With my own initiative and resources and alone, I have researched, written and published extensively about the Horn and Great Lakes regions of Africa with a focus on Rwanda and Uganda – the two neighboring countries. I have tried to understand the root causes and consequences of endemic conflicts in these two regions.
By way of comparison, I have also tried to understand the causes and consequences of conflicts in the French, Mexican, Russian, Ethiopian and Iranian Revolutions and People’s Power in South Korea during the presidency of Syngman Rhee and in the Philippines during the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos.
I have concluded that by and large conflicts start when individuals struggle for political power to access economic resources and enrich themselves. In doing so, they rely on members of their class, ethnicity or faith – hence class, ethnic or religious wars.
The winners do everything to cling to power by using repressive tools like the military, intelligence and police and reliance on external support. They violate the political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights of the losers hoping the latter would be controlled and exploited forever.
My research findings show that no situation is permanent. Ultimately the rulers are resisted even by some of their supporters; the oppressed get organized and fight back and external support is withdrawn. And the revolution which has long-term, immediate and trigger causes occurs that more often than not is followed by a civil war as different groups that defeated the oppressive regime fight one another to capture power.
The story of Uganda is that coalitions of convenience, use of security forces and external support have failed to keep one group in power permanently. The lessons of the 1966, 1971 and 1979 conflicts; the Luwero Triangle guerrilla war and civil wars in Northern and Eastern Uganda show beyond a shadow of doubt that no one group can defeat and subjugate another forever.
To avoid a political explosion, it is suggested that Ugandans together as equals begin a process of finding lasting solutions without further delay. This will happen only when Ugandans are gathered together in a national convention to debate and decide how they want to be governed. Another war won’t do. An inclusive transitional government should be formed run by a presidential team to avoid concentrating too much power in the hands of one president.
The transitional government should then organize free and fair multiparty elections with the understanding that members in the transitional government would not participate in the elections as they would have advantages of incumbency over other candidates.
Those interested in my research work and findings please visit www.kashambuzi.com.