4 inches hard not nice enough to satisfy a woman, i have been in so many relationship, but cut off because of my situation, i have used so many product which doctors for me, but none could offer me the help i searched for. i saw some few comments on the INTERNET about this specialist called Dr,OLU and decided to contact him on his email: Drolusolutinthome@gmail.com) so I decided to give his herbal product a try. i emailed him and he got back to me, he gave me some comforting words with his herbal pills for Penis Enlargement, Within 3 week of it, i began to feel the enlargement was surprised when she said that she is satisfied with my sex and i have got a large penis. Am so happy, thanks to Dr OLU I also learn that Dr OLU also help with Breast Enlargement Hips and Bums Enlargement etc.. If you are in any situation with a little Penis, weak ejaculation, small breast_hips_bums do get to Dr OLU now for help on his email (Drolusolutionhome@gmail.com) or add him on whatsapp line +2348140654426 

Alfreed Siang said...

Hello everyone, my name is Alfreed siang  i am here to say a big thank you to my doctor DR OLU who helped me enlarge my penis.i have never had a happy relationship in my life because of my inability to perform well due to my small penis, due to frustration,i went online in search of solution to ending my predicament and than i came across testimony on how DR OLU has helped them, so i contacted him and he promised to help me with penis enlargement,i doubted at first but i gave him a trial and he sent me the product which i used according to his prescription and in less than a week,i saw changes in my penis and it grow to the size i wanted and since then,i am now a happy man and no lady complains again about my penis.if you also need the services of my doctor,you can also contact him on his email..drolusolutionhome@gmail.com   or his whataspp is +2348140654426

Swapna madhuri said...

outreach link building service

high authority link building sites
high quality link building websites
SEO Company UK

SEO Company USA

SEO Company Canada

SEO Company Australia

SEO Company New Zealand

Peter Scofield said...

Hi guys, if you have been a victim of any binary/ cryptocurrency scam, contact easybinarysolutions@gmail.com they're highly recommendable, and were efficient in getting my initially lost 2btc refunded.

Anonymous said...


🔍🔍Are you Seeking for the Best Legit Professional Hackers online??❓💻
Congratulations Your search ends right here with us. 🔍🔍

🏅COMPOSITE CYBER SECURITY SPECIALISTS is a vibrant squad of dedicated online hackers maintaining the highest standards and unparalleled professionalism in every aspect.
We Are One Of The Leading Hack Teams in The United States🇺🇸🇺🇸 With So many Accolades From The IT Companies🏆🏅🥇. In this online world there is no Electronic Device we cannot hack. Having years of experience in serving Clients with Professional Hacking services, we have mastered them all. You might get scammed for wrong hacking services or by fake hackers on the Internet. Don't get fooled by scamers that are advertising false professional hacking services via False Testimonies, and sort of Fake Write Ups. You can easily identify them because most of them uses yahoomails, gmails and other cheaper email providers which could easily expose their vulnerabilities, Please Don’t Fall For Them🚷 Come To Think Of It, Why would a Legit Hacker Be using a gmail or a cheap email provider that exposes his vulnerabilities????⚠️⚠️⚠️ ❌❌❌❌

✅ COMPOSITE CYBER SECURITY SPECIALISTS is the Answers to your prayers. We Can help you to recover the password of your email, Facebook or any other accounts, Facebook Hack, Phone Hack (Which enables you to monitor your kids/wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend, by gaining access to everything they are doing on their phone without their notice), You Wanna Hack A Website or Database? You wanna Clear your Criminal Records?? Our Team accepts all types of hacking orders and delivers assured results to alleviate your agonies and anxieties. Our main areas of expertise includes but is never confined to:

▪️ PHONE HACKING & CLONING (giving you 📱 Unnoticeable access to everything Happening on the Target’s Phone)
▪️BITCOIN MINING ⛏ And lot More.

🏅We have a trained team of seasoned professionals under various skillsets when it comes to online hacking services. Our company in fact houses a separate group of specialists who are productively focussed and established authorities in different platforms. They hail from a proven track record and have cracked even the toughest of barriers to intrude and capture or recapture all relevant data needed by our Clients. 📲💻

🏅 COMPOSITE HACKS understands your requirements to hire a professional hacker and can perceive what actually threatens you and risk your business⚔️, relationships or even life👌🏽. We are 100% trusted professional hacking Organization and keep your deal entirely confidential💯. We are aware of the hazards involved. Our team under no circumstances disclose information to any third party❌❌. The core values adhered by our firm is based on trust and faith. Our expert hacking online Organization supports you on time and reply to any query related to the unique services we offer. 💯

🏅COMPOSITE HACKS is available for customer care 24/7, all day and night. We understand that your request might be urgent, so we have a separate team of allocated hackers who interact with our Clients round the clock⏰. You are with the right people so just get started.💯✅


🔘2020 © composite cybersecurity specialists
🔘Want faster service? Contact us!
🔘All Rights Reserved ®️

Spam Leads said...

SELLING USA FRESH SSN Leads/Dead Fullz, along with Driving License/ID Number with good connectivity.


All SSN's are Tested & Verified. Fresh spammed data.


->ID State

*If you buy in bulk, will give you discount
*Hope for the long term business
*You can asked for your specific states too

**Contact 24/7**

Whatsapp > +923172721122

Email > leads.sellers1212@gmail.com

Telegram > @leadsupplier

ICQ > 752822040