President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said Uganda is on the right path to development despite the numerous problems it has faced over the past 60 years, he described as having been eventful.
“It has been quite an eventful 60 years. In spite of the numerous problems over these 60 years, Uganda is now standing and marching forward,” Gen Museveni said, adding that it is only Uganda that faced problems as did many African countries.
While officiating at celebrations to mark Uganda’s diamond jubilee (60 Years of independence) at Kololo Independence grounds themed: A Declaration of African interdependence and our shared destiny, the fountain of honor who was accompanied by the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Mrs Janet Museveni said Uganda’s advantage amidst the challenges has been its upright and well crystalized thinking on the philosophical ideological and strategic issues since the time it defeated Idi Amin in 1979.
“On the side of ideology, we discovered that in order to create prosperity for our people through the production and sell of sell of goods and services, we need to emphasize the four (4) principles, namely; Patriotism (Loving Uganda), pan Africanism (loving Africa), Social Economic Transformation and Democracy,” Museveni said.
He noted that from the onset, they evolved a strategy of 10 points program in order to use their understanding of philosophy ideology to create prosperity for the people of which point no. 5 focused on “Building an independent, integrated and self-sustaining national economy”. By that time according to the President, they had already discovered that one of Africa’s problems, had been the curse of confining itself to the export of raw-materials getting less than 10% of the actual value of the end product and the resultant loss of jobs to the cleverer-led outsiders.
”The outsiders are better led, they take our raw materials, they get more money out of them, and create jobs for their children when ours are here dying in the oceans trying to go to Europe,” Museveni said, adding that the external parasite groups are always interested in perpetuating that hemorrhage of resources and development energies from Africa to other places.
The Commander in Chief of the UPDF also decried what he described as the comprador bourgeoisie (agents of foreign interests) in Africa, who he said are opposing Uganda’s value addition efforts, so as to frustrate industrialization efforts, in addition to promoting importation of substandard products including “trivialities like dead people’s hair. It is these processes that have stunted Africa’s growth,” he said.
The President highlighted to over 800 guests at Kololo Independence grounds some of the products that would make Uganda and Africa rich but have rather remained a curse to development because the political class in Uganda and Africa seem not to see the value in them. Top on the list was coffee which he said despite the fact that much of it comes from Africa, the continent (Africa) only gets 2.5 billion dollars against the global value of 460 billion dollars. Uganda only shares 800 million.
“The global value for trade in coffee is US$460 billion. The coffee-growing Countries get only US$25 billion and Africa gets US$2.5 billion Uganda taking US$800 million. The global automobile business is US$2.86 trillion; Africa’s share is 30.44 billion. The global pharmaceutical business is US$ 1.42 trillion; Africa’s share is US$16 billion. The global business for furniture is US$654.20 billion; Africa’s share is US$4.86 billion. The global business for textiles is US$ 1 trillion; Africa’s share is US$ 31 billion.
The global business for cereals is US$1,337 billion; Africa’s share is US$275.80 billion. The global business for milk is US$308.8 billion; Africa’s share is US$18.06 billion. The global business for fruits is US$622.80 billion; Africa’s share is US$56.30 billion.
The global business for electronics is US$1,062 billion; Africa’s share is US$82.16 billion. The global business for electrical equipment is US$1,540.25 billion; Africa’s share is US$120 billion. The global business for beef is US$414.98 billion; Africa’s share is US$333.90 million. The global business for fish is US$544.20 billion; Africa’s share is US$46.87 billion.
“Are there professors of economics in Africa? If the political actors do not see this haemorrhage, why should the academicians not see it? Are they not supposed to scan the global system as to what is going on where and why?” Museveni asked, saying professors and academicians are supposed to use their knowledge to see what is good or bad for their people
He vowed to fight anybody fighting his value addition on coffee which has been his desire since 1986.
“I am the promoter of the coffee value addition. I am abundant here, let me see who is coming to fight me (anankwatako),” Museveni warned.
He informed his guests that Uganda, has had to fight the neo-colonial politicians, civil servants, parasitic importing merchants, on account of this hemorrhage and have through struggle, managed to add value to some products like; Maize, milk, cotton, sugar cane, cattle, fish, bananas, fruits, sorghum, pine trees, gold, limestone, palm oil, clay and tea.
On this note, the president hailed the first lady for fighting importation of furniture from China and India.
“Mama Janet here has had to have a big fight in the ministry of education where they were giving tenders to companies in India to supply chairs for schools and yet we had people here who were making furniture but were not being allowed by these wonderful people,” Gen Museveni further noted.
The president revealed that the government has got investors that are ready to build the vertically integrated steel industry that will produce high grade products that we need for hydro power dams, for high raised buildings, for the standard gauge railway and for our automobile and military industries.
This will help Uganda save 362 million US Dollars that has been spent on importing steel products
“Yes, we have 12 factories recycling scrap metal. These scrap steel helps us to get steel bars for low strength buildings. The products of recycled steel cannot however be used for high strength structures such as dams,” Museveni said, and appealed to Ugandans to support his liberation efforts.
The ceremony attracted at least 4 heads of state and delegations from sister countries of east Africa and beyond. Speaker after speaker, the visiting leaders hailed H.E President Museveni for championing peace and stability not only in Uganda but also in East Africa and Africa at large.
The President of Kenya Dr William Kipchirchir Samoei Arap Ruto who delivered greetings from the people of Kenya and assured the people of Uganda of his commitment to integrate the region
“Your Excellency, as our elder you have a challenge to lead the charge on ensuring that we bring down the boundaries and the borders and the barriers so that we have a borderless east African community. We are looking in our lifetime that people, goods and services can move across this east Africa as we lead the way in ensuring that the Africa continental free trade area becomes a reality,” H.E Ruto said adding that this will be possible given the age, the responsibility and the experience of President Museveni.
“With age and with experience, comes responsibility. You have the experience, take the responsibility and lead the charge”
On his part, the President of the republic of South Sudan General Salva Kiir Mayardit, saluted the men and women in uniform who not only fought to bring Peace in Uganda but also the region.
“Let me also recognize and honor the men and women who made ultimate sacrifices 60 years ago to liberate Uganda from colonial rule. Without them, this day would not have come to pass and through them, Uganda is spearheading the liberation of many African countries including South Sudan,” Salvar Kiir said.
The President of Burundi and the current Chairman of the East African Community, General Évariste Ndayishimiye hailed President Museveni for his contribution in stabilizing Burundi.
“Burundians will never forget the contribution you made for the return of peace, stability and democracy in Burundi as chairperson of chairperson of regional initiative. Thank you again your Excellency for your wise contribution to establish peace in the region. We Burundian people and East Africa people, we are proud of you,” President Ndayishimiye said.
The President of Federal Republic of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said since independence Somalia and Uganda have shared so much in common and both stood by each other’s side during their struggle to independence. He commended Uganda’s efforts and the entire East African region to eliminate the Al-Shabaab militants that are destabilizing parts of the region and for training Somalis in skills to defend their country.
“Today, Somalia and Uganda fight a common enemy in international terrorism. On the security front, Somalia and Uganda and all other troop contributing countries are laying a foundation for a secure progressive and prosperous Somalia and wider region by actively supporting our government’s efforts to eliminate Al-Shabaab once and for all,” H.E Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said.
The minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda Vincent Biruta represented Paul Kagame delivered greetings from the people of Rwanda to Uganda saying Uganda has transformed beyond recognition in all aspects.
He said the People of Rwanda and the people of Uganda are brothers and sisters, brought together by one unity, purpose and indeed destiny which will remain so forever.
“On the part of east African community, we applaud your achievements in the region and of course you can count on Rwanda to be part of that unity process,”
Zanzibar President H.E Dr. Hussein Ali Mwinyi who represented Her Excellency Samia Suluhu Hassan of the Republic of Tanzania urged the people of the two countries to remain steadfast on implementing the East African Oil Crude Oil pipeline which is seen as a game changer to the development of the two countries.
H.E. Lihau Ebua Jean Pierre, the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Public Service of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who represented H.E Felix Tshisekedi Shilombo also addressed the gathering.
The Secretary General of the East African Community Mr Peter Mathuki also attended the ceremony.
The Minister for Presidency Babirye Milly Babalanda hailed President Museveni as a statesman of east Africa, a freedom fighter trusted with hope to realize east African integration. “You have invested a great deal of your time, marketing the values of east African integration,” Minister Babalanda said.
She made a passionate appeal to East African leaders to expedite East African integration, a process she described as being too slow.
At least 800 people physically attended the ceremony at Kololo, who sat in accordance with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) of COVID19
In attendance were the Vice President of Uganda Maj (Rtd) Jessica Alupo Epel, His Lordship the chief Justice of Uganda Alfonse Owiny-Dollo, the First National Chairman of NRM Party Moses Kigongo, Cabinet Ministers led by the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, the Secretary General of NRM Richard Todwong, NRM Historicals, former ministers, service chiefs and religious leaders.
The ceremony was characterized by fun fare including a parade match past in slow and quick time mounted by the officers of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF), Uganda Police Force, Uganda Prisons Service and Uganda wildlife authority. The gathering at Kololo also witnessed a military fly-past and an acrobatic dropdown of the UPDF commandos.