President Museveni has told a meeting in the UK why he never supported former Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi’s push for African federation.
“I did not believe in the federation of the whole of Africa that the late Muammar Gaddaffi sought because the whole continent does not have sufficient compatibilities,” Museveni said in a speech read on his behalf by army chief political commissar, Brigadier Henry Masiko.
This was at a summit on Africa hosted at the University of Warwick, Coventry on January 26-28. Gadaffi was a strong advocate of one Africa. At the time of his death, he was mobilising support for the idea amongst African leaders.
Instead, Museveni said, regional federations should be looked at as a more acceptable option.
“Having suffered for 500 years, the African people are entitled to a strong shield to insure their future,” he said.
The president, who at the time of the summit was attending an AU meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said Uganda regarded groups which advocate identity politics as working against the prosperity of citizens.
“Since the internal market of Uganda is not enough to support our prosperity, we tell our people that our future lies in an integrated East Africa and African markets,” he said, adding, “Because economic integration creates a bigger market and more opportunities.”
Museveni also said he regarded human resource more important than natural resources.
“It is on account of the fact that human resource is creative, conscious and also consumes goods and services while the natural resources are inert unless they are worked on by the very human resource,” he said.
He said African countries are now even more vulnerable with the Americans talking about “superiority on land, in the air, at sea and in space”.
This leaves Africa nowhere, he said. Museveni wondered how Africans can survive as free people, if we survive at all, only with the permission of others. He said Africa’s elite populations are making the same mistake as the African chiefs who failed to unite people for decades as Europeans took over the whole continent.