What triggered South Korea’s rapid economic growth?

Some events including the student revolution of April 1960, the military coup of May 1961, strong state intervention in the economy together with the United States support through aid and access to US markets helped to raise and sustain rapid economic growth.

The students revolted against the Syngman Rhee for electoral irregularities and corruption. Government use of force against the student revolution earned them the support of the public forcing Rhee to step down. The bloodless military coup of General Park replaced the short-lived government of Chang Myun.

The military government was committed to rapid economic growth because it was essential for economic survival and dignity. It was also believed to be a national security issue considering that North Korea was more advanced economically. The military government was also unhappy about continued dependence on outside support. Furthermore, in a country where the military class was subordinated to the literary class for centuries, rapid economic growth was seen as a tool for legitimizing the military regime. Other explanations for high growth have stressed the role of the market mechanism while others have underlined a heavy dose of government intervention in the economy.

On balance it appears that government intervention was vital. The Korean economy grew at an average rate of 9 percent from 1963 to 1990. The government pushed its growth maximization policy in large part by disciplining elements including business and the working classes that deviated from the course set out in the development plans. Land reforms of the 1950s stripped the landlords of their political power and organized labor unions and other popular movements were suppressed and the middle-class did not exist when General Park assumed power.

With opposition out of the way, the military government set to maximize economic growth by focusing on the manufacturing sector that was heavily subsidized and destined for export markets. The US government provided support to the Korean economic plans and encouraged investments in infrastructure, existing industries and human resources. Although there were some critics the government pursued an industrial strategy based on ‘industrial deepening’ as the only way to realize economic self-reliance.

These policies raised and sustained Korean economic growth that averaged 9 percent between 1963 and 1990. The GDP per capita reached $6250 in 1991. However, this laudable growth maximization neglected the social ills and environmental degradation. Ipso facto, it has been argued that “The world would be on a dangerous course if the entire South [developing countries] were to emulate Korea. … the proper model of development must be one of ‘growth with environmental care’ instead of ‘growth at the expense of the environment’ as in the case of the Korean model”(V. Bhaskar and Andrew Glyn 1995).

What we have seen in Korea as in Japan reported earlier is that the state played a vital role in economic growth including using subsidies and rejecting classical comparative advantage of producing raw materials or low technology products in exchange for manufactured products from developed countries. Another lesson from the Korean case is that economic growth must pay attention to social welfare and environmental protection issues. This fits in well with the post-2015 sustainable development agenda that has been designed to integrate the dimensions of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection.

Common characteristics of Hitler and Musolin

Hitler and Mussolini shared a lot. Both came to power in Germany and Russia respectively as outsiders – Hitler from Austria and Stalin (man of steel) from Georgia. Napoleon also who ruled France was of Italian descent.

Hitler and Stalin were virtually unknown and powerless. Hitler and Stalin had little education and had no experience in international affairs. Because of these shortcomings they were underestimated as they rearmed Germany and Russia. Both Hitler and Stalin told lies to their people and the rest of the world.

Hitler, Stalin and another dictator Mussolini of Italy shared a strong determination to rewrite the results of WWI and resume the war. World War II that began in 1939 and ended in 1945 was their tailor-made and long-awaited moment (Geoffrey Blainey A Short History of the World 2002).

Do you have examples of other leaders with similar characteristics that you can share with us?

Uganda should learn from The Philippines

The principle method of UDU is to conduct civic education to bring about non-violent change in Uganda. This is the mandate we were given at the Boston conference that built on the Los Angeles conference, three months earlier.

Accordingly we have done some research to learn lessons from those that struggled before us. Studies have shown that non-violent methods are producing more results than armed struggle. Over 70 percent of authoritarian regimes are being removed by non-violence. And violent means can’t succeed unless they have external support including mercenaries as Duncan Kafero of Ugandans to the Rescue (UTR) is doing and made a very unsuccessful attempt to convince Uganda several weeks ago.

Armed struggle has been abandoned in Spain and Palestine. It was abandoned in Iran, East Timore (Timor Leste) and The Philippines. Here is what happened in The Philippines.

“In February 1986, less than two years after the start of a mass popular uprising, the Philippine dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, was ousted from power. At the time scholars predicted that the Marcos regime would be overthrown by a communist insurgency or a military coup… Instead, a popular uprising that involved nearly every segment of society, including Marcos’s armed defenders, ultimately toppled the regime. The mass civil resistance that followed a political assassination and stolen election undermined the dictator’s most important sources of domestic and international power and led to a relatively peaceful democratic transition. … The Philippines People Power movement stands as an impressive example of effective nonviolent resistance”(Chenoweth and Stephan 2011).

Four lessons are worth noticing by Ugandans.

1. The people of The Philippines came together in large numbers in a short time.

2. The participants in nonviolence came from all walks of life including sections of the armed forces led by the minister of defense and deputy army commander.

3. The Philippines had a capable leader, Cardinal Jaime Sin, the Catholic Archbishop of Manila.

4. The nonviolent rebellion had external support.

The Hague process that began in November 2013 and brought Ugandans together from home and abroad and conducted a second follow up meeting in London over the past weekend using advanced technology to obtain comments and suggestions and to reach those who could not physically attend adopted a roadmap based on nonviolent methods (It is important to note that increasingly meetings including at the United Nations are conducted through electronic arrangements including skype making it possible for people to conduct business without being physically together in one room. This method is also drastically reducing the cost of travel and associated expenses).

The next step is to designate champions to draw up action plans that are location specific to avoid a one size fits all arrangement. These plans will be used to mobilize Ugandans for non-violent resistance to unseat the NRM government, set up a transitional government, run by a presidential team to avoid possible political instability after NRM has exited (records show that when groups that came together for a common purpose of removing an unpopular regime turn against one another as they scramble to capture power leading to instability, a situation that must be avoided). The public service commission will also be run by a team to iron out sectarianism in hiring and promoting staff. The army will similarly be run by a team drawn from different parts of Uganda to avoid one army commander and generals from one region or one ethnic group as has been the case since independence.

The transitional government will then conduct a population census to determine how many we are and who we are. A national convention will follow so Ugandans decide how they want to be governed as members of one country.

Meanwhile the political playing field will be leveled for free and fair multiparty elections at an appropriate date. This way a sustainable political base will be established to enable the people of Uganda to decide who should represent them and hold them accountable for their commissions and omissions.

Ugandans are urged to give serious attention to these proposals. Time has come for Ugandans to be innovative and reject settling into routines in a dynamic world.

Why history lessons are important

A few listeners who are vocal on Radio Munansi are protesting reference to history because it is producing what they don’t want to hear. I must add that the silent majority who communicate privately are happy with the programs and have urged us to continue. The purpose of studying history is to draw lessons that help present leaders to govern better by avoiding past mistakes.

For example, it is stated that Kabaka Mwanga acted too late to control his converted subjects who had come under the influence of missionaries and disrespected the king. What lesson can we draw from this in present circumstances? If we let Museveni and NRM continue to do what they are doing especially dispossessing Ugandans of their land and giving it to foreigners, it may be too late when we decide to act. We need to do it now by vigorously opposing the new landlord tenant bill and the associated national land commission bill. Complaining is necessary but not sufficient. We must act.

The second lesson to learn is from the collapse of communism. It had been hoped that the states that broke off would stay intact. This is not what happened at least in two cases. Yugoslavia disintegrated into warring factions that became independent but problems are still there. Czechoslovakia split into two states of Czech Republic and Slovakia. This means that it is not territories that secede. It is people that do. They may choose to secede collectively or separately. If they choose the latter they move with their territories. The people in Buyaga and Bugangaizi were given three options: to choose independence; stay with Buganda; rejoin Bunyoro. They chose to rejoin Bunyoro and carried the territories with them. Baganda that are more vocal about Buganda secession need to realize that reality that it is not the territory or even leaders that choose but the people. In this connection, it is important to recognize that the Declaration on the Right of Self-determination adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1960 borrowed the language of the UN Charter which talks about the people, not countries or leaders. A paragraph in the preamble of the Self-determination declaration states:“Recognizing that the peoples of the world ardently desire the end of colonialism in all its manifestations”.

In Uganda, the manifestations of colonialism still exist, namely the territories that were incorporated into another region after they had been colonized by Britain (eventually Hong Kong went back to China).

We also need to realize that Uganda has conditions similar to former Yugoslavia and Ethiopia where territories were slammed together by some force or convenience of administration, making it difficult to refer to these entities as nations (there is no one nation in former Kigezi and Ankole. Buganda isn’t one nation because it has two ancestries (bana ba Kintu and bana ba Kimera) and people in Buganda speak their indigenous languages, Luganda is an adopted language by many living in Buganda: it is not their indigenous language).

Yugoslavia disintegrated in part for failure to compromise while Ethiopia has survived because of a federal system it adopted that has allowed Ethiopians in different regions to manage many of their affairs.

Another lesson that we should continue to stress is that marriages of convenience or appeasement policies (as is practiced particularly in Buganda) have short-term benefits. The UPC/KY and Moshi conference marriages should not be repeated because intricate issues were swept under the carpet hoping they would stay there. Sadly they didn’t. We should therefore be bold and discuss our differences and agree on shared values and a common purpose before NRM collapses. It is therefore unwise to accept the proposal that we should discuss our differences after NRM has exited.

To avoid the possibility of a political turmoil or even a civil war, it has been suggested that:

1. We should have a transitional government with all Ugandans participating including NRM.

2. To avoid one person dictatorship we should have a presidential team with every region represented.

3. To avoid jobs going disproportionately to those who are well connected, we should have a team managing the public service commission with every region represented instead of one person as chairperson.

4. The security forces should not be dominated by one region or one ethnic group. We must agree on a formula to balance appointments and promotions in the military, police and intelligence taking every region into consideration.

These innovations if adopted and implemented will likely minimize conflict that could even explode into a civil war as some groups are threatening publicly to punish others when the time comes.

Eric Kashambuzi

How the 1900 Uganda Agreement created a landed oligarchy in Buganda

We are writing these stories by popular demand and as part of civic education. We call on all Ugandans, friends and well wishers to make their constructive contribution to reach a mutually acceptable solution.

Let us begin by explaining how Buganda and Uganda came about and got mixed up. According to Peter N. Gukiina (1972), “’Uganda” meant Buganda kingdom, ‘Uganda’ being the word for ‘Buganda’ in Kiswahili”. Philip D. Curtin (2000) writes “Present-day Uganda takes its name from a Swahili corruption [irregular alteration from original state or form] of the word Buganda”. Both Swahili and Luganda are Bantu languages.

Through Stanley Kabaka Mutesa I invited Christians to come to Buganda to counter Muslim influence coming from the east and the north of the kingdom. Through an anonymous donor the C.M.S. (Church Missionary Society) received 5,000 British pounds. They arrived in 1877. In 1879 the White Fathers Missionaries arrived. Among other things, the long illness of the Kabaka opened the door for political power struggle. The four-to five hundred young pages of the Kabaka became the target of political maneuvering. Within four years Catholics and Anglicans had baptized many of Kabaka’s pages.

These christened pages provided the leadership of the Christian communities. Under pressure, the White Catholics temporarily left Buganda. Joseph Mukasa, the king’s most trusted page took over the Catholic leadership among the pages and soldiers of the bodyguards. Andrew Kagwa, master-drummer and head of Kabaka’s band joined as well as Mathew Kasule the king’s gunsmith that occupied a position of military significance. Another prominent individual who joined was Matthias Kalemba.

At the same time Baganda leaders of the Anglican Church were emerging. In 1886 12 of them including Nikodemo Sebwato were appointed as a Church council.

Kabaka Mwanga who is believed to have converted to Catholicism appointed Joseph Mukasa to the post of major-domo and Andrew Kagwa became inseparable hunting and travelling companion of Mwanga.

A fierce struggle for power developed between these young Christian pages and the older tribal chiefs led by the Katikkiro. The latter didn’t fare well. When it was learned that the Germans had occupied Tanganyika coastal areas and Buganda would be next, the tribal chiefs advised the Kabaka that the pages represented the spearhead of European intervention in Buganda. In October 1885 Joseph Mukasa was executed for protesting against the murder of the first Anglican bishop Hannington. In 1886 up to one hundred Christians were martyred including Andrea Kagwa and Matthias Kalemba while other leaders including Sebwato and Apolo Kagwa were severely beaten. For three years the religious groups rebelled forcing Mwanga to accept Christians and appointing Apolo Kagwa as the Katikkiro and other Christians that replaced the older chiefs.

While regents, it was this new oligarchy (few Baganda) with Anglicans in a better position led by Apolo Kagwa having defeated Catholics and Muslims with Captain Lugard’s help that negotiated the 1900 Uganda Agreement with Sir Harry Johnston. The Lukkiko was packed with Christian and few Muslim representatives – saza chiefs (there were no representatives of pagans or those who followed traditional faiths in the Lukiiko). The power shifted from traditional chiefs and the Kabaka to the three regents and Lukiiko members (the 1955 Agreement reduced the Kabaka to a constitutional head and the new Kabaka has been reduced by NRM government to a mere cultural leader).

The entire land tenure system of Buganda was revolutionized from the peasants (Bakopi) and their clan heads (Bataka) to new owners: the Kabaka and his relatives, regents, chiefs and other few notables that took half of the land and the rest became Crown land. The Lukiiko had responsibility for allocating land to the new landlords. After land had been allocated to them they chose who should settle on their estates. This resulted in unprecedented human resettlement with so many adverse economic, social and cultural outcomes. Bataka protested all the way to the colonial office in London but got nothing even when there was recognition that the idea was a bad one but it was too late to reverse. The Bakopi and Bataka land was not returned and were not compensated.

The new land revolution under the NRM government is even worse. The new land owners are mostly foreigners and tenants are being forced from the land and pushed into urban slums with all the economic, social and cultural suffering. The situation will get worse when land is finally privatized to large scale foreign farmers who will use capital intensive methods to produce for external markets. Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi has championed privatization of Uganda land to large-scale mostly foreign farmers after he returned from a mission abroad.

As noted already, the original owners of the land were dispossessed without compensation. Ipso facto, their complaint still stands. The regents were bribed to accept Johnston’s decision to dispossess Baganda, Banyoro and other clans that were incorporated into the 1900 Uganda Agreement. Katikiro Apolo was bribed with 20 extra square miles and 100 head of cattle, Mugwanya with 15 extra square miles and Kangawo with ten (J. V. Wild 1950).

The 1955 Buganda Agreement did not replace the 1900 Agreement and land was not touched. Amin in his 1975 land decree made all land in Uganda public under leasehold occupation which ended Mailo land. NRM restored it to the owners or their descendants.

Resettlement of Luwero Triangle after the guerrilla war favored foreigners as the exercise was undertaken by resistance committees directed by NRM that is directed by foreigners. People are demanding land reform but the elites that are benefitting from the status quo are putting up stiff resistance through their agents.

For Uganda to achieve lasting peace, security and stability this historical injustice needs to be addressed during the negotiations for a federal system of governance. Those who are calling for self-determination in Buganda and elsewhere and demanding that everyone should go to where they belong have a valid point and shouldn’t be ignored.

It must be recognized that revolutions are more often than not anchored on land issues, witness the revolutions in France in 1789, Mexico in 1910, Russia in 1917 and more recently Ethiopia in 1974. Uganda leadership – present and future – can’t afford to ignore this lesson indefinitely.


Uganda opposition groups must disclose their strategies and structures

There are many Ugandans as individuals and groups that are participating in public criticism of NRM lack of transparency and accountability but they refuse to identify who they are by real names or what they stand for and how they are organized and funded.

Those especially in military organizations have argued that because of security considerations, their activities including recruitment and organizational structures will remain secret until NRM is removed from power. They will continue to raise funds but will not disclose how much and how they are used. Such groups have no moral standing to oppose NRM when they are behaving the same. In both cases transparency and accountability are missing.

NRM which unseated the Okello regime informed the Uganda people and others what its strategy was and its administrative structure. And the leadership was known by their real names. Lule, Museveni, Kisekka and late Kategaya etc never used fake names. Even the military commanders and leaders of external committees etc were known. NRM began publishing its work from August 1981 until December 1985. See their publication titled Mission to Freedom (1990). Why are current organizations refusing to disclose their strategies and structure or reporting the successes they have made so far?

In his article on the military strategy of NRA Museveni spelled out what they were doing. NRM also disclosed its organizational structure as follows:

The National Resistance Council composed of civilian and military members. It had four Sub-committees:

1. Finance and Supplies;

2. Political and diplomatic;

3. Public and propaganda;

4. The External committee.

UDU has its published strategy in the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and its committee that runs the affairs of the umbrella organization.

At our meeting in The Hague we agreed to focus on: mobilization, media, program/think tank, fund raising and legal. Once this arrangement has been endorsed at the next meeting we shall officially inform the public. We have also agreed to set up a leadership team that will be announced once agreed upon that will work in a transparent manner and be held accountable for omissions and commissions.

We appeal to those organizations and individuals working publically to unseat NRM to come forward and let us have their profiles and philosophies or strategies and organizational structures.

Eric Kashambuzi, UDU