Speaking at a Luncheon he organized for Speakers and Presiding Officers of Commonwealth countries at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Thursday 4th January 2024, the President said the huge population of Africa has for a long time been mismanaged by what he termed as false ideology of imperialists who fronted politics of identity rather than interests.
The dignitaries are in Uganda for the 27th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the National Parliaments of Independent Sovereign States of the Commonwealth.
“And the main problem has been the pseudo ideology of politics of identity based on tribes, race, religion and gender (man or woman). All that is part of misdiagnosis. Because if you say you are a leader, you need to be like a medical doctor who looks at a patient, correctly diagnoses the disease and prescribes the correct medicine for you to heal. Part of the problem you have been hearing in Africa has been the pseudo diagnosis by first of all our chiefs before Europeans came and after,” H.E Museveni said.
Gen. Museveni added that Uganda was among the victims of pseudo ideologies until 1965 when their students’ movement decided to fight those who fronted politics of identity which had kept the continent backward.
He gave an example of his tribe who are cattle keepers and farmers who in the modern economy produce beef, milk and bananas, saying they wouldn’t have been prosperous if they fronted their identity.
The President said prosperity comes from producing a good or a service and selling it.
“Because of that, my neighbor does not buy from me nor do I buy from him because he has beef, milk and bananas which I also have. So, if you say identity, how do we solve our problem? And what use are they to me? People in Kampala are the ones who buy my milk, beef and bananas. They are the ones who support my tribe in prosperity.
So how can I accept the fake politics of identity and I forget that my prosperity is actually coming from the people of Uganda who are not my tribe. That’s why therefore as a student movement, we rejected the politics of identity, we despised it and we know it is used by opportunists who have no value with nothing to add on to society. And therefore, we pushed the politics of interest. If somebody is supporting your interest, is he not a friend? That is why the first principle of our movement is patriotism – love Uganda because you need it for your prosperity,” H.E Museveni emphasized.
He further noted that when Ugandans woke up and started producing, they later realized that the internal market of Uganda is not enough given the huge agricultural and industrial supplies hence the need for the entire market of East Africa and the whole of Africa.
“Therefore, the second principle of our movement is Pan-Africanism. Why? because you need both Uganda and Africa. Even if you didn’t like my face, you need my pocket to support you,” Museveni said.
On her part, the Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon. Annet Anita Among welcomed speakers and their spouses to Uganda and thanked the President for not only officiating at the opening of their conference but also sparing time to host them at luncheon which she said signifies the love and respect he gives the legislature.
The Speaker of the Tanzanian National Assembly, Rt Hon. Tulia Ackson on behalf of other speakers who came to Uganda for the conference, paid tribute to President Museveni for his speech which she said set a tone for their further engagements.
“Mr President, the speech you gave this morning has informed us but also reminded us of our duties as presiding officers and Speakers on what we stand for and what we should stand for. And the fact that we should be looking very well at our philosophical, ideological and strategic way of thinking. We should all be looking at a way of influencing others through our actions rather than speeches. So, we have understood you well,” Rt. Hon. Tulia said.
She further added that part of their focus will be about matters ranging from the way parliaments are going to be influential in ensuring that people in their respective countries are well represented.
“And we have learnt today that in Uganda, you’re doing so well in terms of including other groups that are in the communities which may not be able to compete in the constituencies. So, I’m sure some of us who have fewer numbers of the groups, not just women in our parliaments, should work harder to ensure that we have enough representatives,” Rt. Hon. Tulia stressed.
Rt Hon. Tulia is also the president of the Inter Parliamentary Union.
At least 33 Speakers and Presiding Officers are in attendance and they are from;Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, India and Kenya, the kingdom of Eswatini, Lesotho, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rwanda, Singapore, Samoa, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Tonga, Zambia and the host Uganda.
The ceremony was also graced by guest speakers from South Sudan and from the East African Legislative Assembly.