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20TH MAY 2014

LECTURER: Professor Ahmed A.

Third World nations, is a designation of economically developing nations which arose
during the cold war, when two opposing blocsone led by the United States (first world) and
the other led by the USSR (second world)appeared to dominate world politics. Within these
opposing models, the Third World consisted of economically and technologically less developed
countries belonging to neither bloc. The term was coined by a Martinique-born Marxist writer
Frantz Fanon, and although the political and economic upheavals of the late 1980s and early
1990s marked the collapse of the Soviet power bloc (second world), Third World remains a
useful label although some are moving out of their previous situation and may soon join the
ranks of industrialized countries. These countries have similar history of colonial domination in
not a distant past and a neocolonial structure that made militarism as the norm of the political
psyche at the cost of other social priorities and liberties. This paper therefore had attempted to
capture militarism as a concept as it relates to the nations refers to as the Third World with the
conclusion that democracy is now softening the otherwise very highly explosive situation.

Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should
maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote
national interests [1]. It may also imply the glorification of the ideals of a professional "military
class" and the "predominance of the armed forces in the administration or policy of the state" [2].
It has been a significant element of the imperialist or expansionist ideologies of several nations
throughout history. Prominent examples include the Ancient Assyrian Empire, the Greek city
state of Sparta, the Roman Empire, the Aztec nation, the Kingdom of Prussia, the British Empire,
the Empire of Japan, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (which later become part
of the USSR), and the Italian Empire during the reign of Benito Mussolini, Nazi Germany and
current American imperialism.
After World War II, militarism appeared in many of the "Third World" nations of Asia
(i.e. North Korea, Pakistan, Burma and Thailand) and Africa (i.e. Liberia, Nigeria and Uganda).
Origin of Militarism
Militarism had been part of human social phenomena from the earliest human history. It
is in record that as far back as the 6th century


the Spartans had regarded themselves as a

military garrison state such that all their activities ware designed to get them ready for war. No
deformed child was allowed to live for example and that boys began military drill at the age of 7
and entered the ranks at 20. Under their stern discipline, the Spartans became a race of resolute,

ascetic warriors, capable of self-sacrificing patriotism, as shown by the devoted 300 heroes at
Thermopylae, when their king Leonidas I (490-480 BC) in d 480 BC, led them in the defense of a
narrow pass against the Persian army of Xerxes I with a force of 6000 to 7000 men. This famous
Battle of Thermopylae was recorded by the farther of history Herodotus, in his book History [3].
There was also the legend of the Amazons, in Greek mythology, a race of warlike women
who excluded men from their society. They were trained as archers, because of which their right
breast was customary burnt off so as to facilitate bending the bowhence the name Amazon,
derived from the Greek word for breast-less. According to legend, they were allied with the
Trojans, and during the siege of Troy their queen was slain by the Greek warrior Achilles [4].
Similarly, with the rise of Islam in the beginning of the seventh century, Jihad being the
struggle to please God became a serious factor for militarism in Muslim World because one of
the four ways to fulfilled Jihad is by the sword as such during Muhammad's (SAW) lifetime, two
attempts were made to expand the Islamic world northward into the Byzantine domain, but it was
not until ten years after his death that Muslim forces succeeded in defeating Persia, Byzantines,
Iraq, Syria, and Egypt in a series of Jihads that followed the wake of his death [5].
Genghis Khan, a Mongol King in the 1200s also initiate a series of military campaigns
beginning with the conquest of China in 1208, Korean Peninsula falls in 1218, in 1219 the
invasions moved eastward, bringing the cities of Samarqand, Bukhara, and Mary as well as the
surrounding countryside. By 1225 the Mongol Empire had expanded into Russia. This made him
the most successful conqueror in recorded history. His sons ruled over an empire that stretched
from Ukraine to Korea, his grandsons founded dynasties in China, Persia, and Russia, while his
descendants ruled over Central Asia for centuries [6].

Similarly Western European Christians began a Crusades or series of wars from 1096
until late 13th century with the aim of recapturing the Holy Land from the Muslims that resulted
to the carving out some feudal states in the Near East and forming the early part of the history of
European expansion and colonialism [7].
In modern times however, two ideologies had advocated militarism: Fascism and
National Socialism. These ideologies have their origin from the consequence of the First World
War. Fascism for instance as a modern political ideology seeks to regenerate the social,
economic, and cultural life of a country by basing it on a heightened sense of national belonging
or ethnic identity and rejection of liberal ideas and other elements of democracy. These
eventually led to wars and persecutions that caused millions of deaths. It is strongly associated
with right-wing fanaticism, racism, totalitarianism, and violence. The term was first used by
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1919. It comes from the Italian word fascio, which means
union or league. It also refers to the ancient Roman symbol of power, the fasces, a bundle of
sticks bound to an ax, which represented civic unity and the authority of Roman officials to
punish wrongdoers.
National Socialism, commonly called Nazism, on the other hand is a German political
movement initiated in 1920 with the organization of the National Socialist German Workers'
Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or NSDAP), also called the Nazi Party.
The movement culminated in the establishment of the Third Reich, the totalitarian German state
led by the dictator Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945. The effect of this racial militarism was to be
the horror called the World War II, the bloodiest and most destructive conflict in human history.
Militarism and the Third World

In the Third World however, militarism is expressed in the form of a military coups,
insurgencies and boarder disputes because the socioeconomic atmosphere of these nations are
characterized by poverty, ignorance and bad leadership. This situation forced some aggrieved
section to react militantly. The bipolar rivalry of the developed nations also fueled some of this
militancy by taking sides with the contending belligerents in order to win them into their
ideological camps. They provide them with the weapons to fight in exchange for the raw
materials the third world nations have but which they lack the political will to harness for their
use. The countries, containing almost two-thirds of the world's population, are located in Latin
America, Africa, and Asia. The study will examines Uganda, under Idi Amin as an example of
militarism in the third world,
Following the Berlin Conference, which touched on the European territorial claims over
Africa between 1884 and 1885, Britain declared a protectorate over all of present-day Uganda in
1894. Microsoft Encarta 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008 had
recorded the following statement regarding this British colonizing effort:
and began the expansion of its control by invading Bunyoro in 1893 and 1894
and removing its king, Kabarega at the end of which several Bunyoro counties were
awarded to the Buganda government for its military assistance. These areas became
known as the Lost Counties, In 1897 Mwanga, the King of Buganda rebelled, but was
defeated and deposed as kabaka in favor of his infant son, Daudi Cwa. Mwanga fled and
joined Kabaregas guerrillas fighting the British forces. In 1899 both were captured and
exiled to the Seychelles. The consolidation of the protectorate created a preeminent
position for Buganda, greater power for Protestants, and allowed the ascendancy of
chiefs, who served as regents for the young Buganda king. Each of these situations
contributed to Ugandas

political problems during and after colonial rule.

The British introduced cotton growing in 1904 and in the 1920s they encouraged farmers

in Buganda to grow coffee, which became increasingly profitable. Consequently, people

in Buganda grew wealthy faster, received better education, and obtained more positions
in the public service than those from other areas.
In addition, some chiefs from Buganda were given positions as administrators
over other parts of Uganda until World War I (1914-1918). The greedy conduct and
cultural chauvinism of the chiefs from Buganda caused resentment and a corresponding
rise in local ethnic identifications. As a result, many people from other parts of the
country feared the domination of Uganda by Buganda, a fear still held by some Ugandans
as such militant nationalism began to emerge following World War II marked by urban
strikes in 1945 and rural farm protests in Buganda, in 1949. The colonialist responded by
encouraging African cotton farmers to process their own cotton, and by promoting
agricultural cooperatives as well as by democratizing some local governments that
produced the first African representatives in the colonial legislative council in 1945.

However, Sir Andrew Cohen, caused a crisis in 1953 when he introduced a plan
for a unitary Ugandan government, Buganda. Kabaka Frederick Mutesa II opposed the
plan and Cohen exiled him to Britain, but was later returned and even granted additional
powers. Demands for independence began with the formation of the Uganda National
Congress (UNC) in 1952 by nationalists Ignatius Musazi and Abu Mayanja. Ganda
Catholic chiefs and educated urban professionals formed the Democratic Party (DP) in
1954. In 1960 Milton Obote formed the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) by joining
northern branches of the UNC. The DP and the UPC became the major national parties.
Both parties opposed the Buganda establishment DP, because its members feared
Bugandas dominance after independence.

Buganda, felt threatened by the prospect of losing its special rights. In independence
negotiations with Britain in 1961 and 1962, the Ugandans secured further guarantees of
its position. Notably, Buganda local council was given the right to indirectly elect
Bugandas representatives to the national parliament while Bunyoro, Ankole, and Toro

received only ceremonial privileges, but that was still more than the districts that lay
outside the four major kingdoms received. For Bugandas protection, the kabakas
government formed an ethnic party, Kabaka Yekka (KY), which in 1961 made alliance
with the UPC to win pre-independence elections in early 1962

Uganda became independent in October 1962 with UPC leader Milton Obote as
prime minister and several KY ministers in his cabinet and a year later Uganda became a
republic with the kabaka as ceremonial president. But the UPC/KY coalition split over
the UPCs insistence on holding a referendum to decide whether to return the Lost
Counties to Bunyoro. The UPC used its control to favors its followers and to lure
members of the DP to its side but it never care to consolidates control over its own
factions, therefore in 1966 UPC cabinet members from southern Uganda tried to force
Obote out of office. Obote had the cabinet members arrested and claimed the kabaka was
part of the plot. He suspended the 1962 constitution and forced an interim constitution
through parliament in which Obote replaced the kabaka as president.

The Buganda government responded by threatening to secede. Obote ordered

the army, under the command of newly appointed Army Chief of Staff Idi Amin, to take
control over the Buganda government in which within a short time the army defeated the
small force of the kabaka, who fled to exile. In 1967 the government adopted a new
constitution that abolished all four kingdoms and eliminated federal powers. In an effort
to expand his support, Obote expanded state control over the economy while following
an assassination attempt on him in 1969 the DP and other minor parties were banned
making the UPC remained the only existing party. Obotes control over the army grew
more uncertain as Amin consolidated his power. Obote placed allies in senior military
posts in an attempt to diminish Amins control over troops [8]. Here also both Amin and
Obote were personalizing bureaucracy which is also a typical Third World problem. In
reaction to that however, Amin seized power in on 25 January 1971 while Obote, the
former President was attending a Commonwealth summit meeting in Singapore. On that

faithful day, troops loyal to Amin sealed off Entebbe International Airport, and took
Kampala. They surrounded Obote's residence and blocked major roads. A broadcast on
Radio Uganda accused Obote's government of corruption and preferential treatment of
the Lango region. Cheering and unsuspecting crowds run to the streets of Kampala after
the radio broadcast [9]. Amin announced that he was a soldier, not a politician, and that
the military would remain only as a caretaker regime until new elections, which would be
announced when the situation was normalized. He promised to release all political


On 2 February 1971, one week after the coup, Amin declared himself President of
Uganda and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces at the same time suspends certain
provisions of the Ugandan Constitution. He also instituted an Advisory Defence Council
composed of military officers with himself as the chairman and placed military tribunals above
the system of civil law. He appointed soldiers to top government posts and parastatal agencies,
and informed the newly inducted civilian cabinet ministers that they would be subject to military
discipline [11]. Amin renamed the presidential lodge in Kampala from Government House to
"The Command Post". He disbanded the General Service Unit (GSU), an intelligence agency
created by the previous government, and replaced it with the State Research Bureau (SRB). SRB
headquarters at the Kampala suburb of Nakasero became the scene of torture and executions over
the next few years [12]. Other agencies used to persecute dissenters included the military
police and the Public Safety Unit (PSU) [13].
Meanwhile Obote took refuge in Tanzania, having been offered sanctuary there by the
Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. He was soon joined by about 20,000 Ugandan refugees
fleeing Amin. The exiles attempted to regain the country in 1972 through a poorly organized
coup attempt [14]. Amin retaliated against the attempted invasion by Ugandan exiles in 1972 by

purging the army of Obote supporters, predominantly those from the Acholi and Lango ethnic
groups. [15] In July 1971, Lango and Acholi soldiers were massacred in the Jinja and Mbarra
Barracks [16]. And by early 1972, some 5,000 Acholi and Lango soldiers, and at least twice as
many civilians, had disappeared [17]. The victims soon came to include members of other ethnic
groups, religious leaders, journalists, artists, senior bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, students and
intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals. In this atmosphere of violence, many other
people were killed for criminal motives or simply at will. Bodies were often dumped into the
River Nile [18]. That is a typical Third World mentality, otherwise none of the reasons called
for such crazy mass murder. If for any reason some people commit an offence, then only those
people should be punished, not a blanket judgment on all members of their tribe.
The killings, motivated by ethnic, political, and financial factors, continued throughout
Amin's eight-year reign. The exact number of people killed is unknown. The International
Commission of Jurist estimated the death toll at no fewer than 80,000 and more likely around
300,000. An estimate compiled by exile organizations with the help of Amnesty
International puts the number killed at 500, 000 [19]. Among the most prominent people killed
were Benedicto Kiwanuka , the former Prime Minister and Chief Justice and Achbishop Janani
Lawum [20].
Again in Africa where tribalism is very important, Amins turns out to belong to a tribe
this is only 2 % and a religion that is only 5% of total population. Therefore he had be recruiting
his followers from his own tribe, the Kakwas, along with Southern Sudanese to make up for their
deficiency in relative number. By 1977, these groups formed 60% of the 22 top generals and
75% of the cabinet. Similarly, Muslims formed 80% and 87.5% of these groups even though they
were only 5% of the population. This helps explain why Amin survived 8 attempted coups. The

army grew from 10,000 to 25,000 by 1978. The army was largely a mercenary force. Half the
soldiers were South Sudanese, 26% Congolese, only 24% were Ugandan, mostly Muslim and
Kakwa [21].
In August 1972, he declared what he called an "economic war", a set of policies that
included the expropriation of properties owned by Asians and Europeans. Uganda's 80,000
Asians were mostly from the Indian subcontinent and born in the country, their ancestors having
come to Uganda when the country was still a British colony.[22] Many owned businesses,
including large-scale enterprises, which formed the backbone of the Ugandan economy. On 4
August 1972, he issued a decree ordering the expulsion of the 60,000 Asins who were not
Ugandan citizens (most of them held British passport). This was later amended to include all
80,000 Asians, except for professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers. A plurality of the
Asians with British passports, around 30,000, immigrated to the UK. Others went to Australia,
Canada, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Sweden, Tanzania, and the U.S. he expropriated businesses and
properties belonging to the Asians and handed them over to his supporters. The businesses were
mismanaged, and industries collapsed from lack of maintenance. This proved disastrous for the
already declining economy [23].
Following the expulsion of Ugandan Asians in 1972, most of whom were of Indian
descent; India severed diplomatic relations with Uganda. The same year, as part of his
"economic war", Amin broke diplomatic ties with the UK and nationalized eighty-five Britishowned businesses. That year, relations with Israel soured. Although Israel had previously
supplied Uganda with arms, in 1972 Amin expelled Israel military advisers and turned to
Libya and the USSR for suppor which make him an outspoken critic of Israel [24]. In return,
Gaddafi gave financial aid to Amin. The USSR became Amin's largest arms supplier [25], while

East Germany was involved in the General Service Unit and the State Research Bureau, the two
agencies which were most notorious for terror. Later during the Ugandan invasion of Tanzania in
1979, East Germany attempted to remove evidence of its involvement with these agencies [26].
In 1973, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Patrick Melady recommended that the United States
reduce its presence in Uganda. He described Amin's regime as racist, erratic and unpredictable,
brutal, inept, bellicose, irrational, ridiculous, and militaristic [27]. Accordingly, the United States
closed its embassy in Kampala...
In June 1976, Amin allowed an Air France airliner from Tel Aviv to Paris hijacked by
two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine External Operations and two
members of the German Revolutionare Zellen to land at Entebbe Airport. There the hijackers
were joined by three more. Soon after, 156 non-Jewish hostages who did not hold Israeli
passports were released and flown to safety, while 83 Jews and Israeli citizens, as well as 20
others who refused to abandon them (among whom were the captain and crew of the
hijacked jet), continued to be held hostage. In the subsequent Israeli rescue operation,
codenamed Operation Thunderbolt on the night of 34 July 1976, a group of Israeli commandos
were flown in from Israel and seized control of Entebbe Airport, freeing nearly all the hostages.
Three hostages died during the operation and 10 were wounded; seven hijackers, about 45
Ugandan soldiers, and one Israeli soldier, Yoni Netanyahu, were killed. A fourth hostage, 75year-old Dora Bloch, an elderly Jewish Englishwoman who had been taken to Mulago Hospital
in Kampala before the rescue operation, was subsequently murdered in reprisal. The incident
further soured Uganda's international relations, leading the United Kingdom to close its High
Commission in Uganda [28]. In 1977 Henry Kemba, Amin's health minister and a former official


of the first Obote regime, defected and resettled in the UK where he wrote and published A State
of Blood, the first insider expos of Amin's rule
Uganda under Amin embarked on a large military build-up, which raised concerns in
Kenya. Early in June 1975, Kenyan officials impounded a large convoy of Soviet-made arms en
route to Uganda at the port of Mombasa. Tension between Uganda and Kenya reached its climax
in February 1976 when Amin announced that he would investigate the possibility that parts of
southern Sudan and western and central Kenya, up to within 32 kilometers (20 mi) of Nairobi ,
were historically a part of colonial Uganda. The Kenyan Government responded with a stern
statement that Kenya would not part with "a single inch of territory". Amin backed down after
the Kenyan army deployed troops and armored personnel carriers along the KenyaUganda
border [29].
By 1978, the number of Amin's supporters and close associates had shrunk significantly,
and he faced increasing dissent from the populace within Uganda as the economy and
infrastructure collapsed from years of neglect and abuse. After the killings of Bishop Luwum and
ministers Oryema and Oboth Ofumbi in 1977, several of Amin's ministers defected or fled into
exile. [30] In November 1978, after Amin's vice president, General Mustafa Idrisi , was injured
in a car accident, troops loyal to him mutinied . Amin sent troops against the mutineers, some of
whom had fled across the Tanzanian border. Amin accused Tanzanian President of waging war
against Uganda, ordered the invasion of Tanzanian territory, and formally annexed a section of
the Kagera across the boundary [31].
In January 1979, Nyerere mobilised the Tanzania Peoples Defence Force and
counterattacked, joined by several groups of Ugandan exiles who had united as the Uganda


National Liberation Army (UNLA). Amin's army retreated steadily, and, despite military help
from Libya, he was forced to flee into exile by helicopter on 11 April 1979.
Idi Amin's rule was characterized by human right right abuse, political repression, ethnic
persecution, extrajudicial killings, nepotism, corruption, and gross economic mismanagement.
The number of people killed as a result of his regime is estimated by international observers and
human rights groups to range from 100,000 [32] to 500,000 [33].
During his years in power, he shifted in allegiance from being a pro-Western ruler
enjoying considerable Israel support to being backed by Libya, the USSR, and East Germany. In
1975, he became the chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), a PanAfricanist group designed to promote solidarity of the African states [34]. During the 19771979
periods, Uganda was a member of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. [35] In
1977, when Britain broke diplomatic relations with Uganda, Amin declared he had defeated the
British and added "CBE", for "Conqueror of the British Empire", to his title. Radio Uganda then
announced his entire title: "his Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Alhaji Dr. Idi Amin
Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE"[35].
Dissent within Uganda and Amin's attempt to annex the Kagera province of Tanzania in
1978 led to the Uganda-Tanzania War and the demise of his eight-year regime. All these events
happened because Uganda is a Third World nation.
The reason for the destruction of lives and property characterized by this Ugandan
example of militarism could be connected to political and economic selfishness or greed of Third
World leaders. This coupled with lack of any functional institution for solving problems before it


becomes violent is as well as the neocolonial designs of the developed nations were making
militarism a fashion in the third world political arena. This is virtually everywhere in the third
world nations though with varying degrees. However democratization of the third world nations
now in the vague also is clearing the scenery for reversing the trend.

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