I previously attempted to explain the origins of the prevailing deficits mode among Uganda’s elites as a function of a highly liberalised education system.
I argued that the society operates in deficit mode because of intellectual obesity resulting from fast food type education being offered by the numerous private schools.
In this article, I will attempt to examine the nature of elite class in Uganda in an attempt to hypothesise on their non-responsiveness to social change.
I will reiterate that the lackadaisical nature of the elites signify a low degree of class consciousness, which as a result, has affected the extent of class political organization to challenge the status quo.
The non-responsive nature of the elite class in the struggle for social transformation requires a critical study from sociologists.
In the absence of such highly specialised authority, many cynical commentators have resorted to ridiculing the Opposition as a group whose singular mission is to wrest power from Mr Museveni.
In this rather plain and simplistic excuse for their cold feet, the overarching urgency of transforming this society for posterity’s sake is compromised.
Scholars in sociology aver that elites are seen as inevitable part of every society.
By elite, they mean the enlightened, educated and those in positions of power.
Some scholars such as J. Allen Whitt (1982) observed elite mannerism and deduced that the character of the elite determines the direction and character of western societies such that, social change comes about when the elites embrace it.
However, Whitt argued that where power stability is in the offing, change happens incrementally, sometimes very slowly, since the elites are the very beneficiaries of institutional powers.
The relevance of Whitt’s argument is that it contextualises the nature and character of the Ugandan elites, exposing their dual identities, contradictions and seeming inertia – their resistance to the forces of social transformation.
Another elitist theorist, Thomas Dye (1976) observed that elites are those who occupy positions in large institutions and influence it.
Dye identifies the institutional bases of elite’s power as industry, finance, utilities, government, the news media, laws, foundations, civic organizations and Universities. Thus far, these institutions are in critical areas of socio-economic wellbeing of our nation.
Ironically, their services are delivered with distinctive deficits in quality and quantity to the public.
The state of public service today is in contemptible shape. There is a nationwide crisis in public service characterised by discourteous, unkempt, irritable, belligerent, unethical, sluggish, indifferent, blatantly corrupt, and incompetent servants.
They serve as if their jobs were a form of punishment.
They feel no obligation to the public. Every person in the workforce is there for the benefits and the associated prestige of the office – not service.
Today, more educated people are dropping off curriculum vitae in search of jobs to proprietors who are modestly schooled because intellectual obesity deprives them of the capacity to innovate and compete in the markets of deficits.
The more sophisticated the qualification, the higher the deficit in services delivered.
This explains why architects build houses that sink, road constructors build potholes, prosecutors and judges convict suspects in wrong jurisdictions, nurses inject clients with infected blood, teaches award marks for sex or without reading scripts, police officers operate by brutality, quality of legislation is daunting, electricity and water are occasional, and so forth.
The class dialectic theorists have studied such deficit phenomena and have questioned the ability of such elites if it is befitting of their class prestige.
Unfortunately, it is the deficit mode which also shapes the consensus processes within the elite strata. Whitt and others argued that the elite consensus process is inherently contradictory because the range of disagreement among elites is generally narrow. And, even then, the disagreements are generally confined to means rather than end.
This is because the degree of class consciousness is ordinary such that it affects the extent of political organization and their vision of society beyond the existing hegemony.