Their Excellencies, the former Heads of State,
Hon. Speaker of the Assembly,
Hon. Members of the Assembly,
Government Ministers and Officials,
Distinguished Partners and Invited Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
In the month of March, in the year 2007, a contingent of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) landed in Somalia as the first contingent of the African Union force that had to go to Somalia which had been taken over by extremist terrorists. Somalia had become a no-go-area for all civilized people. The USA Army had been forced to withdraw after heavy losses. Many people thought that we were mad to agree to involve ourselves in that situation. I was, however, confident that we would defeat the demented terrorists. What many people did not know was that that Army had its beginnings here, in Mozambique, in Montepuez, Cabo Delgado.
The historical relationship between the Revolution of Mozambique and the Revolution of Uganda, actually, started with the politics of Uganda. Before colonialism, the linguistically similar or linked Peoples of what is now called Uganda, had their peace and prosperity constantly disturbed and undermined by the ego-centric and myopic chiefs of that area that were always fomenting conflicts among the fraternal peoples of the area: Rwanda, Ankole, Bunyoro, Buganda, Karagwe, Buhaya, Busongora, Bukedi, Burundi, etc. These Kingdoms and Chiefdoms are in present day: Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Congo–Kinshasa. These wars fomented by the myopic Kings and Chiefs were accompanied with tribal chauvinism and sectarianism although the Peoples’ prosperity, partly, depended on trading among themselves. Goods would come, for instance, from Zanzibar, through Bagamoyo, Tabora, Karagwe, etc., all the way to the Great Lakes (Uganda, Congo, etc.). Therefore, the wars that were fomented by these Chiefs run counter to the Peoples’ interests. This political and ideological fragmentation (in terms of People’s outlook, focus and political organization), enabled the colonialists to conquer our People. The chiefs were busy fighting each other instead of fighting the invading imperialists.
To the ideology of tribal chauvinism and sectarianism created by the Chiefs, the imperialists added another poison, sectarianism of religion imported from Europe (Catholics vs Protestants) and the Middle East (Moslems vs Christians). Therefore, even when Political Parties were formed in 1950s, they found themselves caught in this trap: sectarianism of tribe and religion.
On top of the political fragmentation caused by this ideological bankruptcy, or rather on account of it, there was the issue of a sectarian and brutal Army that engaged in extra-judicial killings, rape and plunder. The progressive elements in our area, led by the late Mwalimu Nyerere, pushed for patriotism (uzalendo) within each country instead of identity chauvinism; and Pan-Africanism throughout Africa so as to guarantee better our strategic security and also to ensure our prosperity through trade where we exchange goods and services, taking advantage of the bigger African Market. The leaders beyond Tanzania in our area, never paid attention to these survival imperatives. Hence, Uganda in particular, got herself mired in the very politics of sectarianism of religion and tribe with the attendant phenomenon of tribal Armies brutalizing and abusing People, destroying their property and squandering their development time by creating crisis after crisis.
It is at this stage, in 1965, that a new force started forming. Starting with student groups, we rejected the politics of identity (religion and tribe) and distilled and stood for the politics of interests (prosperity through trade and security through Pan-African action). We were aware of Mwalimu’s Pan-African stand, which we totally identified with. Mwalimu’s Pan-Africanist stand included the support for the Liberation Movements fighting to liberate the remaining Colonies in Africa which included: Mozambique, Rhodesia, South Africa, Namibia, Angola and Guinea-Bissau. Our student group had two interests in the Liberation Movements. First of all, we supported their cause to free the unliberated parts of Africa. However, we also had the ulterior motive of wanting to learn from them so that we could fight our own local reactionary tyrants.
Taking advantage of the United University of East Africa (which was comprised of the University Colleges of: Makerere, Dar-es-Salaam and Nairobi), many members of our group got ourselves admitted in University College, Dar-es-Salaam. This was deliberate. We had not only come to study but to also network in preparation for the struggle we intended to launch in Uganda. This is how we linked up with Mwalimu Nyerere and Frelimo. We started a Pan-Africanist Student Movement known as the University Students African Revolutionary Front (USARF). The immediate task of this group was sensitize the students about the need to support, morally, the anti-colonial armed struggles that were going on in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau. That is how I first visited the “Zona Liberatada”, base Limpopo and Base Beira, at the end of 1968. That visit exposed the lies of those who were saying that there was no armed struggle going on inside Mozambique. There was an insidious enemy campaign denigrating freedom fighters that they were bogus fighters, spending most of the time in night clubs in Dar-es-Salaam.
We were planning another visit. In fact on the day Comrade Mondlane was killed, I was due to meet him at a Café on a Petrol Station on Upanga Road for those who know Dar-es-Salaam. I waited for him, but he did not show up. After waiting for some hours, I gave up and boarded a bus to go back to the University. Aboard the bus, I heard the passengers saying that the Radio had announced that the Leader of the Mozambiquan Resistance had been assassinated with a bomb hidden in a book.
Very soon, our links with Mwalimu and Frelimo came in handy. Our reactionary groups in Uganda, predictably, got themselves into a crisis, in fact into a series of crises: 1964, 1966, 1969 when Obote was shot and, finally, 1971 when Amin came into power. Straight away, Comrade Samora offered to train our fighters at Nachingwea and in the Liberated Zones. Frelimo trained three groups for us of 5, 14 and 53 between 1971 and 1974. Some of the trainees were not well selected and they did not turn out to be useful. In fact, Comrade Samora had to dissolve and send away the group of 53. It was the group of 28 that Mwalimu and Comrade Samora helped me to train at Montepuez between 1976 and 1978, that turned out to be the most useful. By the time Amin collapsed on the 11th of April, 1979, this group of 28 had helped me to raise a force of 9,000 soldiers. Although the political problems of Uganda were not resolved immediately, Uganda has never looked back. When you hear that Uganda has got an Army that defeated Al-Shabaab in Somalia, remember that the beginnings of this Army were in Montepuez. It is not only the UPDF that was given birth to by Frelimo. One of the 28 graduates of Montepuez was a Rwandese, Fred Rwigyema. Therefore, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) of Rwanda, eventually, also benefitted from this solidarity.
I, of course, know the role of Frelimo in supporting Zanu in Zimbabwe. In the Christmas of 1972, while in Kampala in the underground, having infiltrated back into the country following the disaster of September, (1972) when our ill-prepared group was defeated by Idi Amin, I heard on BBC that Zimbabwean freedom fighters had attacked some Rhodesian Whites having entered the Country from Tete Province in Mozambique. Above all, Frelimo could not have supported us if it had not successfully prosecuted their own war. By defeating the offensive of Kaulza D’ Arriaga and opening the 3rd Front in Tete, Frelimo, in no small way, contributed to the collapse of the Portuguese Colonial Regime. Right from 1964 when the first shot had been fired, Frelimo had steadily developed the rural based armed struggle and surrounded the towns in the North – Mueda, Villa Cabral, Mocimboa da Praia, etc. They had avoided the adventurism of some freedom groups that would start conventional forms of war prematurely.
I am, therefore, here to Salute the People of this Mozambique for this invaluable contribution. The People of Uganda will never forget this solidarity.
Let us now work together to consolidate security, create prosperity for our people and ensure the fast growth of our economies. In Uganda, over the last 50 years of struggle, we have identified 10 strategic bottlenecks that must be addressed in the respective countries of Africa, where Uganda is one of the examples. These are:
1. Ideological disorientation. The main manifestation of ideological disorientation is the opportunistic misuse of identity at the expense of the genuine interests of the people. Such genuine interests should answer the question: “Who will guarantee my prosperity?” “Is it the members of my tribe or my religious sect that will do so or is it the members of the “other communities?” “Who will buy my milk, my beef, my coffee, my bananas or my tea?” Ideological disorientation only emphasizes identity and eclipses interests or even acts against the interests of the people. This generates the sectarianism of tribe or religion you have seen causing so much damage.
2. As a consequence of number one above, many African countries end-up with weak States ─ weak armies, civil services, etc., because they are not based on merit or are not ideologically oriented with the right attitude.
3. The under-development of the human resource (lack of education, lack of skills and poor health of the African populations).
4. Under-developed infrastructure (no electricity, no modern roads, no modern railways, no ICT backbone, no piped water, etc.); this makes the costs of production in the economy go up and cannot, therefore, attract investments so as to expand production, create jobs and expand the tax base to help the State get revenues to run the country.
5. As a consequence of number 4 above, there is no industrialization and, therefore, Africa has continued to suffer haemmorhage through the loss of money and jobs, being a donor to other continents by continuing to export raw-materials where we get only 10% of the value of our products (coffee, cotton, minerals, timber, etc., etc.).
6. The problem of a fragmented African market on account of colonialism. The 53 former colonies, the modern African States, are, individually, too small markets to attract, retain investments and cause them to thrive. China, which started liberalizing and opening up in 1978 (China started participating in the UN system in 1982), has since attracted a total of enterprises worth US $ 2.6 trillion. The whole of Africa in that same period has only attracted enterprises worth US $0.65 trillion. (Source: UNCTAD Website). Yet China is still a communist country while most of Africa is now “democratic” and operating really market-led economies. What is the problem? One of them is a fragmented market. The other bottlenecks also play a role in discouragingand stifling investments. The other good examples are poor infrastructure and a non-skilled workforce. Fortunately, we have done a good job on this by creating ECOWAS, EAC, COMESA and SADC. We are aiming at the common market of the whole of Africa. Unfortunately, some actors continue to allow non-tariff barriers. Yet the growing Purchasing Power of Africa would have attracted investments if the African market was really integrated.
7. The under-developed services sector ─ tourism, hotels, banking (financial services ─ expensive money, etc.), insurance, professional services (e.g. doctors ─ hence medical tourism to India, etc.).
8. The under-development of agriculture ─ no complete commercialization of agriculture (still alot of subsistence agriculture – 68% in the case of Uganda), no irrigation, low use of fertilizers, poor crop and livestock disease control, poor soil conservation, poor seeds and breeding stock, etc. The population in the agricultural sector has, therefore, no money and their purchasing power is low.
9. In the 1960s and 1970s, there was the mistake on our part of nationalizing private sector assets ─ banks, shops, farms, etc. This interference with the private sector by policy or by corruption has also been another bottleneck. The private sector is the most efficient engine of growth. Although China is still a communist country, it has used the private sector to transform their economy. The private sector work very hard because they are working for themselves.
In the Bible, in the Book of John, Chapter 10, verses 11 – 13, it says: “the hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. The wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep”.
10. Suppression of democracy in the past has also been another bottleneck.
Mozambique is an important player. It has got enough electricity, water, the railway system, good harbours, abundant labour, etc. Uganda is very rich in Agriculture, has electricity now, the ICT backbone, minerals etc. Once we co-operate, the sky is the limit. Let us get moving. Uganda is rich in natural resources but it has been having the disadvantage of distance from the Ocean. This distance, will be overcome by the modern railways in Kenya and Tanzania. African countries, by overcoming these bottlenecks, will become middle income countries and first World Countries.
We co-operated to win in the revolutionary wars. Let us co-operate to modernize Africa, ensure prosperity and strategic security for our people.
I thank you and wish you success.
May I, now, propose a toast for the good health of President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and the fraternal people of Mozambique and their success.