Saturday, May 18, 2019

UGANDA: Uneducated and unemployed youth - a security strategy


CHANGE OF GUARDS - Youth unemployment is a major economic problem in Third World countries and more specifically in black African chronically autocratic governments. The problem is worsened by the fact that these youths are unemployable owing to a deliberate policy to deny them the required educational skills. On top of the deliberate policy of impoverishment and reigning over an ignorant society, autocratic governments breed such youths as a reserve force for their internal and external wars of aggression.

Autocratic governments build their armies not for fighting wars but as a tool of suppressing internal dissent. They use the cover of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the state to swindle public resources through the huge defense budgets. They set minimum education standards in qualifying to join the army which eliminates the uneducated youths. Consequently, the autocratic governments boast of how they have built an educated and professional army.

However, when they are faced by a military threat from both within and outside, they run to the same uneducated and unemployed youths for conscription to boost their ranks. These so-called uneducated and unemployed youths enthusiastically enlist so as to earn a living. In some cases the enlistment is as a result of a systematic blackmail whereby the autocratic government first subjects these youths to constant harassment through arrests and detention on allegations of fanning crime. To secure themselves, youths enlist with government militia programs. Once the threat is over, such conscripts are merely disbanded and they continue with their life of destitution while awaiting for another opportunity when their services would be required.

This has been the state of affairs in Museveni's Uganda for the last 33 years. His Bush War NRA was built on the same principle of tapping into the uneducated and unemployed Baganda youths whom he calls peasants. Once he captured power, he embarked on their systematic discard under the guise of building an educated and professional army. To deal with the insurgency in northern and eastern Uganda, he had to use different militia groups of the uneducated and unemployed youths. Many were disbanded thereafter while a few were incorporated into the army. It was the same story in the Rwenzori region against the ADF insurgents and the Congo military expedition. Not to mention what happened to the hoax of eleven million Crime Preventers. What about all the graduates of millions of Ugandans who for three decades have undergone paramilitary drills dubbed Mchakamchaka.

Now with the looming threat of an international uprising and invasion of Rwanda, he is busy building a new force from the uneducated and unemployed youths, dubbed LDUs. Around late last year he decreed the recruitment of 24,000 LDU personnel. In February 2019, Two Thousand plus were passed out in Kasese. In March 2019, he presided over the pass out of another Six Thousand at Kaweweta. The latter group was deployed in Kampala to counter the anticipated opposition led mass uprising and is already on rampage.

Usually, the army has two recruitment models: the Cadet Officers model that requires recruits to have a minimum education of an Advanced Level and the general recruits and the general recruits who need to have a minimum education of Ordinary Level. The regime has always hid behind this education qualifications to advance its nepotism and sectarian practices in promotions and deployments. However, when faced with a serious threat, it shifts the goal post and goes for the uneducated and unemployed youths to confront the challenge.
The 'uneducated' Gen. Kyaligonza put it much clearly in a recent media interview:

"In any case, people are in the army and are philosophers, have all the education but are not generals. This means it is not about education. If it were about knowing how to command an army, then I would allow. Gen.  Kyaligonza, a major general, an army and give another to any random full general. Let us face each other in a war and see whether he will escape my tactics. I will beat all of you."

Other than the Commando training that Gen. Kyaligonza acquired from Greece under the Iddi Amin regime in the mid 1970s, he has never undergone any other military training. Despite his excellent performance during the Bush War, upon coming to power he was never given any opportunity to advance his military career. Instead he held the same rank for twenty years. 
His assertion that he can still beat highly trained Generals in battle is proof that the requirement of formal education is good for military service but it is being exploited by autocratic regimes for selfish ends. Otherwise, how did the likes of Generals Kony, Saleh, Rwigyema and others excel as military geniuses with the minimum Ordinary Level of formal education.

Therefore, the uneducated and unemployed youths under autocratic governments are a military reserve.


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