This study examined political parties’ ideologies influencing public policy formulation in Uganda’s nascent hydrocarbon industry. The study followed the four research objectives, research questions and hypotheses. The researcher applied a descriptive cross-sectional survey research design to guide the study. The research adopted both quantitative and qualitative approaches and data was collected from 218 respondents. The researcher collected both quantitative and qualitative data which was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics and thematic content analysis, respectively. The findings of the study have shown that political ideology contributes to public policy formulation in Uganda’s nascent hydrocarbon industry by 20.7% and it is significant (P=0.000). It can be concluded that political parties’ ideology is an important determinant to public policy formulation. It is recommended that government should ensure the question of ideology is handled from primary education level to university because it is a key factor in public policy formulation. The government should re-introduce civic education in primary schools and political education in secondary and tertiary institutions.
Political ideology was first used in 1797 by a French theorist Destutt de Tracy, who introduced this term as a newly conceived science in opposition of the subject of metaphysics. Scholars like H.M. Drucker argue that ideology refutes one set of ideals and justifies another irrespective of the fact that a critic may call a particular ideology as a ‘utopia’ or a false consciousness. The idea may also be in the form of an explanation of some fact, or a justification of some claim or a quest for some truth, or a manifestation of some conviction and so on. Keeping all these dimensions in view, an eminent writer says:
“I take ideology to be any more or less systematic set of ideas about man’s place in nature, in society, and in history, that is, in relation to particular societies, which can elicit the commitment of significant number of people to or against political change. This does not exclude a set of ideas essentially concerned with merely a class or a nation, if it relates the place and needs of that section of humanity to the place of man in general”.
Thus, liberalism, conservatism, democracy in various senses, Marxism, populism, Nkurumahism, Pan-Africanism and various nationalisms are all ideologies. Ideologies contain in varying proportions, elements of explanation of fact and history, justification of demands, and faith or belief in the ultimate truth or rightness of their case (Johari, 1987).
Scholars like Feldman and Johnston (2014), Gagnon (2015), and Koduah et al. (2015) refer to ideology to mean beliefs, values, and tenets that inspire parties to adopt a particular philosophy and alignment. Ideology serves as pathfinder’s public policy formulation process. But Martin (2015)refuted the aforementioned submission and contends that political ideology gives mandates to party leaders to adopt a policy agenda that respond to citizen needs.
Dijk (2000)explains that ideology helps to maintain the system of power relations. It is determinant in guiding the policy agenda, nature of political party organization, provides a framework for political action and a framework for the identification of allies and enemies in politics (Okoli and Onah, 2002). It worth noting that ideology aids formation of political alliances and coalitions. In developed democracies, ideology is used as a major strategy to bring warring parties together.
Gudelis (2011)provides a genesis on the evolution of political ideology citing Europe as a cradle land for political party ideological development. Brenner and Inbar (2014)argue that ideology is more feasible in modern democracies. According to Turner (2007), political ideologies evolved in the eighteenth century in France but were highly frustrated in the 1950s and the 1960s. But Ugarriza (2009)explained that political ideologies remained as symbols of the cold war defining which bloc to belong to until the 1980s and the 1990s when political ideologies could no longer guide political direction of the majority of political parties. The fall of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic became a turning point in the influence of socialism as an ideology (Swain, 2010). In countries like Cuba, Russia, USA, UK, Israel and China, political parties cherish their ideologies and, therefore, influence public policy formulation. In Africa, political parties in countries like: South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia are still strong due to the established ideologies anchored to Pan-Africanism and patriotism. In Uganda, Museveni being a student of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, has embraced Pan-Africanism and patriotism and this seems to be guiding the policy direction of Uganda (Otunnu, 2017). It worth noting that in many young democracies, political parties are formed out of convenience and their survival is dependent on personality and alliances formed for the sake of winning elections but without a clear political agenda.
In the United States, political parties are categorized according to political ideologies (Hans, 2013). The Democratic and Republican parties are ideologically flexible and occupy the center of the mainstream of American politics (Kim and Fording, 2003). The Republican and Democratic political parties are sometimes called “broker” parties and get more votes and such flexibility has helped the two parties to build strong party coalitions and alliances that draw voters to support their agendas who could have otherwise joined minor parties (Balliet, 2018).
On the contrary, political party ideologies have declined and no longer influence actions of political parties (Desposato, 2006). The lack of political ideology affects voter turnout and causes political corruption, mistrust among party members and internal party conflicts. However, this argument could not be sustained because in other countries like: the USA, UK, Germany, France, Russia, China and Cuba, politics is strongly aligned to political parties and political ideologies greatly influence the political landscape of the country’s policy making process (Swain, 2010). The relevance of political party ideology brings party members together in a coherent manner and helps to define the party principles and values (Hardy, 2011). Political parties without defined ideology will hardly survive the test of time because they lack the guiding principles for party members. Political ideology enhances party cohesion and promotes party culture. The emerging trend of independent candidates and party alliances/coalitions are as a result of ideological disorientation. Nation building and political development for any given country is a process and this calls for political discipline among political actors in the policy process (Giorgis, 2010). In Uganda, political development and nation building have remained a challenge and scholars comparing Uganda and politics in developed democracies are short of these factors (Golooba-Mutebi, 2008). Studies carried out by these scholars have remained academic with little or no practical solutions to Uganda’s political and policy development.
Alemán and Tsebelis (2011)explain that political parties in the U.S. have failed to provide a clear position about their political party ideological orientation. The difference between the major political parties and political ideologies is far from a perfect match. The hybrid ideological traits that manifest in both the Republican and Democratic parties make it extremely hard to differentiate between the two parties given the fact that the Liberal Republicans and Conservative Democrats also exist and belong to the two parties (Balliet, 2018). During National elections, it is always hard to differentiate between Liberals, Conservatives and Moderates and as such, there would be bitter attacks between political rivals during elections. During elections, voters pay more attention to individual candidate’s views than party ideology and manifestos. Politics in the U.S. and other developed democracies can be assessed based on their political history (Archna, 2006). Comparing Ugandan politics and politics in developed democracies is not intellectually fair and countries should be segmented based on their political history. Many factors explain political and economic underdevelopment in Africa and Uganda in particular but this research was intended to guide future political and economic development. Current studies have concentrated on why political parties fail to deliver on their mandate. Thin literature exists to explain political underdevelopment in Uganda.
Many American citizens do not understand the difference between Conservatives, Moderates and Liberalists and political differences between the Republicans and Democrats and the teaching of Social Studies students by the political spectrum in America is aimed at providing an insight of how political ideology influences the country’s domestic and foreign policies and laws (Palak et al., 2005). The conservatives embrace capitalism and support government interventions in economic development and policies that address social conduct viewed as harmful to citizens. The conservatives strongly oppose affirmative action, promote strong penalties and reasons that government should resist moral relativism inherent in modern American society (Arrighi, 2002).
Liberalists support and advocate governmental intervention in economic realms and argue that government should not regulate private social conduct (Hetherington, 2006). The Moderates are a hybrid of the Conservatism and Liberalism traits in political ideological orientation and this explains why political parties and political ideologies in the American political spectrum are characterized by Liberal Republicans and Conservative Democrats (Grossmann and Hopkins, 2015).
Gudelis (2011)presents a different view and argues that, the link between political parties and political ideology in modern democracies is on the decline. Political ideologies which evolved in the eighteenth century in France were highly frustrated in the 1950s and 1960s and remained as just symbols of cold war defining which Bloc to belong to (Schumacher, 2014). The period between the 1980s and 1990s also witnessed dysfunctional trends between political ideologies and political parties where political ideology could no longer guide the political direction the majority of parties (Wills et al., 2017). This trend continues to grow and traditional political parties no longer win elections in Africa. In Uganda, DP and UPC are dormant parties with thin membership and operations. In Kenya, KANU is in shambles with its members shifting membership and establishing alliances for convenience to win elections (Oyugi et al., 2003). It is no doubt that political parties that helped to usher African countries into political independence are literally weak and unable to influence the political, social and economic policy direction of their countries.
In Africa, ideologies of political parties have not had much influence on public policy formulation (Settles and McGaskey, 1996). Political ideology changed course during colonial and post-colonial eras. The African nationalists adopted Pan-Africanism as a way to strongly agitate for political independence (Geiss, 1974). Pan-African nationalists adopted nationalism ideology as a means to unite Africans in pursuit of political independence and liberation from colonial rule (Mazrui, 1967). It also aimed at uniting African ethnic communities divided by political colonial boundaries as one people under common values and principles. However, Pan-Africanism has been embraced by few countries and leaders in Africa. Countries like Ghana, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Congo had a good history of Pan-Africanism under African Nationalists with strong political parties like: CCP, UPC, TANU, ZANU, KANU, and ANC. It is unfortunate to note that apart from ANC, and ZANU, many of these political parties are struggling to survive. The African Union (AU) has tried to establish a Pan-African Parliament, but its influence is not only limited in scope, but also in content. President Museveni of Uganda tries to keep the dream of African Nationalists through promotion of Pan-Africanism and Patriotism, but he seems to understand it alone. Political ideology has influence on public policy process and programmes undertaken by a particular government (Salviana, 2014). In developed democracies, candidates can differ in opinion but regardless of political affiliation will promote and defend the country’s values and culture (Serrato and Carlos, 2008). In Africa, political parties are weak, and lack ideological orientation and policy direction.
Thompson (1992)argued that during the colonial period, there was no platform to discuss policy related matters concerning African socio-economic and political development. In many cases, colonial governments promoted their own ideologies like socialism, liberalism, and conservatism which promoted division of Africans and exploitation and plunder of African natural resources (Bamikole, 2012). The question of whether colonialists ended their economic interests in Africa is subject to political debate. The new scramble for Africa is now eminent due to the discovery of large amount of hydrocarbons.
Onuki et al. (2009)assert that political parties aided the struggle for political independence. This argument is not sustainable and leaves many to wonder if it is true there is peace in Africa. African countries are characterized by intra and inter-state conflicts. Many countries are struggling to address issue of conflicts which has become costly to settle, making the refugee problem become a global concern. The wars in countries like: Uganda, Congo, Somalia, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Angola and Central African Republic confirm this fact. Tornberg (2012)argues that political parties are equally blamed for ethnic division and genocide in Africa. In Uganda, political parties are blamed for political turmoil and upheavals that divided Ugandans along party lines.
Kelly (2004)attests that political parties perform functions like; organize party structures, recruit members, mobilize resources to fund party activities, operations, and above all, choose party leaders to either lead the party or as candidates to compete in local and national elections. However, these political party functions seem not to be practical given the fact that many parties are dysfunctional (Wright and Schaffner, 2007). Political parties’ operations in Africa are generally weak and their roles in the political arena are limited. According to Volpi (2017), political parties suffer from the exodus of party members to other parties or presenting themselves as independent candidates during elections and in any case, this should concern leaders of political parties.
Brenner and Inbar (2014)affirm that political parties have failed to explain their ideologies to the masses and only the elite have knowledge of why the parties’ groupings were formed. Juma and Onkware (2015) argue that while many political parties have not abandoned ideological rhetoric outright, electoral choices are most usually based on individual personal characteristics, ethnic and other affective identities, and patronage promises.
Scholars like Stewart (2009)argue that in most democracies ideology affects the policy process. Tausanovitch and Warshaw (2018) argue that political ideology greatly shapes the policy environment of any country and programs for adoption by any given government. Governments are value-based and public policy formulation involves issues that are value based. Political ideology guides any political party to assert its relevancy in policy making process. However, this is possible where there are developed systems and political institutions. But in countries where there is no political certainty and continuity, this remains a guesswork and mythical.
Tausanovitch and Warshaw (2018)explain that policy relevancy require policy research, engagement and consultations with policy experts to identify policy demands, articulate policy alternatives, evaluate policy options and programmes for government action. The policy platform could be used for consultation and policy engagement between different stakeholders in the policy formulation process. Political party ideology provides that there are differing values, beliefs and cultures that could affect the policy process and, therefore, guidance towards policy action is a prerequisite to attaining policy position. Human beings are not homogenous and have divergent opinions and greed. The massive movement in membership between parties is a result of disagreements between members in political parties. White (2018) argues that the lack of strict party rules and constitutions renders political parties vulnerable and most often the parties lose members to other well facilitated and promising parties where they can access political leadership positions and resources. It is on record in Uganda that members of opposition currently serve as Cabinet and State Ministers in the 10th Parliament.
Cross and Blaise (2012)opines that political parties’ ideologies will continue to serve as a tool of policy formulation and evaluation if there is coherence among differing political parties in the parliament of Uganda. It has been observed that political parties would influence public policy process if they won majority seats in parliament (Stadelmann et al., 2016). The opposition parties are engulfed in many internal and other challenges that make their operation difficult. Many political parties have a negligible number of seats in parliament and do not form a half of membership in Parliament (Hobolt and Tilley, 2016). This limits opportunities for dialogue and negotiation between the ruling party and opposition parties (Jahan, 2014). This could explain why Inter Party Dialogue meetings and the National Consultative Forum for political parties and political organisations have failed to yield any positive policy outcome and engagement in Uganda.
Hai (2013)argues that party ideology can be logically coherent with party policy proposals. Political parties use party ideology as an alternative approach to policy making. Political parties reconcile citizen opinions with party policy direction (Foos et al., 2017). Political opinions help address policy gaps if party leaders remain disciplined and adhere to party policy position. It is unfortunate to note that party leaders deviate from party policy position.
Tanaka (2007)asserts that political ideology promotes cohesion and trust. It promotes citizen participation, public accountability and transparency and pillars of good governance (Mandelbaum, 2011). Public engagement activities strengthen national purpose and common policy direction (Carroll and Kubo, 2018). However, it should be noted that civic education in Uganda is very weak and the public is kept in ignorance on issues of national importance (Cross and Young, 2008). Strong civic education platform can easily result in a revolution and therefore, government deliberately controls activities of civil societies. Civic education creates awareness in the public and the masses would demand government to account for her actions (Roy et al., 2009). Government should adhere to principles of democracy and good governance and allow civil society organisations operate in a free and democratic political environment.
Koduah et al. (2015)contend that generation of sound policy alternatives depend on a country’s political context and how this relates to planned development interventions to serve the needs of the people. Jinadu (2011)explains that ideology provides a platform for engagement, dialogue and negotiations between the party in power and opposition political parties to address citizens needs in form of policy options.
Scholars like Hetherington (2006)argue that credible policies depend on both the organisational and the individual political trust which transcends partisan and/or ideological attachments. Political demands will always emerge and it the responsibility of government to address them regardless of political affiliation and ideology. There are basic services like education, health, security and do not require much debate to fund them unless they are modified models and approaches to adopt.
Bernstorff (2007)explains that different institutions significantly affect the policy making process at agenda setting. Scholars like Adams et al. (2016)argue that parties develop party manifestos that define party policy proposals, present candidates for political leadership through elections, campaign on behalf of candidates to win elections, mobilise and recruit party members and work to influence public policies by providing policy alternatives.
Hillygus (2009)argues that political ideology greatly affects the voting pattern where parties have defined ideological orientation. Graham et al. (2016)confirm that political ideology influences the type of policy proposals and programmes the party would promote after winning an election as captured in party manifesto. But Lo et al. (2016)explained that it would be important if party manifesto captured important issues affecting the public, the party leaders provide simplified versions of the party manifesto for public scrutiny and voting based on issues that affect national development. It should, however, be observed that ideological orientation is an important determinant factor in policy development for any political party to succeed in influencing the mindset of the voters during elections.
According to Greaves et al. (2014), policy-makers in many countries are always guided by decisions of their party ideology. The political beliefs or ideologies greatly influence policy orientation and programs (Ngubane, 2014). Political ideology aids the survival of political parties and also makes them strong institutions with defined values. Political ideology shapes the nature of policy proposals and alternatives a particular political party adopts given their ideological orientation as conservatism, liberalism, and radicals that guide the policy direction of the country.
Turner (2007)argued that people would embrace political ideology to foster policy engagement. Political engagement serves as a platform for policy debate, advocacy and dialogue that bring all political parties together with different interests, ideology and manifestos to strike a common position on policy direction the country should take to address issues of national importance. Pugh (2005)explains that political ideology serves as a foundation for political development and nation building.
The Pan-African Movement and socio-economic agenda have taken root and changed the policy direction in many African countries (Kumah-Abiwu and Ochwa-Echel, 2013). The new wave of Pan-Africanism and socio-economic transformation now dictate the policy positions on investment and political orientation not necessarily liberalism, socialism, conservatives and Democrats (Sylvester and Anthony, 2014). Political ideologies that could dictate government policies gained less prominence in modern political development (Brenner and Inbar, 2014). This can be explained by the increasing number of independent candidates at both national and local elections. Voters are no longer guided by the political ideology of their parties but most often by personality traits. In Uganda the independents who formerly belonged to registered political parties, later contested in elections on Independent ticket.
The findings were discussed and responses from quantitative data generated from administered questionnaires validated using triangulation which builds a relationship between ideologies and public policy formulation in Uganda’s nascent hydrocarbon industry and the results are discussed with varied responses from structured interviews and documentary reviews.
Political party ideology and party cohesion
From Table 2, respondents gave varied views on sub-construct ‘my political party has a defined political ideology’. The findings revealed that 82.4% of the respondents agreed, 16.1% strongly agreed while only 1.6% respondents disagreed. The results show that political parties have defined political ideologies. The calculated Mean (µ = 4.11, SD = 0.476) shows that political parties’ ideologies are entrenched in the politics of Uganda and strongly influence public policy formulation in Uganda’s nascent hydrocarbon industry. Hypothesis testing for the chi-square was computed and compared to a critical value. The critical values for the chi-square statistic were used to determine the level of significance (0.05) and degrees of freedom. Opinion given by respondents from different political parties was statistically computed using Pearson Chi-Square analysis (c2 =25.212, df=6, P=0.000). The theoretical value from the Pearson Chi-Square table at 5% level of significance and df=6 is 12.59. Since the calculated value is greater than theoretical value, it implies that the calculated value lies in the reject region. The region of rejection is all c2 values of c2 =25.212 or more. We therefore, reject H0 represented by (i), accept H1 and we say that ‘my political party has a defined political ideology’ had a significant relationship with respondents’ political parties.
The findings indicate that not all political parties have a defined party ideology. The results are in agreement with Kakuba (2010)whose research findings revealed that government actions in provision of basic services highly influence voters’ voting behaviour and not necessarily political ideology. The 1.6% response validates the study findings on whether ideology of parties influences public policy and voters’ voting behaviour during elections.
Simba (2015) argues that Uganda got independence in 1962, with a fairly functioning multiparty system and three political parties were fairly strong, with an established social base. However, in the late 1960s, as part of the nation-building strategy then, there was a movement towards the establishment of a one party state and this interrupted political ideological development.
Kamp and Kiranda (2010) contend that when Amin was overthrown in 1979, Uganda made a second attempt towards a multiparty system. The second multiparty election in Uganda’s history was conducted in 1980. Four political parties participated but still political party ideology did not have much impact to influence the electoral results instead, the Military Council together with the British colonial government dictated the outcome of the 1980 elections.
Lam (2012) argues that the NRA/M guerrilla warfare was guided by a Maoist ideology. The NRM/A took over power when socialist ideological and its associated one-party system were losing appeal the world over. Political power comes from the barrel of a gun. Simba (2015) explains that NRA/M was “shy” to declare Uganda a single party state and that the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 prohibited the formation many political organizations until 2005. Carbone (2005) confirms this argument and explains Museveni banned political party activities and referred to them as enemies of the state.
Munyangabo and Kitamirike (2015) argue that party politics in Uganda is linked to the country’s political history. In an endeavor to achieve political development, political parties have to build strong internal democratic practices in pursuit for democratic governance. Political ideology becomes a determinant for political parties’ development. Political ideology enhances party cohesion and internal party democracy (Lawrence and Martin, 2013).
Political party ideology is a necessary system for state formation. The Leftist support social welfare orientation while Rightist support traditional values, oppose state innovations to promote equality (Busch, 2016). Nationalism is the most important ideology of the 20th century. It is based on belief that peoples have shared language, culture, history that differentiates them from other nationalities (Kendhammer, 2007). Political ideology is a vital ingredient in developing party cohesion and, therefore, relevant in policy formulation. Ideology is a contentious issue which creates many contradictions among theories that explain political reasoning (Martin, 2015).
Johari (1987) argues that ideologies have become an instrument whereby the leaders motivate people to take part in political actions, or they accord the character of legitimacy to their political system. Moreover, others beat their opponents with the stick of their own more or less persistent and integrated doctrines, a set of which constitutes their own ideology.
Party cohesion is an important factor in agenda-setting. Many political parties have ignored party cohesion and are struggling to maintain members’ loyalty (Layman and Carsey, 2000). Party cohesion can help to tell if members across parties adhere to party resolutions (Edinger and Vogel, 2005). The concept of ideological cohesion should be part of party culture to promote unity and discipline among party members. Jahn and Oberst (2012) explained that there is low party cohesion in many countries across the globe.
Hix et al. (2005)contend that party cohesion helps in policy formulation and legislative behaviour in parliament. Party cohesion is practiced in functional political internal democracy where members are allowed to present policy proposals, policy debates are embraced and consensus reached on a particular policy position. Scholars like Lashonda (2016) explain that the resolution of parliamentary party caucus is adhered to by members who would strongly defend the party position during plenary. Party cohesion has increased over time among main political parties as more members join and expand their scope. Korn (1992) contends that internal political party democracy has a significant role to play to enhance party cohesion. It has been observed that despite an increase in political party internal divisions, party cohesion remains vital as a strategy political development in multiparty political environment. Political party internal divisions could be explained in terms of ideological diversity. Gutmann et al. (2010) argue that ideological disorientation affects political parties’ performance during elections and has a strong negative impact on voting pattern during elections and formation of political parties’ coalitions/alliance.
Harteveld et al. (2017) argue that lack of a defined party ideology shows current party division and mass exodus of members to join other political parties. Modern ideologies have developed the habit of thinking in over-simplified terms of ‘We versus they, friend versus enemy’. This fact is emphasized by statements made by Mugisha Muntu FDC member who left the party and had this say:
“There is a new wave in the politics of the country where new leaders are emerging with new strategies to challenge the current leadership that has stayed in power for more than three decades. The new leadership must be given political space to fulfil this long awaited mission and decisions and actions should be taken now”.
The actions of this member to leave FDC party were as a result of being dropped as a party leader. However,
reshuffled members left FDC political party and formed a new faction party in the name of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). The Electoral Commission is set to register the new political party under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu who quit the FDC party in September 2018. Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu left FDC party on allegations of irreconcilable strategic disagreements on how to achieve regime change in Uganda. Electoral Commission confirmed on Thursday, January 10th, 2019 that Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu’s political party had been cleared for registration after fulfilling key issues. A member of NRM party made a comment during the 2006 Kyankwanzi retreat that:
“The NRM philosophy has in addition to its own indigenous and basic ideas, borrowed quite a lot from various other ideologies, both ancient and modern. This is so because all ideologies and philosophies have some good and bad elements in relation to the Ugandan situation. The NRM is, therefore, tolerant and welcomes the participation and contribution of people from all sorts of ideological backgrounds”.
This is more apparent with regard to NRM whose ideology is Pan-Africanism and patriotism. The NRM allows participation and contributions of people from all sorts of ideological background. This is true because the 10th parliament has members of opposition parties serving as Ministers and members to various Commissions and Boards. The members of NRM party believe that their party is a brainchild of the people’s struggle and, therefore, has a special relationship with the grass roots people through the Members of Parliament. It is argued that regardless of political affiliation, as long as Members of Opposition political parties are willing to serve Ugandans, NRM party will always appoint members from opposition parties to serve the country in various positions of leadership. However, one would argue that President Museveni appointing members of opposition to serve as Ministers and as members serving on different Boards and Commissions would be a deliberate move to weaken opposition parties and continue NRM as the only viable party in Uganda.
Akhmetova (2016)believes that Nationalism and Patriotism determine the political development of the country. Under patriotism, the love for one’s country surpasses the beliefs in political interests of the citizens. Nationalism and patriotism are vanguards of state sovereignty and other elements like government and military capabilities become secondary. Krauss (2018) argues that countries that have embraced nationalism and patriotism as their ideologies are politically stable. As president Y.K Museveni put it during NRM Victory Day celebrations at Muwafu Primary School playground in Tororo on Saturday, January 26, 2019:
“The people are wrong to celebrate NRM Day withoutunderstanding NRM principles. Uganda is bigger than individual ethnic groups, East Africa is bigger than Uganda and Africa is bigger than East Africa and, therefore, the bigger the market, the better “.
The NRM party chairman and the president of Uganda stressed the need for party members to embrace the party principles that include patriotism, expanded market for East Africa, socio-economic transformation and democracy. The president has used the NRM ideology to preach reconciliation among the two highly divided ethnic groups in Tororo.
This is a clear signal that most party members do not understand the NRM ideology and that is why the party leadership continues to remind NRM party members during public gatherings/celebrations. It has been observed that it is President Y.K Museveni explaining NRM ideology; other party members have remained silent to publically speak about the party principles. One can conclude that NRM is President Y. K. Museveni and Y. K. Museveni is NRM and without him, the party would be in jeopardy. It important for political party leadership in Uganda to build strong party structures that can ensure their sustainability. Political analyst like Kirunda Faruk explains why Uganda still needs President Yoweri Museveni and had this to say:
“Museveni has rebuilt Uganda from a country in virtual ashes into a viable functioning entity. After 33 years at the helm, he has ably identified strategic challenges to Uganda’s advancement and is the only figure reliable enough to counter them since he has been instrumental in identifying them. These include ideological disorientation that leads people to focus on ethnic and religion as the guarantors of their future, thus promoting sectarianism, underdevelopment of the human resources, infrastructure, service sector, fragmented markets across the region and Africa and Africa’s fragility in the axis of global power”.
However, it is not, surprising that Kirunda could hesitate to make his political sentiments. He is the President’s Private Assistant in charge of media management. But one can also argue that President Museveni is respected across the region as a political mentor and statesman despite his longevity in power. His longevity in power is a manifestation of the Museveni’s ability to inculcate the NRM ideology among the Ugandan populace.
Another political analyst Misairi Thembo Kahungu reported:
“President Museveni has been selected to oversee and provide political guidance to the legal experts tasked with the drafting of the East African Community Constitution on political Confederation. The decision was made by EAC Heads of States at the 20th Ordinary Summit in Arusha, Tanzania. Museveni passionately has preached the need for regional integration, peace, and security saying it will be good for trade and socio-economic development.”
This is justified by several calls President Museveni has made for the promotion of regional integration as the only sure way to socio-economic transformation and creating political harmony among member states.
Harbridge (2015)argues that political ideologies and political parties are at the center of discussion during political alliance formation. Ideology is considered a major factor in political development and defines the beliefs, values and policy direction of the country. The divergences in policy opinions are harmonized during political parties’ negations to form sustainable alliance. Bäck et al. (2014)posit that procedures of policy debates affect the quality policy outcome. Kumbaracibasi (2018) argues that parliamentary procedures on policy formulation to policy evaluation are well prescribed and follow a phased approach.
Huddy and Khatib (2007)opine that patriotism defines national identity of the country. In America, every citizen is proud to be called an American, the citizens feel proud when the national flag is flying, and when the national anthem is sung. Redlawsk et al. (2010) argue that people work hard to promote national development as a concerted effort. The American people oppose policies that do not promote American interests. According to Pfiffner (2003), the Americans support policies as they promote positive change and development of the country. Oloka-Onyango (1995) explains that patriotism is highly associated with NRM and Ugandan citizens are basically ignorant of their constitutional obligation and hardly understand their national identity. Uganda as a country suffers from identity crisis and the love for the country is insignificant. Ethnic division, corruption, civil wars, regional imbalance, moral decay are all examples of identity crisis indicators.
The results also revealed that opposition parties do not have a clear defined political ideology and simply rely on the personality of party leaders to advance their political agenda/ambition. The political ideological orientation of Uganda to many political actors and the general public is viewed as it is the case for countries like the USA, UK, China, Russia and Cuba. These findings are in tune with Omotola (2009)whose research findings reveal that political parties are not ideologically oriented and suffer from party disunity, weak party structures, limited membership and lack of defined political agenda. Tar (2010) explains that the opposition political parties are dominated by disgruntled members of already functional political parties and any disagreement among party leadership culminates into the formation of faction groups. Bengtsson and Christensen (2016) argue that opposition parties are pressure groups of frustrated party leadership. It is noted that building a viable and sustainable political party takes time, resources and commitment of the members. O’Connell (2011) explains that opposition parties lack defined political ideology and this affects public policy formulation in many emerging democracies. Party cohesion is paramount to party institutional development. Party cohesion is a significant for party survival. Party cohesion promotes unity among party members (Edinger and Vogel, 2005).
Clunies et al. (2009) contend that the ideologies and presumptions attached to development economics changed as a result of changing fashions in the thought about economic policy at large; and the great public events of the period. From initial trust in state direction, centralized planning, capital accumulation, and self-sufficiency, the ideology most practically influential in development economics had switched by the 1980s to one of leaving everything possible to the market, opening to the world, and privatisation. Then, over the 1990s, came a shift to a more qualified view of the market, government and civil society. Throughout, from some rather mechanical views at the start, there was an increasingly realistic awareness of the nature of humanity with its real needs, failing, and potential in both ends and means. Because of differences of degree in the characteristics of the societies with which they deal, the methods of development economics differ in their typical pattern and balance from those of mainstream economics–over the character of their fields of observation, their theories and their methods of testing. Ideologies influence a given country depending on the period and government in power. Many political students of development economics of 1970s and 1980s who are current political party leaders are greatly influenced by ideologies and economic theories of the time. The NRM leadership has been greatly influenced by liberalism and Marxism ideologies and theories because President Y. K. Museveni is political Science scholar and economics was one of his major subjects. From a development economics perspective, the NRM government choosing to invest in the hydrocarbon industry as a major sector that can transform Uganda’s economy to middle income country is based on the nature of training appreciated by its leadership.
The findings concerning the second sub-construct on ‘my political party ideology provides guidance towards policy action’ revealed varied views from respondents. The results of the study revealed that 89.6% of respondents agreed, 7.3% strongly agreed and only 3.1% of respondents disagreed. This implies that the majority of respondents agreed that political party ideology provides guidance towards policy action. The calculated Mean (µ = 4.01, SD = 0.445) implying that political ideology providing guidance towards policy action was high. Standard Deviation signifies that responses on ‘my political party ideology provides guidance towards policy action’ from respondents did not differ much from the mean. The opinion given by respondents from different age brackets and political parties were computed using Pearson Chi – Square analysis and the relation between these variables was significant (c2 =13.566, df=6, P=0.035). The theoretical value from the Pearson Chi-Square table at 5% level of significance and df=6 is 12.59. Since the calculated value is greater than theoretical value, it implies that our calculated value lies in the reject region. The region of rejection is all c2 values of c2= 13.566 or more. We therefore, reject H0 represented by (i), accept H1 and we say that ‘my political party ideology is capable of guiding party’s policy evaluation’ had a significant relationship with respondents’ political parties.
Gareth (2015) argues that unlike Europe and America, African economic history does not exist. It is believed that colonialism eroded any economic gains registered during the pre-colonial period. It is argued that colonial powers had good intentions to develop Africa in other areas except the hydrocarbon. The colonial leadership determined the political and economic future of Africa. The current underdevelopment in Africa is blamed on colonialism and imperialism. The new African political leadership has an uphill task to change this economic malaise and redefine Africa’s economic, social and political development. African problems should be solved by Africans themselves of course with good policies and good leadership that bear the African vision of fostering development.
Dobel (1998) argues that true leaders are the political architects. True leaders possess what Aristotle called prudence. Globally, we can refer to late Kofi Anan, former UN Secretary General; Y. K. Museveni, President of Uganda; late Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa; Donald Trump, current President of the U.S; Baraka Obama, former President of the USA; late Margret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the UK as leaders who have had exemplary leadership traits similar to those described of true leaders.
Nabudere (1980) argues Africa should re-write her history drawing lessons from her past. From the economic perspective, Africa has this history with almost nothing documented as a continent rich in mineral wealth. The new African leaders should own and take responsibility for development Africa. Africans leaders should work together to transform Africa. The Pan-Africanism ideology should guide African people to achieve their liberation after centuries of suffering.
Museveni (2000)explained that African problems should be a concern for every political leader of the twenty first century. Museveni is unequivocal about the importance of African economic integration. From the analysis made, Museveni is ranked among the best African leaders globally and on many occasions has advised on unity, peace and socio-economic transformation of African continent. He has been at the center of African politics. The creation of South Sudan Republic was out of his effort through military, material and moral support. Uganda has contributed to African
peace missions and facilitated political dialogues in many war affected countries.
Chen (2009)affirms that NRM has adopted the Chinese model of politics where government survival hinges on citizen support. It does not matter how government plays its political game to win popular citizen support. It is incumbent upon government to master the political game plan to ensure political legitimacy. In both China and Uganda, political observers criticise the manner governments handle members of opposition political parties. Issues of human rights and political freedom are ignored and governments concentrate on how to maintain political power. However, despite the aforementioned, China and Uganda seem to have visions for their countries. There is a lot of investment in Uganda’s nascent hydrocarbon industry by Chinese government and companies. The hydrocarbon industry is one of the strategic investment priority areas in Uganda and China emerges as a partner causing economic revolution in Uganda and other African countries to achieve African economic dream. President Museveni told political parties during the Inter-Party Organization for Dialogue (IPOD) summit held on December 12, 2018 that he is not about to leave power and they should stop thinking of a transition. President Museveni said he was not ready to relinquish power until he is satisfied that the prosperity and strategic security of Africa has been achieved. President Y. K. Museveni had this to say:
“I hear people like Mao talking about transition; how they would like to sit in the audience and see Museveni handing over power. That is the most important thing for him. I do not think that is the most important and good saying that? The political class instead of talking about the destiny of Africa, you are talking about petty things–elections, who becomes who. That is why I have said if I still have strength, I will continue. This is my point of view-- not to retire when the original issues of why Africa nearly perished have not been addressed (Field Data, 2018)”.
The personality of party leadership is an important factor in contemporary politics. Igue (2010) argues that African leaders deliberately limited political space through no-party system and presented themselves as king makers in politics. The new political leaders are believed to be new hope for Africa. The new political leaders embarked on mass citizen mobilisation and recruitment. The media was effectively used to promote political propaganda and as an avenue of policy agenda setting. The new political leaders adopted participatory democracy as a strategy to enhance citizen participation in the political arena and this would help them to consolidate their tenancy in politics. Shin (2016)also explains that incumbent political parties enjoy being voted into power. The incumbent political parties greatly influence the general welfare programmes that influence electoral success in a given country.
Emanuel (2009)argues that the personality of party leaders plays an important role in determining the policy agenda during elections. In the U.S. presidential elections between Obama and McCain, students simply supported Obama when they saw his name in web address and ignored McCain who had elaborate policies for the country. This is also in tandem with Daubler et al. (2015)whose research findings revealed that candidates engage in personalized campaigns rather than party centered campaigns during national elections.
Resnick (2013) contends that political parties have adopted new strategies of alliance formation and unemployed youth recruitment during election campaigns. Party candidates who lose in primary elections adopt moderate system to contest as independent candidates and most often win seats. It is, therefore, important to observe that whereas opposition political parties always depend on party personality to champion their political agenda, party ideology is a vital element that enhances cohesion among party members. It has been observed that political parties without a defined party ideology are prone to rampant exodus of the members to other political parties. The increasing number of independent candidates during elections is attributed to lack of ideology. The NRM party has been able to remain in power for this long because of party ideology that has kept the members together for the last three decades and this explains the 82.4% agreement by respondents as compared to 1.6% of the respondents who disagreed.
Wilson and Rule (2014)submitted that the personality of Party Leadership has a relationship with public policy formulation. Roderick et al. (2013) opine that political party leadership defines the party ideology in form of values, beliefs and norms. The personality of political party leadership portray particular personality traits e.g., Republicans are dominant and mature; Democrats are likeable and trustworthy in the United States of America. In Uganda, the personality of party leadership has greatly influenced the policy direction of the country since independence.
Jahn and Oberst (2012)argued that political parties’ cohesion is hardly exercised and agenda setting left to party leaders. In most political parties, members are divided along ethnic, religious, regional and social classes. It is only in Sweden, Denmark, Norway where party cohesion was pivotal in agenda setting between 1960s and 1970s. In Switzerland, party cohesion was relatively low and political parties were highly dominated by interparty tension. In Iceland, political parties were characterized by party turbulence. The emerging number of independent candidates in Uganda’s politics can be explained by these findings and political parties should ensure that cohesion should concern all party leaders because it is a determining factor in party democracy and discipline.
Scholars like Takens et al. (2015)argue that personalisation of political parties influences policy debates during election campaigns. Party leaders freely associate with voters during party meetings, National Conference, and media. Study findings revealed a relationship between character and voting behaviour. Somer-Topcu (2006)opines that opposition political parties use their leadership as an opportunity to defame the ruling party and hence, increase voter confusion during voting. Study findings also revealed that party leadership influence the party’s policy positions.
Regarding the issue of ‘political party ideology being logically coherent with party policy proposals’; respondents provided varied responses. The majority of respondents 91.2% agreed, 6.2% strongly agreed and only 2.6% disagreed with the assertion. The calculated mean (µ = 4.01, SD = 0.408) implying that political party ideology being logically coherent with party policy proposals was high. Standard Deviation signifies that responses on ‘political party ideology is logically coherent with party policy proposals’ the respondents did not differ much from mean. The results are in tune with Gauchat (2012)who argue that parties that win an election and form government will try to adhere to campaign promises made during election in form of responsive policies and programmes to national needs.
Tobolka (2013)elaborates that while most political parties make statements on ideological and programmes; they are not effectively articulated in party documents and published for public consumption. Lee (2013)opines that the legitimacy of political parties can thus be tested on the extent to which they are seen to embody and represent the aspirations of the majority of the society they purport to represent. Parties therefore need to be empowered with the ability to carry out surveys among their membership and improve the frequency and quality of intra communication in order to be better in touch with its membership.
Stanley (2008) contends that political party leaders who are faced with ideologically heterogeneous parties normally whip their members to follow a common group policy position. However, when ‘carrot and stick’ disciplinary mechanisms are unavailable, leaders may also manipulate the agenda-setting process in order to avoid potentially divisive votes. Russell and Cowley (2016) argue that party leaders must take account of the preferences of non-median party members when deciding whether to pursue legislation. When the preferences of these veto players diverge, and a party leader can control the agenda, the degree of grid lock is likely to increase. Consequently, while polarisation of a party’s members is likely to have pernicious effects on voting cohesion, negative agenda-setting powers allow party leaders to mitigate these effects (Kritzinger et al., 2004).
The findings from the first sub-construct which was ‘my political party has a defined political ideology’ showed that 82.4% of respondents agreed. These results are consistent with previous studies done by Brenner and Inbar (2014)who argue that ideology influences agenda setting. Scholars like Koduah et al. (2015)also contend that political ideology greatly shapes the policy environment of any country and programs to adopt by any given government. Stewart (2009) and Teece (1986)argue that governments are value-based and public policy formulation involves issues that are value based. Political ideology, therefore, guides political parties to assert their relevancy. The majority of respondents agreed that their political parties have defined political ideologies that guide the policy process in Uganda. NRM party is more aligned to Pan-Africanism and leftists, DP aligned to right wing, UPC aligned to the left wing and FDC are more aligned to radicalism. President Y. K. Museveni had this to say:
“If you do not get the right ideological campus, you are going to lose direction. The reason the NRM has succeeded both in the struggle and power, is because of ideology. In particular, we denounced sectarianism of nationalities and religion and advocated for patriotism as opposed to sectarianism. Our answer was not to think about religion or nationality or gender but love for your country. When one is patriotic, they are motivated to work for the development of their country (Field data, 2017)”.
The study results are in tandem with Brown (2012) whose research findings revealed that China adopted a single-party state, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) which has been in power since 1949. NRM party has been in power since 1986 and a close ally of China. The NRM government shares a lot in terms of political and ideological orientation. China is a great nation that has continuously extended economic and political support to Uganda and the African continent. NRM shares security details with a friendly country like China. Another NRM historical member had this to say:
“This NRM philosophy has, in addition to its own indigenous and basic ideas, borrowed quite a lot from various other ideologies both ancient and modern. This is so because all ideologies and philosophies have some good and bad elements, in relation to Uganda’s political history. The NRM is therefore tolerant and welcomes the participation and contribution of people from all sorts of ideological background (Field Data, 2017)”.
It is on this basis that one can conclude that NRM policy entertains diversity of opinion and that could explain inclusion and participation of women, people with disabilities, elderly and youth in politics. These remarks can also be corroborated with President Museveni’s end
of year (2017) State Address to the Nation where he defined the Pan-African principles as:
“African Nations should adopt to solve African criticalproblems. The NRM principle is anchored on patriotism and pan-Africanism, government that promotes national unity, guarantees prosperity and better security (Field Data, 2017)”.
It is no doubt that NRM party has significantly influenced public policy formulation in Uganda since 1986. This revelation puts other political parties like: DP, UPC and FDC in doubt if they have had any major policy change in Uganda. Opposition parties have been observers in the politics of policy formulation in Uganda. Koduah et al. (2015)contend that political parties’ ideology shape policy direction of the country and in the case of opposition parties whose actions have been peripherised, there is no doubt their relevancy in policy process has been mythical.
The findings concerning the second sub-construct on whether ‘my political party ideology provides guidance towards policy action’ revealed that 89.6% of respondents agreed, and only 7.3% strongly agreed. This implies that the majority of respondents agreed that political party ideology provides guidance towards policy action. Awaisu et al. (2014)explain that policy relevancy requires policy research, engagement and consultations with policy experts to identify, articulate, and evaluate policy issues, proposals and programmes for government and political parties.
The views of the respondents on sub-construct whether ‘political parties align the party’s ideological interests and principles to societal needs and aspirations’, were varied. The research findings revealed that 82.4% of the respondents agreed, 14.0% strongly agreed, and only 3.6% disagreed. The calculated Mean was high (µ = 4.07, SD = 0.531). The opinions given by respondents from different political parties were also statistically computed using Pearson Chi-Square analysis (c2 =43.433, df=6, P=0.000). The theoretical value from the Pearson Chi-Square table at 5% level of significance and df=6 is 12.59. Since the calculated value is greater than estimated value, it implies that our calculated value lies in the reject region. The region of rejection is all c2 values of c2= 43.433 or more. We therefore, reject H0 represented by (i), accept H1 and we say that ‘‘political parties align the party’s ideological interests and principles to societal needs and aspirations’ had a significant relationship with respondents’ political parties.
The research findings are in line with Shokri (2017) who argues that society is essentially a system of very many power relations. The most important and, indeed, the strongest among these different kinds of power is the political power wielded by the state that monopolises the use of sanctions. Society is characterized by an uneven distribution of resources; similarly, political power also is not evenly distributed in a society. In every political system, power is concentrated in few or minority group. According to Garner et al. (2009), power in society for pluralists is diffused or fragmented.
Bengtsson and Christensen (2014)attest that citizen participation in many democracies is exercised through voting. Magstadt (2008) opines that citizens can change a political regime through unconventional ways such as engaging in protests or economic boycotts. But Dahlberg and Martinsson (2015) argue that economic boycotts can only work in democratic democracies where citizens are free to demonstrate and government take note of the issues raised by the public. Political scientists call this process interest aggregation and public opinions can be expressed through polls. Elections, despite their inherent limitations, represent the best means of translating mass preferences into public policy.
Cullen et al. (2011) posit that stakeholder engagement is a strategy that brings together different political actors together to reach consensus on a contentious issue. It calls for dialogue and negotiation between worrying political parties. The stakeholder engagement recognizes ideological difference, values, roles, perceptions, and interests that should be harmonised in order to reach consensus.
Bryson et al. (2002) provide a more visual approach to stakeholders’ analysis. Stakeholder analysis is vital to establish the real stakeholders to include or exclude in public policy engagement. Maseng (2014)attests that Parliament provides a policy platform for political parties’ consultation and engagement between different stakeholders in government in the policy formulation process. The consultative and negotiation process helps political parties to harmonize ideological differences in values, beliefs and cultures (Omotola, 2009). However, political parties’ ideologies would serve as a tool of policy formulation and evaluation if there was coherence among differing political parties in the Ugandan parliament.
Roman (2015)argues that civil servants are also key stakeholders in public policy formulation in any democracy. In an election period, civil servants participate in politics as a means of exercising their rights and freedoms as opposed to neutrality. Civil servants express political views and can contest/stand for Parliament but must first resign. Additionally, civil servants are strongly encouraged to vote and to participate in the country’s election.
Regarding the issue of whether political party ideology is logically coherent with party policy proposals, respondents provided varied responses. The majority of respondents 91.2% agreed, 6.2% strongly agreed while 2.6% disagreed. This implies that majority of respondents agreed that political parties’ ideology is logically coherent with party policy proposals. These results are buttressed by Leeper (2014)who contends that political parties’ ideology can be logically coherent with party policy proposals if political parties reconcile with public opinion. Political parties greatly influence citizen policy opinions if the country has defined political ideological orientation (Carroll and Kubo, 2018).
Scholars like Bäck et al. (2011)explain that there is a high degree of cohesion within party teams in developed democracies. However Members of Parliament might not behave sincerely once their ballot call is thought, suggesting that such analyses don't reflect political actors’ real policy positions. Thus, members of parliament differ on policy positions and thereby intra-party ideological cohesion.
In Uganda, political party ideology is logically coherent with party policy proposals. As witnessed in many controversial debates in parliament, parties continuously engage party members to support such Bills and policies. The respondents who differed in opinion hold the view of Gudelis (2011)who contends that in partisan politics, citizens present their policy issues through political parties they ascribe to guided by the ideologies of political parties they support. This reaffirms the fact that public policy formulation is guided by NRM political ideology in Uganda which ascribes to patriotism and pan-Africanism (Kumah-Abiwu et al., 2013).
Respondents gave varied views on the issue of whether ‘political parties align the party’s ideological interests and principles to societal needs and aspirations. Study findings revealed that 82.4% of the respondents agreed, 14.0% strongly agreed, and only 3.6% disagreed. Golooba-Mutebi (2008) argues that the political history of Uganda has been characterized by dictatorial regimes. The four political parties selected in this study have an outstanding political history in Uganda with experienced and long serving leaders who have witnessed all political changes since independence. The rich history of political elite leading political parties in Uganda has defined vision and goals that guide the policy direction of the country.
On the issue of whether ‘political party policies are aligned with the country’s national goals and aspirations and the country’s constitution, respondents gave varied opinions. The findings revealed that 96.4% of the respondents agreed, and 3.6% strongly agreed. Political party policies are being aligned with the country’s national goals and aspirations. These results are in line with Kakuba (2010)study findings on multiparty politics and dynamics in Uganda.
Political ideology and democratic governance in Uganda
Political ideology provides a framework for contributing to democratic governance in Uganda, the findings revealed that 89.6% of the respondents agreed, 9.3% strongly agreed, and only 1.0% disagreed. The calculated Mean (µ = 4.07, SD = 0.531) implying that political ideology providing the framework for contributing to democratic governance in Uganda was high. The views given by respondents from different political parties were computed using Pearson Chi-Square analysis (c2 =13.118, df=6, P=0.041). The theoretical value from the Pearson Chi-Square table at 5% level of significance and df=6 is 12.59. Since the calculated value is greater than theoretical value, it implies that our calculated value lies in the reject region. The region of rejection is all c2 values of c2= 13.118 or more. We therefore, reject H0 represented by (i), accept H1 and we say that ‘political ideology providing the framework for contributing to democratic governance in Uganda’ had a significant relationship with respondents’ political parties.
Democracy has its history in ancient Greece where citizens’ participation was in form of meetings. As a sign of democracy, decisions which had the majority support were considered (Murison, 2013). Bruycker and Beyers (2013) argue that citizens can write to their representatives, Speaker of Parliament or stage peaceful demonstration demanding for government action on particular issues of national concern. Christensen et al. (2016) contend that citizens also influence government policies during elections and that it is at this level that political means are used.
Scholars like Lefevere et al. (2015)argue that election campaigns are a major determinant factor in citizen policy engagement during election time. Election campaigns create public awareness among citizens on what political parties would offer if they won an election. Kropivnik (2011) explains that political parties present their manifestos containing pledges they would fulfil if they won an election. When parties own policy issues that respond to citizens demands, this influences the voting pattern during election period.
Bratton and Lambright (2000)argue that a referendum was held and Ugandans were required to choose whether to maintain the movement system as a form of governance based on individual merit or to have a multiparty system that would allow political parties to compete for political offices and state power. The referendum was therefore intended to test Ugandans on which political direction the country would take as a form of governance system.
The study revealed that political parties aid popular public policy participation and member mobilisation. Political parties systematically track and measure policy achievements registered under each policy goal to confirm that such goals and targets are integrated in the overall development vision of the country (Lehoucq and Edouard, 2006). A key informant from NRM party responded that Pan-Africanism is the guiding ideology in public policy formulation in Uganda and these views were captured using documentary review guide:
“To achieve national security, African countries must root for and embrace patriotism and Pan-Africanism so that African societies are enabled to undergo socio-economic transformation and the realisation of democracy. National security must be approached by dealing with the issue of the ideology of the country and its institutions. He noted that ideology ought to be promoted in society whereby politicians begin by concentrating on the interests of the people rather than on identity (Field Data, 2017)”.
This is to emphasise the fact that political ideology is deeply rooted in President Museveni’s political reign and public policy formulation is, therefore, guided by patriotism and Pan-Africanism in Uganda.
The views of the respondents on sub-construct ‘political party policies are aligned with the country’s National Goals and aspirations and the country’s Constitution based on party ideology’ varied among respondents. Research findings gave varied responses where 96.4% of the respondents agreed, and only 3.6% strongly agreed. The calculated Mean (µ = 4.14, SD = 0.284) which was high.
According to the findings regarding political ideology providing the framework for contributing to democratic governance in Uganda, 89.6% of the respondents agreed, 9.3% strongly agreed, and only 1.0% disagreed implying that political ideology providing the framework for contributing to democratic governance in Uganda was high. These results are buttressed by Brenner and Inbar (2014)and Oginni (2015)who argue that public engagement is a new model that promotes effective and efficient service delivery. This is premised on the view that public engagement promotes cohesion and trust.
Public engagement promotes citizen participation, public accountability and transparency as pillars of good governance (Holmes, 2011). Public engagement activities bring citizens closer to government and strengthen national purpose and common policy direction. Tsekpo and Hudson (2009)also opines that Parliamentary Committees are mandated to hold public meetings to advance public opinion. The members of parliament represent voters’ opinions and their interaction with citizens is an indicator of good governance and representative democracy.
The findings on whether political ideology promotes policy alternatives that respond to the interests, concerns, and needs of the citizens of Uganda, reveal that 84.5% of the respondents agreed, 15.0% strongly agreed and while only 0.5% disagreed. These results are supported by Anderson (2003)who argues that generation of sound policy alternatives would depend on a country’s political context and how this relates to planned development interventions to serve the needs of the people. In developed economies, political parties adhere to established party ideologies to guide the policy process (Lee, 2013).
Brahim (2017)says political organizations provide a platform for engagement, dialogue and negotiations between the party in power and opposition to address citizens’ needs in form of policy options. Gauchat (2012)argues that the public would have confidence and trust in government if it responded to citizens demands in form of
programmes that are citizen-centered. These findings corroborate with the study by Hofmeister and Grabow (2009) who explain that credible policies deepen political trust. However, most often, it transcends partisan and/or ideological attachments and explains divergence in opinion among respondents.
Lijphart (1981)argues that political leaders always strive to achieve for their citizens what they promised them during election campaigns. Political leaders who are sincere and visionary will try to fulfil policy issues captured in party manifestos as a sign of accountability to citizens (Nakisanze, 2016). The ruling party should provide impressive levels of socio-economic development. The ruling party should, therefore, be dedicated to build a country for the good of all citizens. Political leaders should turn Constitutions into living documents by holding religiously unto the belief that their mandate to form governments is founded on their willingness to uphold the country’s values.
However, the findings indicate that in terms of effect, political ideology contributes 20.7% to public policy formulation in Uganda’s nascent hydrocarbon industry. This confirms Heywood's (2017)argument that the link between political parties and political ideology in modern democracies is on the decline. Political ideologies which evolved in the 18th century in France were highly frustrated in the 1950s and 1960s and remained as symbols of cold war defining which Bloc to belong to. The period between the 1980s and 1990s also witnessed dysfunctional trends between political ideologies and political parties where political ideology could no longer guide political direction in the majority of political parties. The 20.7% contribution leaves many researchers wondering why a low percentage? Why not 100% contribution? The factors at play are enormous and the actors in policy formulation are diverse with inherent challenges. The new political parties are still weak and only appear on political stage during elections and all these challenges coupled with dominance of the ruling party partly explain divergence in responses on this particular issue.
Biegelbauer and Hansen (2011)contend that public policy making is a product of six model framework adopted to address divergent public needs. These models include: the closed-door model where policy makers attempt to exclude the citizen participation in decision making. A policy problem generated within inner circles of the top political structure. The Policy makers neither see the participation of the public as either necessary or desirable in the policy process at agenda setting phase. This model assumes that the public lacks technical capacity to influence public decisions.
In the light of political ideology promoting policy alternatives that respond to the interests, concerns, and needs of the citizens of Uganda, varied views were given by respondents. Study findings revealed that 84.5% of the respondents agreed, 15.0% strongly agreed and while only .5% disagreed. The calculated Mean (µ = 4.14, SD = 0.390) implying that political ideology promoting policy alternatives that respond to the interests, concerns, and needs of the citizens of Uganda was high. The opinions given by respondents from different political parties were statistically computed using Pearson chi-square test was performed (c2 =12.384, df=5, P=0.030). The theoretical value from the Pearson Chi-Square table at 5% level of significance and df=5 is 11.07. Since the calculated value is greater than theoretical value, it implies that our calculated value lies in the reject region. The region of rejection is all c2 values of c2 =12.384 or more. We therefore, reject H0 represented by (i), accept H1 and we say that political ideology promoting policy alternatives that respond to the interests, concerns, and needs of the citizens of Uganda had a significant relationship with respondents’ political parties.
From Table 2, respondents gave varied views on sub-construct ‘political ideology promotes policy alternatives that respond to the interests, concerns, and needs of the citizens of Uganda’. The results revealed that 91.2% of the respondents agreed, and 8.8% strongly agreed. The calculated Mean (µ = 4.09, SD = 0.284) implying that political ideology promotes policy alternatives that respond to the interests, concerns, and needs of the citizens of Uganda was high.
The Average Mean obtained through the analysis of all the eight elements under this objective is (µ = 4.056, SD = 0.361), interpreted as high influence. An examination of the items under objective one of the study revealed that the Members of Parliament showed that political parties’ ideology is a determinant in public policy formulation in Uganda’s nascent hydrocarbon industry.