I know some Bahutu (Hutu) and Bairu (Iru) in diaspora who supported Tutsi return to Rwanda, by force if necessary, because they had been rejected in neighboring countries – witness their expulsion from Uganda in 1982 – and Rwanda government did not want them because there was no room for more people. Habyarimana government described Rwanda as a country unsustainably overpopulated and recommended that Tutsi should stay where they had been given asylum.
In recognition of Tutsi suffering in exile, the international community put pressure on Rwanda government to negotiate a settlement with the Tutsi-dominated Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) for a government of national unity and the return of Rwandan refugees. The RPF had a different idea – the restoration of their supremacy over Bahutu as they had done until 1959 when Bahutu ‘Social Revolution’ through Batutsi out of power and out of the country.
Since the 1990s, Uganda under the leadership of President Museveni has been described by donors, foreign media and the United Nations as a ‘success story’ and a Washington Consensus ‘star performer’. When the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came to power in 1986, Uganda had suffered fifteen years of political instability and economic collapse. There was excess capacity of idle labor, land and industries. The latter were performing at twenty percent of installed capacity. What Uganda needed was political stability and some foreign currency with which to import spare parts and inputs like hoes to rehabilitate the economy.
The government restored security in the southern half of the country and development partners provided funds after an agreement was signed with the International Monetary Fund in May 1987 making Uganda a ‘shock therapist’. With the blessing of good weather, excess capacity, resilient and hardworking people, the economy recorded rapid growth reaching 10 percent in mid-1990s albeit from a low base, inflation was tamed by reducing money in circulation, raising interest rates, balancing the budget largely by dismissing civil servants, introducing fees, eliminating some schools or classes and reducing teachers, charging fees for health services and reducing or eliminating subsidies. Because of these reforms, Uganda became a star performer and a successful ‘adjusting’ country.
The population dimension has featured prominently in the reviews of Uganda’s five-year development plan which was launched on Monday April 19, 2010. In considering this issue let us remember that:
First, individuals and couples have a human right to determine freely the number of children they need, when to start having them and how to space them. This is in line with the 1994 Cairo conference on population and development and the recently concluded 43rd session of the UN commission on population and development. Authorities should provide information and facilities to enable individuals and couples full fill their rights voluntarily.
Second, according to Article II (iv) of the Convention on Genocide (1948), imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group [e.g. of poor people] constitutes an act of genocide.
Third, population growth in a country is largely a result of poverty and migration. Poor people as we have in Uganda tend to produce many children because mortality rate in that group is still high, poor parents depend on children in old age, and a subsistence economy requires more hands than a modern one. Children of poor people drop out of school early and get married in their teens and begin to produce children right away. Reducing poverty and keeping girls at school beyond primary education and empowering women reduce fertility rates without controversy.
On Monday April 19, 2010 President Museveni launched Uganda’s five-year development plan. During the ceremony, he stated that at the beginning of his administration in 1986, NRM had plans to introduce a development plan but it was told that planning was out of date. Instead NRM was told to control inflation, ensure macro stability and leave the rest to the private sector. He did not specify who gave this advice.
When NRM came to power, it soon realized that unless it entered into an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) first, external funding would be withheld. For almost a year and a half, the government debated various options of engagement with the IMF under Washington Consensus or stabilization and structural adjustment conditions. The debates chaired or attended by the president were dominated by two schools of thought represented by the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development. The Ministry of Finance and possibly Central Bank opted for a gradual and sequenced approach to minimize the costs of adjustment drawing lessons from Obote II government’s experience with structural adjustment began in 1981. The Ministry of Planning and Economic Development supported a ‘shock therapy’ alternative that required implementation of all adjustment conditions at once. Finally, the President endorsed the shock therapy alternative.
According to Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide is defined as “any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as: (1) killing members of the group; (2) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (3) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (4) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (5) forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”. Genocide is a crime under international law whether committed in time of peace or in time of war.
According to Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary massacre means: (1) the indiscriminate, merciless killing of a number of human beings or, sometimes, animals; wholesale slaughter; (2) an overwhelming defeat.
This could mean killing people of a particular group – ethnic, religious, racial or opposition, conveying the same meaning as in (1) above under genocide.
Examples from Rwanda
On April 19, 2010, President Museveni launched a five-year development plan in Uganda with a focus, inter alia, on full employment and state intervention, reminiscent of Keynesian economic model which drove the post world war economic boom until the second half of the 1970s when a combination of stagnant economic growth, rising unemployment and inflation (stagflation) rendered the model irrelevant. It was replaced by the Washington Consensus or stabilization and structural adjustment programs (SAPs). Unlike the Keynesian model which focused on creating jobs and promoting state participation in the economy, the Washington Consensus focused, inter alia, on macroeconomic stability through inflation control and private sector participation in the economy as the engine of growth under the guidance of the invisible hand of the market forces and a trickle down mechanism.
In Africa Ghana was among the first countries to embrace the Washington Consensus. A combination of factors which included excess capacity, the return of Ghanaians from Nigeria that boosted the numbers of cheap labor, generous donations, good weather including adequate rainfall, favorable trade conditions, guidance from the IMF, the World Bank and prominent international development economists as well as a committed government under the leadership of Jerry Rawlings, Ghana registered rapid economic growth and per capita GDP. It became a “star performer and success story” to be emulated by other developing countries.
The NRM government has decided to launch a development plan in April 2010 which is a fundamental departure from the Washington Consensus or stabilization and structural adjustment program (SAP) that was launched in 1987 and has been praised by the government and donors – state and non-state actors alike – as a “success story” in macroeconomic stability, rapid economic growth, privatization of the economy, diversification of exports, streamlining public service and reducing poverty etc. Uganda became the darling of the west – which occasionally gave more money than the government had requested – and an example of economic development to be emulated by other developing countries wishing to transform their economies and societies.
Until now the government has been publishing statistics showing rosy achievements and projections that promised better days ahead with endorsement by some donors like the International Monetary Fund. The launching of the development plan – the use of the term “new plan” gives an impression that it is replacing an “old plan” which did not exist – at this critical juncture raises the following initial questions that need to be answered.
First, instead of a whole new development ideology embodied in the development plan, why did the government not make substantial changes and retain the current program?
Many readers have contacted and thanked me for the commendable work I am doing on Bahororo story. They think, however, that I have not done enough to explain who lived in Rujumbura and what they did before 1800 when Bahororo led by Bashambo clan under the leadership of Rwebiraro arrived in search of a new home 60-90 years after the disintegration of Mpororo kingdom which covered parts of southwest Uganda and northern Rwanda.
In Uganda Bahima, under the leadership of Bahinda clan, replaced Bahororo and renamed Bairu (slaves) or commoners the people they took over from Bahororo who had been called Bahororo – the people of Mpororo. Bahororo who founded Mpororo kingdom were Batutsi from Rwanda. So when they founded Mpororo all the people who had been living in the area and known by their clan names became Bahororo.
Because the United Nations Commission on Population and Development has just concluded its 43rd session in New York (April 12-16, 2010) with Uganda delegation in attendance, this is the time to revisit Uganda’s demographic dynamics. According to the United Nations (2009) population estimates, Uganda’s population – using the median variant – grew from 5, 158,000 in 1950 to 33,797,000 in 2010. It is projected to reach 83,847, 000 in 2045 if no major changes take place.
At the national level, population growth is a function of births over deaths, and in-migrants over out-migrants. Therefore to understand Uganda’s population dynamics we need to disaggregate the contribution made by natural increase (births over deaths) and net migration (in-migrants over out-migrants). This disaggregation will help to understand better the causes of each component – why some social classes produce more than others, and why and where migrants come from. This disaggregated information will help authorities and their development partners to make informed and appropriate population policy decisions for each component.
The recently concluded 43rd session of the Commission on Population and Development (April 12-16, 2010), had an intensive debate on Health, Morbidity, Mortality and Development. Uganda was represented at the meeting, participated actively in the debates and made a statement at the plenary.
It was recognized that while commendable progress had been made in health over the last ten years, much more remained to be done in many developing countries especially the least developed ones to address the ‘double burden’ of infectious and parasitic diseases, emerging and re-emerging communicable diseases, and increasing non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, stroke and diabetes. Maternal and child health had made the slowest progress in the last decade. It was stressed that poverty, inequality and vulnerability have had far-reaching repercussions on the health of many people within and between nations.
The commission stressed that improving health will need to go beyond constructing hospitals and clinics and providing medicines, and adopt a multi-sector approach that includes health education, nutrition, safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation, environmental protection, reproductive health, training and retention of staff.