President Yoweri Museveni has said that the African continent, man’s origin and civilization, has lagged behind in terms of development because of not concentrating on the building of infrastructure such as roads and electricity among others.
The President made the remarks last evening at State House, Entebbe during a lecture to Army Officers who are undergoing a one-year Command Course at the Jinja-based Kimaka Senior Command and Staff College. The Commandant of the College, Gen. Andrew Guti, led the Officers, who hail from member countries of the East African Community (EAC) – Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda. The lecture evolved around security in Africa.
Mr. Museveni also identified Africa’s small market, exportation of raw materials and attack on the private sector by government as other bottlenecks that hindered the development of Africa and cited the expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1970’s by the Idi Amin regime as an example.
“By attacking the private sector, African leaders are in directly attacking other factors of production such as knowledge, entrepreneurship and capital whereby they will only remain with land and labour,” he said.
Mr. Museveni who took the Officers through the history of Africa right from colonial era to the current times, advised them to be aware of elements in society that talk of identity rather than the interests of the people.
“You as Army Officers in your respective countries should be aware about this. When you hear of wars here and there, it’s as a result of identity. Here in Uganda, we had a lot of problems of religion and tribe with former regimes. Countries with such problems cannot even form national army,” he said.
The President informed the Officers that in East Africa, former Tanzanian President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, fought against sectarianism and promoted Kiswahili as a national language. That is why, he added, Tanzania has remained stable to date.
Answering a question on environmental degradation that the course participants described as a security threat in Africa, the President said that the solution is to stop cutting down trees for energy generation and have electricity used as a major source of energy.
Regarding the East African federation, Mr. Museveni told the Army Officers that the regional leaders have agreed on the concept with a view to working and moving towards achieving a guaranteed future for the continent. ENDS