As we continue to see how to develop a critical mass, it is important that we distinguish between political education and civic education. The political education (Chakamuchaka) that many Ugandans received was designed to serve the specific interests of the NRM organization particularly the political construction that the NRM is far superior and historically unmatched compared to other regimes and that this can be evidenced by their numerous achievements plus their long stay in power.
The people who have undertaken these trainings are proudly referred to as NRM ‘Cadrers’, and because the undertaking involve military drills, party discipline and loyalty are strongly inculcated into the easily impressionable minds of the mostly young people. With this they are very adamant to change or even to any suggestion of reform latter alone transition from the continued 30 year old reign of their dearly beloved leader.
This communist type indoctrination was typical of many liberation movements across Africa that saw a lot of hard lined groups crop up and a lot of blood shed in many useless wars as each group sought to prove its own doctrine (siasa) as superior.
Civic education on the hand involves generally awakening the wider population to their roles, rights and responsibilities as citizens to their duty in the comprehensive development of society irrespective of the political affiliations that prevail, again all achievements are the achievements of the people not those of the regime in power however superior or however fantastically propagandized. It is this sober, objective and critical appreciation of our society that can enable us make the necessary leap into development, a development that will ensure that majority of us are actually moving from a peasantry lifestyle to a modern enlightened one not a development based on unrepresentative statistics generated to depict an outstanding performance by government interested in winning continued favor with our ‘foreign development partners’. While we should appreciate the enormous foreign assistance we have received as Uganda, majority of Ugandans are not aware, not involved in the planning or setting of priorities and not even mindful that this assistance and revenues generated by government are meant for their development not a reward to a sitting government to dispense as suits its political agenda.
People should begin to critically question themselves and their leaders about the general state of their society outside the pretensions of the superiority of the prevailing political construction built on their ignorance of how society evolves over time from scattered peasant communities into a well organized knowledge based society in which people freely interact and engage issues concerning their society’s development and are even able to take appropriate determined action to direct it. When society has grown to a point that it can without fear or favor call its leadership to account on issues that they themselves regard as priority and are able to challenge government’s propaganda justifying otherwise and demand actual performance, then a critical mass has begun to develop.
Much of the African population has by tradition been conditioned to believe that those that occupy their respective governments are an exclusive class of people that are doing the majority of the others a privilege to lead them and as such any objection is regarded as out of order, to be avoided, discouraged or otherwise violently defeated no matter how noble. It is this perception that a critical mass must overcome.
It is no surprise that Africa has remained backward and behind, people are deliberately kept ignorant about how government functions and only conveniently instructed on how to support and vote for the incumbent leadership but not empowered to question its performance or to even compare that performance to their alternative aspirations. The prevailing aspirations of our societies are mainly politicized to the advantage of those who would and can opportunistically manipulate them for their own interests yet what much of our populations require is how to move away from poverty and the underdevelopment we have been associated with for ages and seem not to break irrespective of the many fantastic claims by some of our ‘historically superior’ governments.
Our people must awaken to the fact that they have these long term or that they have developed aspirations which they can no longer allow to be subordinated to the popular politics of the day, either the incumbents or those seeking office will lead us on to development or we get them out or reject them irrespective of their claim of political superiority. This is what a critical mass does as its duty, right and responsibility.