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He was addressing African heads of state and government and other world leaders who had met in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to celebrate 50 years of the OAU/AU establishment on Saturday.
But Museveni cautioned that unnecessary non-tariff barriers, unequal distribution of benefits within the economic blocs and insufficient attention to infrastructural development remain obstacles to sustaining and surpassing this growth rate.
He hailed the East African Community (EAC) for supporting the unity of its people and whose treaty aims at an eventual political federation.
His emphasis was that economic and political integration are the two factors that can give full meaning to the renaissance of Africa.
“Africa was colonized because we were not united unlike the Chinese and Japanese, who in spite of their inferior technology were able to unite and defeat European colonialism,” he said.
Turning to the founders of the OAU, President Museveni commended them for their determination to defeat militarily the incorrigible colonial and racist white regimes that were controlling Southern Africa at that time.
He cited FRELIMO led by Samora Machel which by the 1970s had defeated the big offensive Operation Gordian Knot by the Portuguese General Kaulza D’Arriaga and subsequently to the total liberation of Mozambique.
He said that the blows the Portuguese were receiving in Mozambique were duplicated in Angola and Guinea Bissau leading to their independence.
“These developments in turn led to the collapse of the Fascist Regime in Portugal in 1974 and the defeat of the white minority regime of Ian Smith in Zimbabwe. By 1994, South Africa and Namibia had been liberated by military action.”
With that, the Ugandan leader lent credence that when Africa is united, nothing can stop it.
The occasion was punctuated by an extravaganza of various African entertainment depicting dance and drama from a number of national dancing troupes.
It was earlier addressed by the host Ethiopian Premier and current African Union Chairman H.E Hailemariam Desalegn who said that the 50th OAU/AU Anniversary was also an opportunity to pay homage to “our fore fathers who sacrificed their lives in the struggle for Africa’s independence”.
He also directed special tribute to the founders of the Organization of African Unity “who evolved the Pan African spirit to consolidate the achievements attained at independence, pursue total independence, stability and democracy for the continent”.
According to the Ethiopian PM, Africa’s vision in the next 50 years is to attain full economic integration and attain a middle income status.
The AU Commission chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma attended the event.
Earlier in the day, while contributing to the Jubilee debate during the special commemorative summit of Heads of State and Government held at the AU Commission Conference Centre, Museveni called on international lending agencies of the world to support the development of economic infrastructures in Africa like electricity generation, roads and railways instead of placing emphasis on profit.
The anniversary celebrations were also attended by the United Nations Secretary General Mr.Ban Ki Moon.
The President is accompanied to Addis Ababa by the Hon. Sam Kutesa, Members of Parliament Hon Jesca Ababiku of Adjumani and Hon Tom Aza of Moyo.
50 years ago on the 25th of May 1965, Africa’s forefathers who included President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Prime Minister Apolo Milton Obote of Uganda and Emperor Haile Selessie of Ethiopia among others founded the Organization of African Unity (OAU) with the cardinal objective of promoting the Unity, solidarity and cooperation of African States as well as to struggle for total independence of the whole African continent and achieve a better life for the African people.
The organization that has since metamorphosed into the African Union has not only contributed to the achievement of total liberation of Africa from the vestiges of colonialism and apartheid but has also provided a unique platform for Africa’s integration and development.
It now plays the crucial role of addressing the multifaceted social, economic and political challenges confronting the continent and raising Africa’s profile on the world scene.
Later on Saturday evening, Ugandan leader attended the 22nd Extra Ordinary summit of the Inter Governmental Authority on Development convened by the Ethiopian Prime Minister and current IGAD Chairman HE Hailemariam Deseleign at the Hilton Addis Ababa Hotel.
The Summit attended by the IGAD Heads of State and Government was devoted to finding solutions to the challenges of the pacification of the Federal Republic of Somalia.