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NUP’s Rubongoya on Revolutionary Discipline

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By David Rubongoya

There are many factors that contribute to the success of any struggle or revolution.

The most important one of them is DISCIPLINE. In a people’s struggle, discipline amongst the forces of change is even much more critical than courage! This applies to all revolutions, whether violent or non-violent.

You may have so many courageous comrades, but if each one of them is shooting in their own direction you are bound to fail. In fact, indisciplined forces are bound to lose sight of the enemy and begin shooting at each other. As tragic as it is, when indiscipline is left to grow within an organisation, everyone potentially becomes a victim of it- including those who championed it.

Someone may ask, what does discipline entail. Discipline means self control. It means restraint. It means thinking before acting or speaking. It means respect for self. It means respect for others. It means respect for hierarchy. It means far-sightedness. A disciplined comrade must think about the consequences of their actions not only in the immediate, but in the long term too. Likewise, he or she must think about the consequences of their actions not only for themselves individually, but most importantly for the broader objectives of the struggle.

Discipline means adherence to the values of an organisation or movement. As it has been written before, “Commitment to the cause of the people, sacrifice and selflessness are hallmarks of revolutionary discipline. A disciplined cadre is a master of all circumstances.”

Discipline must not be confused with suppression of free expression. Free expression ought to be encouraged in a revolutionary organisation. But as of necessity, the questions of how, when, where one speaks are very important. In the age of social media, comrades who mean well for the struggle must think harder about these questions.

All comrades must understand that discipline is best enforced by comrades themselves. Sanctions are important. Disciplinary hearings are crucial. But the better way is for comrades to learn discipline themselves, and not wait to be whipped into line all the time.

Mind you, dictatorships as brutal as they are, tend to survive in part because they are disciplined in their indiscipline. They are united in looting and guarding their loot. They are meticulous in their repressive tactics. They are very dedicated in their mission to keep power at all costs. They may disagree on many things, but on their core objective everyone will fall in line. The forces of change have a bigger duty and burden. They must strive to be more disciplined than the people they are seeking to replace.

Therefore brothers and sisters, comrades in the struggle for a better country, may those who genuinely wish to see a New Uganda encourage themselves to exercise revolutionary discipline.

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