Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has praised Russia for opposing hegemonism and imperialist practices, saying they have the capacity to contribute to world peace.
President Museveni who is in Russia on a state visit made these remarks on Monday while presenting a public lecture to the students and community of the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations University of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in Moscow under the theme “The situation in the Modern World and Africa”
The Ugandan President however did not mention the said imperialists though many will interprete Museveni’s remarks to mean western countries.
Museveni said Africa is poised to become a global force and its progress is irreversible.
“We know what the bottlenecks have been and we are addressing them. Nothing will stop us this time. Russia was our partner in the independence struggle. It is unfortunate that the Soviet Union had problems when we needed each other most.However, Russia has recovered. Let us resume where we left off. We salute the stand of Russia and China in opposing hegemonism and imperialist practices. Progressive forces in Africa, working with Russia, China, Brazil, etc., have the capacity to contribute to World peace,” he said.
Museveni said hegemonism and imperialism are not the answer to dictatorship but genuine liberation struggles – armed or peaceful – waged by the people themselves.
“With improvements in weapons’ technology – with the use of precision bombs (laser and satellite guided), stealth bombers, cruise-missiles, anti-missiles technology, ECM technology, etc., renewed arrogance is manifesting itself in some quarters in the Western world. This arrogance and boldness have been encouraged by the encounters with incompetent and bombastic Third World leaders, like Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadaffi who could not organize a structured people’s war and maintain cohesion of the aggressed people,” he said. Museveni said while he does not extol the mistakes of these leaders, Africa was taken by surprise because it did not expect such brazen actions or such disdain for the African position.
“Whatever is pushing those actors, they are making a big mistake. Cooperating with Africa is the wise thing to do. Partnership is the correct way and those countries do not have anything to lose by taking that route – but everything to gain. After all, many African countries have historical links with these countries. Cooperation would serve everybody well,” he said.
Museveni who was flanked by the Vice Rector for International and Public Affairs Andrei V. Silantiev, said the aggressiveness that is being shown by the actions of some Western countries in Libya, in total disregard of the AU position, was confusing.
“Is it on account of increased power; is it out of panic on account of the gradual loss of global leadership or is it on account of determination to access new resources in order to postpone the gradual receding in terms of global leadership? In the case of Libya, the African Union had a plan to sort out the issues of Gadafi. If the Western countries had listened to us, the issues of Libya would have been solved in a less disruptive manner. As matters turned out, a lot of destruction was done in Libya and a lot of fall-out has affected the neighbouring countries such as Mali, where a huge chunk of that country is now being controlled by terrorist groups. Where conflicts occur, the proper formula to address them is the one that creates a ‘Trinity’ of: the internal stakeholders, the Regional Organizations and the International Community. If you go away from this ‘Trinity’, you fail,” he said, adding that “this formula was used in Burundi and succeeded. We used it in Sudan and we succeeded, although some of the issues have not yet been solved.
Responding to various issues, the President called for direct flights from Russia to Uganda to fast track trade and development and urged the Russian private sector to come to Uganda.
On the arms contract with Russia, the President said while the initial contract was in arms trade, Uganda was working towards building its own capacity and that the Russian government is willing to support it.
Museveni said while progress with the African Customs Union is slow, there is progress in the blocks including COMESA, ECOWAS etc that were working well. He said nuclear as a source of cheap electricity, medicinal purposes and as a clean source of fuel was good for Africa. He also clarified that it was not the Acholi tribe that was fighting government but individual elements who were defeated and disbanded out of Uganda.