Dr. Obote on one-party democracy
“Up to now I have not seen one view in your newspaper condemning the one-party State of mainland Tanzania”.
“In the case of Uganda, if we move the Tanzania way of a one-party State and adopt a policy of socialism and self-reliance, we will certainly be condemned in London; we will be condemned by the whole British press and in the whole of the Western world”.
UGANDA: As regards the view that I was showing “signs of wanting to be a philosopher President, like Leopold Senghor of Senegal or Julius Nyerere of Tanzania”, I have to say that I am a practical and professional politician. My knowledge—and I regret to say this—of President Leopold Senghor is limited, but I know President Julius Nyerere well. I can say that I have learnt from the latter, and hope to continue to learn from him. After all, he is older than me and his country achieved independence before mine.
In the second place he built a strong party, which is the only party in mainland Tanzania and much as writers on Africa should by now know that we in Africa are learning from one another, there appears to be considerable objection even by your newspaper, to Uganda being a one-party State. Up to now I have not seen one view in your newspaper condemning the one-party State of mainland Tanzania. These differences of newspaper views on African countries we understand perhaps much more than you people who write them. Maybe we put the wrong interpretation, but I think in the final analysis our views are correct. If it is the concern of the British press or the Western press that it is wrong for a country in Africa to be a one-party State and if that is a matter of principle, how come that that principle does not apply in the case of Tanzania, but must apply in the case of Uganda or Ghana?
In the case of Uganda, if we move the Tanzania way of a one-party State and adopt a policy of socialism and self-reliance, we will certainly be condemned in London; we will be condemned by the whole British press and in the whole of the Western world. On the other hand, even if we write word for word Kenya’s sensational paper on African Socialism, striking off Kenya and putting Uganda instead, we will again be condemned in London and throughout the Western world. That is the essence of your correspondent’s article in your newspaper of October 27, 1968. It was the article which said, in effect, that I, as President of Uganda, and my Ministers, are self-seekers who want to use our Party, the UPC, to assist us in our personal interests, and that should we move the Tanzania way our self-seeking characteristics will be the motive power, and should we remain where we are or move towards the Kenyan set-up, again our personal interests would be the guiding factor.
The question of stable society in every State in Africa, to be frank with you, is looked at by correspondents or British newspapers in Africa from a very narrow angle and the question, though fundamental, is varied from country to country, depending on the country they are discussing. There is no overall policy by any of the British newspapers in the context of African problems. This includes your newspaper.
I would rather prefer papers like “The Telegraph” which are wholly opposed to Africans except when they are traitors to Africa. Your newspaper pretends not to have a policy of the type of “The Telegraph, but time and again falls into line with “the Telegraph”. It is fair in a battle to know the enemy and throughout the centuries victors have always respected the conquered, but no-one has ever given any degree of respect to a traitor and a hypocrite.
Next week, we shall publish the last part of the fifteen-part series.