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However, not to tire the listeners, having listened to many speakers already, let me go straight to “Peace and Security” and, then, conclude with a small piece on “People, Prosperity and Peace”.
Since 1960, when I was old enough to follow events being in the Junior Secondary School, I have been able to distil the following factors that affect peace and security in Africa:
(i) ideological disorientation of some of the political actors;
(ii) gross and criminal indiscipline of many African actors who misbehave with impunity; this especially applies to soldiers and other para-military groups;
(iii) external meddling based on greed, ignorance and arrogance; and
(iv) the under-development of many African economies that does not allow the funding (adequate or otherwise) of African armies and security forces, where upon the said forces have to depend on erratic external funding.
You can see one or the other of these four factors right from the murder of Patrice Lumumba in 1960, to the genocide and mass killings in Rwanda and Burundi over the decades, to the chaos that has existed in Eastern Congo that is, fortunately, being wound up recently, to the haemorrhage of human life in Uganda between 1966 and 1986, to the current crisis in South Sudan, to the Biafran war in Nigeria in the 1970s, etc. etc.
– Factor number one is the pseudo ideology of sectarianism based on tribe, religion and gender chauvinism.
In Uganda, we have been able to expose the bankruptcy of sectarianism.
It is the ideology of parasites and political opportunists who disregard the interests of the people and push their own selfish interests.
What are the interests of the African people? Number one is peace, security and dignity.
No African should live in insecure conditions. Everybody should live in dignity and peace except if he/she breaks the law and is sent to jail by a competent court.
Even then, although deprived of freedom, he/she should be treated humanely.
– Secondly, African people, since time immemorial, live in symbiotic or complementary societies, with one tribe specializing in some products or services while the other tribe specializes in another set of products and services.
The tribes, then, exchange products and services, in the past using barter trade (okuchurika) and, more recently, use cash.
Usually, there is less complementality within one tribe or caste and more complementality among the different tribes or castes.
In modern times, the rural areas produce what the urban areas need and the rural people would buy from the towns what the rural areas need.
By aggregating the peoples of Uganda, the peoples of East Africa, the peoples of Central Africa, producers in Uganda or any of the other of the countries in the area have a bigger market that can absorb their products, stimulate expansion of production, thereby creating more wealth and more employment.
Anybody that, therefore, promotes animosity on a sectarian basis, among the African people is an enemy of those very people.
It is parasites that do that because genuine producers in agriculture, industry and services cannot do that.
They cannot act against their own interests. A few years ago, a hotel owner in Kampala complained to me about the misbehaviour of cattle keepers, far away in the Queen Elizabeth National Park, who were grazing their cattle in the National Park.
Why? It was because of the negative publicity around that issue, which was driving away tourists, some of whom were using his hotel, far away in Kampala.
These are the legitimate interests of the African people, both in the past and now.
In whose interests, then, do the promoters of sectarianism act?
In the interests of those very parasites. Colonial armies and their neo-colonial remnants have excelled in brutalizing the African people ? extra-judicial killings, rape, defilement, looting of the scanty properties of the people, poaching of the animals in the National Parks, illegal mining, etc. Nobody would punish them by holding them accountable.
Our Movement, the NRM, has been able to build an effective force by dealing with ideology and discipline.
Our ideology is patriotism within Uganda, Pan-Africanism in Africa, working for socio-economic transformation and also working for democracy.
Any soldier who misbehaves is punished. Since 1986, the number of soldiers sentenced to death for homicide is 147, out of which 23 have, actually, been executed.
That is why our army can be deployed in Somalia and do a good job. External meddling to work for selfish interests or simply out of ignorance is another cause of problems.
The killing of Lumumba by external forces, working with local traitors, plunged Congo into almost 50 years of chaos.
The genocide in Rwanda was promoted from outside using local traitors. The mass killings in Uganda, costing 800,000 lives in 20 years, were done by people like Idi Amin and other local agents of foreign interests.
The failure to manage the economy also cripples the capacity of the State in terms of building the Armed Forces and sustaining them.
It is possible to build a capable Armed Force if you know what is required.
In the end, developing the African economies will also enable us to create sustainable peace.
This brings me to the other theme: “Investing in People, Prosperity and Peace and Security”.
Our experience is that, apart from investing in people through education and health, we must, especially, invest in infrastructure (electricity, roads, the railways, ICT, piped water, etc).
These three (ideological disorientation, underdevelopment of the human resource and the under-development of the infrastructure), are part of the 10 strategic bottlenecks that we have identified in Uganda as being responsible for Africa’s stagnation, even after independence in the 1960s. I do not have time to list the others or discuss them.
Infrastructure development in Africa must, therefore, be part of the main declaration.
You cannot talk of “Prosperity” in African without talking about infrastructure.
I thank you.
2nd April, 2014 – Brussels-Belgium