What Is Africa's Problem?

What Is Africa's Problem?

What Is Africa's Problem?

What Is Africa's Problem?

Synopsis

Recent seismic shifts in Congo and Rwanda have exposed the continued volatility of the state of affairs in central Africa. As African states have shaken off their postcolonial despots, new leaders with sweeping ideas about a pan-African alliance have emerged -- and yet the internecine struggles go on. What is Africa's problem? As one of the leaders expressing a broad and forceful vision for Africa's future, Uganda's Yoweri K. Museveni is perhaps better placed than anyone in the world to address the very question his book poses.

In 1986, after more than a decade of armed struggle, a rebellion led by Museveni toppled the dictatorship of Idi Amin, and Museveni, at 42, became president of Uganda, a country at that time in near total disarray. Since then, Uganda has made remarkable strides in political, civic, and economic arenas, and Museveni has assumed the role of "the eminence grise of the new leadership in central Africa" (Philip Gourevitch, The New Yorker). As such, he has proven a powerful force for change, not just in Uganda but across the turbulent span of African states.

This collection of Museveni's writings and speeches lays out the possibilities for social change in Africa. Working with a broad historical understanding and an intimate knowledge of the problems at hand, Museveni describes how movements can be formed to foster democracy, how class consciousness can transcend tribal differences in the development of democratic institutions, and how the politics of identity operate in postcolonial Africa. Museveni's own contributions to the overthrow of Zaire's Mobutu Sese Seko and to the political transformation of Uganda suggest the kind of change that may sweep Africa indecades to come. What Is Africa's Problem? gives a firsthand look at what those changes might be, how they might come about, and what they might mean.

Excerpt

Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere

Uganda became politically independent in October 1962; Yoweri K. Museveni was sworn in as president of the country at the end of January 1986, after his National Resistance Army occupied Kampala. In the intervening period, six different men (Milton Obote on two separate occasions) had been sworn in as president. They included the infamous General Idi Amin, whose eight-year regime of mass murder, cruel and ruthless torture, economic destruction, and deliberately imposed misery still leaves its shadow over the people of Uganda, years after he was overthrown.

The politics, and the political turmoil, of any country are the exclusive business of the people of that nation unless and until they impinge directly on the territorial integrity of another country. Such an instance arose when Idi Amin’s army invaded the undefended northwest border of Tanzania in October 1978, and he boasted about the occupation and speed of advance to the Kagera River.

There can be—and indeed are—arguments about whether the United Nations or regional political associations should really allow dictators (however they may have obtained their power) to pursue with impunity policies of crass inhumanity as long as they confine their activities to the helpless victims in their own state. But until now that has been the internationally accepted interpretation of “non-interference in the internal affairs of another sovereign state.” It has allowed the Hitlers, the Salazars, the Francos, the Pol Pots, the Bokassas, and the Amins of this century to continue their murderous policies for years — sometimes . . .

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