Uganda Today:I am sure if you are a keen follower of progression and transgression in human relations, looking at the title would immediately push you to ask: Why not interdependence or independence or dependence instead?
Well, nothing wrong. Interdependence, independence and dependence exist. Also, inter-dependency, independency and dependency exist. However, they do not exactly mean the same thing.
What moved me to coin the title of this article the way I have was the fact that when I was an undergraduate student of the University of Dar-es-Salaam in the very early 1970s, studying Zoology (i.e the broad knowledge of animals, their structure, function, ecology and ways of life) and Botany (i.e., the broad knowledge field of plants, their structures, functions and ways of life), I was introduced to the cross-cutting knowledge field of Development Studies, in which the term dependency predominated in the literature.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines Dependency as “the state of relying on somebody or something for something especially when it is not normal or necessary”.
It is not the same as Dependence, which the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines as “the state of needing the help and support of somebody or something in order to survive or be successful.
Therefore, dependency is exploitative while dependence is conservationist. For example, in African socio-economic system of extended family system the help and support by an individual who had economic and social power ensured that several people in several families survived the rigors living.
The beneficiaries also depended on each other psychologically, health-wise and in food production.
Dependency is the reason why countries are suffering ever spiraling debt burdens, ignoring development of their rich resource bases – natural and human – in favour of inflows of technical, financial and intellectual capital from the exploitative sources.
Independence has been defined as “freedom from control by other countries”. However, it could also mean freedom from control by other people. Independent thought or action by an individual means freedom to think and act without influences from others.
We can define Independency as “the state of being free from the influence of others” in terms of thinking and action.
The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines Interdependence as “depending on each other”. Indeed, interdependence is what God desired when he created Nature. He wanted all beings and non-beings to be a complete whole of interconnected, interdependent unit. Unfortunately, growing human foolishness and stupidity has meant that the inter-connectivity and interdependence is violated.
Inter-dependency is then the state of being unable to live apart form others. Although basically a natural scientist, I took the study of Development Studies very seriously. it did a lot to transform my outlook, which persists today. I was an extremely good student in Development Studies and my essays used to be distributed across the university curriculum for my colleagues in different Faculties to read.
They were written simply but were very effective in making my colleague to gain the necessary knowledge, wisdom, understanding and insights in that knowledge field. One would not proceed with one’s degree in whatever field unless one passed development studies. The Development Studies programme was done in the first year of the undergraduate studies across the university curriculum.
If I still seek interconnections and interdependence in my reasoning and actions, it is because of my background experiences with Development Studies, zoology and botany.
As I said, the word dependency predominated the literature of Development Studies, and most likely in the social sciences and the humanities (arts).
It was used to describe the poor countries, some emerged from colonialism and some still under the yoke of colonialism. When one was taught about the dependency of countries on others, one was expected to emerge out of the knowledge enterprise abhorring and condemning dependency and to be an advocate against this vice.
Those days dependency was taken to mean domination economically, socially, politically, culturally and technically on the former colonial masters. These were condemned for having left behind structures, functions and institutions that were supposed to sustain the dependency syndrome in the post-colonial period.
Indeed, every country that was liberated from colonialism, and by extension, imperialism was expected to reduce or completely eliminate the dependency syndrome. This explains why governments of some countries moved to Africanize and nationalize everything conceivable.
By doing this, it was thought that the concept and experience of independence from colonial domination would be meaningful and effective. Unfortunately, beyond independence, dependency seems to have come back so powerfully as to make independence almost absent, although the myth of independence has dictated that countries once dominated, exploited and abused spend a lot of money, time and energy celebrating “independence” year in and year out as if nothing was still not basically wrong.
In the case of Uganda, independence has almost completely disappeared. Citizens no longer have sovereignty over their country and resources. Foreigners or people with foreign roots but conducting themselves as nationals or citizens, now appear more independent and sovereign than the citizens themselves. Over the years, the nationality and citizenship of the indigenous people have been greatly eroded.
Recently the Uganda government announced that soon Ugandans without national Identity Cards would be denied social services. This is despite the fact that government knows that the majority of Ugandans have no identity cards, not because they don’t want to have them, but because of government’s own inefficiency and failure, perhaps deliberately, to ensure that all Ugandans of 18 years of age owns a national ID.
Since the country’s population is young, the majority of young people who depict a high dependency ratio on their parents have no identity cards. If government renegades on its responsibility, duty and obligation to ensure that all enjoy the right to services, then their parents will unjustly and illegitimately be compelled through dependency to provide social services to their children.
As if this is not enough, the country’s 21st century rulers, most of whom have their biological, cultural, genealogical and social roots in Rwanda or Mulenge in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have enhanced the country’s economic and financial dependency through heavy borrowing from the international financial markets.
The country’s external debt is now in excess of 80 trillion shillings. Simultaneously, the country’s dependency on Indians and Chinese economically and in terms of economic and industrial activity has spiraled upwards. The absolute majority of Ugandans have come to rely on people of foreign origin socially and in terms of energy.
People of foreign roots now own and control everything: transport, education, health, food distribution. Even the exploitation of natural resources is now in the hands of foreigners or people with foreign roots in neighboring countries.
Even in terms of services in offices or institutions of government or non-government institutions, the dependency of Ugandans on foreign actors or on people with roots in neighboring countries has shot up superficially over the years.
Therefore, as the country nears celebrating its 61st year of supposed dedependency, or independency, it is a myth to continue suggesting that Ugandans are independent, belong to and own any part of Uganda. In fact, Ugandans who have belonged to Uganda, enjoyed local ownership and local democracy for centuries are no longer certain that tomorrow they will.
Indeed, the recent announcement by government that Ugandans without national IDs will not be provided with services, turns the majority of Ugandans into foreigners in their own countries. Refugees are better off because government cares for and about them far more than it does for indigenous Ugandans.
Through land grabbing largely by people with roots in neighboring countries, the majority of Ugandans are now internal refugees or a floating population akin to the floating populations of South East Asia following the implementation of the Green Revolution there by multinational corporations, including the World Bank, which financed the revolution.
Here is imposed impoverishment as well. Attempts to give the impression that government is seriously fighting poverty through its programmes, such as Operation Wealth Creation and Parish Development Model, may soon emerge as the most dangerous plots designed to enhance dependency on foreigners socioeconomically.
By the time their myth is fully exposed, Uganda will have collapsed ecologically and environmentally since they depend on ecological and environmental destruction. They are tools of failed independency.
As if this is not bad enough, the sociopolitical landscape of the country is being manipulated to ensure that political constituencies are created throughout Uganda for people of foreign origin to represent the natives in Parliament and Councils.
This is dangerous as such people would represent their interests rather than the identity-related aspirations of the natives. This is like charting a new path to struggle anew for liberation and freedom from occupation as was the case during the colonial times.
How can one say one is liberated and free if one is being dispossessed and displaced from the land one owned for centuries, and which the colonialists left one to own beyond colonialism? Yet, it is true a post-colonial government, which to date has been just a trustee over people’s land like other governments since 1962 is plotting to rethink the constitution it made preserving land as a people’s collective resource so that it becomes the sole owner of all land in Uganda.
One would not be wrong to say that independence or independency has been exposed as a myth by the new rulers of the country. Besides, in the real world it does not exist. In the real world everything is connected to every other thing and, therefore, not independent from each other. It is a world of inter-connectedness and interdependence or interdependency.
It would have been more ecologically, environmentally, economically, socially and politically correct to build institution of inter-connectedness and inter-dependency.
Unfortunately, due to exacerbated greed for power, domination, wealth and glory of a few, the inter-connectedness and inter-dependency of the peoples, nations and resources of Uganda have been eroded.
Simultaneously, the naturalness of the country has been destroyed. Biological desertification has been and continued to be accompanied by climate change and depressed productivity.
One reason for the decline of productivity is the destruction of the natural agro-ecological systems through land grabbing by foreigners or people with foreign roots posing as Ugandans.
With the destruction of the agro-ecological systems, Uganda is no longer a food secure country. The country’s dependency on foreign sources of food is growing and is not likely to stop in the near foreseeable future. A dangerous falsehood attractive to government is that if it gives free land to foreign agribusiness firms, they will develop the country’s agriculture and improve the nutritional status of our people.
The truth is that most of the food they grow goes to their countries of origin to feed the people there while our food dependency spirals upwards. It is important governments resurrects indigenous food production dependent on local traditional seeds. This must go hand in hand with combating the currently proliferating land grabbing by people of foreign biological, cultural and genealogical roots.
Uganda is fertile enough to feed itself.In conclusion, dependency on others financially, economically, socially and in futuristic terms is degrading. Independence in the real world is unreal. What is real in the real world is inter-connectivity and inter-dependency. Uganda should build institutions to promote the inter-connectedness and inter-dependency of our indigenous groups well in the future.
It is an interconnected, interdependent and integrated Uganda that will survive the challenges of the 21st Century as One Country One People, but it must be in the hands of Ugandans. We should not pretend that when the country is in the hands of foreigners it will survive.
The current political craze to disintegrate Uganda through small districts and gerrymandering should stop and a process of reintegration initiated without further delay. The way forward for Uganda to survive as an influential country internally and externally is to pursue inter-dependency; not independency nor dependency. Yet the rulers of the country have eroded independency in favour of dependency internally and externally.
For God and My Country.