Subject: Vision 2040 is Illusion 2040
When Museveni with great fan fare brought out his Vision 2040 many people were taken for a ride. Without independent ability (I am using Musevni’s words) to analyse, many people by merely seeing the beautiful pictures in the publication as well viewing Museveni with awe, thought that by 2040 Uganda would have gotten rid of peasants as Museveni claimed. This is an illusion.
The problem is that Museveni’s proposal to get rid of peasants is based on a wrong perception of the peasantry. We need to ask: Who are peasants? And where do they come from? Or better still what economic forces bring about peasants. Without first answering these questions it is impossible to bring about a meaningful policy on the peasantry.
Peasants have been defined as those who labor on the land and posses their means of production i.e. tools and the land itself.
The foremost student of peasants and politics was Lenin. He taught that the peasantry is transitional class. It is a vestige of the feudal mode of production which was/is disintegrating and giving way to the capitalist mode of production.
In places like England, in the initial period of capitalism there were peasants. The source of the peasantry in England was very different from that in a peripheral capitalist country like Uganda. There the peasantry was a remnant of the feudal mode of production which was disintegrating and giving way to capitalism.
Despite the common talk about feudalism in some parts of Uganda, feudalism has never really existed in Uganda. Strictly speaking feudalism was the mode of production which existed in Europe.
In terms of modes of production we have had the tributary mode of production in Buganda, Bunyoro and Toroo. In other parts of Uganda we had the lineage mode of production.
With the imposition of capitalism through colonisation, just as it happened with the case of replacement of feudalism by capitalism in England, which process generated a peasantry, the replacement of the pre-capitalist modes of production by capitalism in Uganda has also given rise to the class of people we call peasants.
Lenin went on to further teach that there were two ways by which the peasant would be wiped out by the advance of capitalism. The first, which he called the ‘Junker’ road, is characterized by the large landholders themselves initiating and guiding the process of transition.
In this case the large pre-capitalist estates are transformed slowly into capitalist enterprises, leaving intact not only the extensive landholdings, but also many of the systems of control over the labourers.
Lenin suggested that when development follows this model, capitalism matures exceedingly slowly, and aspects of the pre-capitalist relations of production continue to exist for a considerable period.
He contrasted this with the ‘farmer’ road which is characterized by a revolution led by the peasantry which destroys the large landed estates arid” abolishes the relations of servitude. Out of this emerges a large peasantry, or class of farmers, with small plots of land.
The process of differentiation of the peasantry proceeds rapidly and the development of capitalism is unfettered by the remnants of the pre-capitalist mode of production, which permits the rapid development of the forces of production.
The later of the two methods is the one closest to the Uganda situation. We don’t have the large scale estates. however, we already have individualised peasants who own their small plots of land and work on them. Further to that we are already seeing capitalist farmers who are farming in large enterprises.
In either method Lenin is talking about, it is the capitalist mode of production replacing the pre-capitalist modes of production.This is totally different from Museveni who thinks by merely pouring money he will get rid of the peasantry.
Besides Museveni does not seem to realise that the peasantry has existed in other countries other than Uganda. And if they have existed in other countries other than Uganda, why shouldn’t Museveni ask himself: how come those countries haven’t got rid of their peasantry the way he is proposing to do in Uganda?
The answer to this question may not be too difficult to find. It is not the first time Museveni has projected himself as a genius who can do what others can’t do. We should all be aware that when he had just come to power he used to talk about grandiose plans which never came to anything.
In the same way this Vision 2040 is a grandiose plan which will come to naught. To sum it up: Vision 2040 is nothing but Illusion 2040.
Yoga Adhola is a leading ideologue of UPC