Friday, June 08, 2007

What are these elections about?

The Ugandan general election of 2006 took place on February 23 ,2006. This was the first multi-party election since Yoweri Museveni , the current president , took over power in 1986. Official figures released showed Museveni had won 59% of the vote, giving him a third term as President, while main rival Kizza Besigye took 37%.

Opposition supporters staged some protests but were dispersed by riot police with tear gas . The Supreme Court of Uganda rejected Besigye's request to dismiss the poll by a vote of four to three, though a majority agreed that there had been electoral irregularities .

The following article was a leaflet produced for that election by a group of socialists in Uganda .

On 23 February we are being given a rare chance to have a political say. But none of the candidates presenting themselves have any solution to the problems facing the great majority of people in Uganda: The high level of unemployment. The health service, transport system and education that have crumbled down. The widespread poverty, even though Uganda is a fertile land with plenty of food resources.

Meanwhile a civil war has been going on in the North leaving about half a million people dead and 3 million living in refugee camps. Resources have been wasted on military adventures in the Congo. Nepotism and corruption and the embezzlement of State funds are rife.

Some people say that this is all the fault of Museveni and his twenty-year old regime. Vote him and his cronies out, they say, and put us in his place and things will be alright. But they wouldn’t. All that would happen is that there would be a change of those in charge of the State and a different set of politicians to plunder resources and practise nepotism, bribery and corruption.

Kicking Museveni out and putting Besigye in would make no difference. That’s because the problems we face are not caused by the political regime or by which band of politicians runs the State. They are caused by the economic system where the food, clothes, housing and all the other things we need are not produced to meet our needs but to make a profit. It’s the capitalist profit system that has to go before we can solve these problems.

But the profit system is global and no country, certainly not a small one like Uganda with little industry, can escape its consequences. People everywhere depend for their existence on the resources of the world, natural and manufactured, but today in all countries these are owned and controlled by a small minority who will only allow them to be used if there is a profit in it for them. In every country society is divided into a rich minority and the rest of us who have to suffer from the profit system that only benefits them.

This minority doesn’t hesitate to use armed force to acquire the resources it needs, oil in the Middle East, a whole range of minerals in the Congo. And it is always ordinary people who are victims of its wars, as we in this region of the world know only too well.

The basic economic law of the profit system is "no profit, no production". That’s why in Uganda - but it’s the same in other countries too - there is high unemployment and widespread poverty. That’s why, in a world of potential plenty, we have to put up with a health service, transport system, and education that have crumbled down.

The only solution is for the resources and wealth of the world to be owned and controlled by all the people of the world so that they can be used to benefit everyone - world-wide socialism.

So don’t vote for any of the candidates in these elections. But, if you agree with what you’ve read in this leaflet, write "I WANT WORLD SOCIALISM" across your voting paper.

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