Last Updated on: 23rd February 2023, 12:49 am
Writing in The Observer on January 30, 2021, Harold Acemah, a political scientist and former Ambassador of Uganda penned that he consulted a senior congressman at UPC headquarters who instantly told him that UPC is a social-democratic party committed to working relentlessly for the vital interests of the farmers and workers of Uganda.
“I put it to him that I thought UPC had since 1969 adopted Socialism as its ideology and the blueprint for that ideology was the ‘Common Man’s Charter,’” he added.
“He (senior congressman) retorted that since 1980, UPC had moved right and was now, at best, slightly left of centre.”
“Further research revealed to me that as of now (at that time) UPC actually has no clear–cut ideology. I believe other political parties in Uganda are in a similar position. What is an ideology?”
According to John Plamenatz, Acemah wrote, “Ideology is a “set of closely related beliefs or ideas, or even attitudes, characteristic of a group or community.”
Hence a political ideology is “a set of ideas and beliefs that people hold about their political regime and its institutions and about their own position and role in it.’’
Political ideology is, therefore, synonymous with “political culture” and “political tradition.” In many African countries, “individualism” and “opportunism” are rampant and could more or less qualify to be political ideologies.
What is “new” in Congress?
On Wednesday, the party spokesperson Arach Oyat Sharon said UPC has re-launched the Ideology School training during the last quarter of 2022.
She revealed that classes are every Friday from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.” Arrangements are underway to have UPC Ideology School also re-launched in sub-regions across the country, ” she added.
Like Acemah, Dr S.K. Simba of Makerere University presented a paper on “Parties, Politics and Ideology in Uganda” on March 12, 2015, and this was part of his presentation:
“..when UPC regained power in December 1980, several factors shaped its ideological stance. It was conscious of the fact that
its move to the left had partly contributed to the overthrow of its government in 1971.”
“Secondly, the economic decline
during Amin’s regime necessitated a new strategy for economic reconstruction. Thirdly, the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM), a new party formed in 1980, attracted several of its members with a radical and socialist ideological orientation.”
“Lastly, on the global scene, socialism as an ideology was losing appeal. On the African continent, much as socialism had been
successful as an ideology for liberation against colonial rule, where it had been adopted as an ideology for economic
transformation, such as Tanzania and Guinea, it had not achieved much… ”
Lira Ideology School was launched in July 2010 and there were lectures at the home of the party’s founding father, the Late Dr Apollo Milton Obote in senior quarters, Lira City East.
Arach also spoke of the countrywide tours of the party’s top leaders aimed at, among others, recruiting new members.
“In July last year (2022), the party vice president Mr Fahad Mutenderwa Kinyiri and some cabinet members embarked on countrywide consultations to interface with sub-regional leadership and membership. This has helped the party a lot in identifying and collecting members’ views while at the same time ensuring that the rank and file of the party remain focused on achieving the objectives and aims of UPC.”
The regional meetings, she said started from Busoga, and proceeded to Bukedi, Bugisu, Sebei, Greater Mukono, Greater Kampala, Greater Luwero and Greater Masaka.
“And early this month, the vice president was in the Rwenzori sub-region in Fort Portal City. Last week, the secretary-general Hon. Ebil Fred, assistant national chairperson Ms Brenda Kinyera Atim and the chief administrative secretary Mr David Baliraine traversed the entire Acholi sub-region.”
These broader consultations, according to Arach help the party to move forward on sure grounds as they are more practical, involving, and soul-searching.
“It is a renewal of membership and recruitment drive. These meetings will move to other areas of the country.”