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The topic of political ideology has continued to create critical debate and discourse of the last two centuries. At its basis a political ideology is a collection of ideas and values that form a specific overall world view. However, in the more recent time, debate has increased on the suitability of this concept and the future of political ideology in an increasingly modernized and internationalized world, especially in Africa, where dominant political ideologies are frequently argued to be externally imposed and not adequate to capture regional needs and interests. Ideologies can inform decisions on the economy, education, health care, labour law, criminal law, social security, trade, immigration, the environment, and the role of the military. Even though these questions are still relevant, they are more often than not addressed without an overarching ideological compass. Resulting from a perceived inadequacy of traditional ideologies to cater to the needs of modern politics in a changed or even fundamentally different society, are a number of proposed theories on the future of ideologically-led politics: Be it that there are no ideologies left but neo-liberalism and that we need to get over ideologies and start focussing on content, or that the traditional ideologies might be in a state of re-definition where new emerging issues need to be absorbed and the borders of greater ideological world views redesigned. In the medium ground are theories that identify the shift of the ideological spectrum from the right-to-left orientation to a new dimension where the hegemonic neo-liberal ideology is standing in contrast to counter-movements that are still in the phase of emergence and definitions, such as feminism, ecologism, or pan-africanism, which are starting out as issue based movements with a core idea and might eventually be combined or further developed in full ideologies that encompass an entire world view, providing guidance on the issues outlined above.
Since these theories are especially pertinent for African and also specifically Ugandan politics, as it is the task and opportunity of the political leadership and youth in Uganda to take a stance and define the future of their nation and their continent, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is organising a workshop on the question of “Political Ideology in the Ugandan Context”. The question of whether to push for the adaptation of a traditional ideology to the modern Ugandan situation, for the development of a new African-based ideology or the abandonment of ideological concerns in the pursuit of purely practical approaches, is of highest relevance to the youth and entire political life of Uganda. Especially since this issue is the overarching topic that will guide all future decisions and debates on national development in all areas and sectors. Participants in the workshop will be members of the “Young Leader’s Think Tank for Policy Alternatives” and other politically or socially engaged and interested youth from many different institutions and organisations. The discussion will be opened by a presentation by Dr. S. K. Simba from the department of Political Science, Makerere University.