Just like a prophet, Museveni is more trusted elsewhere than in his home
NRM programme point No.9: Co-operation with other African countries
Fred Mukasa Mbidde is a member of the 3rd East African Legislative Assembly representing the republic of Uganda. He sits on three committees, committee of communication; trade and investments, committee on legal rules and privileges and the committee on regional affairs and conflict resolution. He talked to The Independent’s Patricia Akankwatsa about the cooperation of Uganda with other African countries before and after the NRM government came to power.
What was Uganda’s relationship with other African countries like before the NRM came to power?
Before, they came to power; we are talking of the former East African Community which had collapsed by 1977 because of the pursuant leaderships that had taken over Kampala. There had been an economic war between Britain and Uganda, investors lost investments by law of property because of Amin’s pursuant declaration of economic independence. Also, there had been prevalence of Article 3 of the former charter for the Organidation of African Unity which had the effect of forbidding other countries from observing the respect to fundamental rights by other countries considering them internal matters. That was the policy and barricade established by African leaders to erect protective walls around them and execute leaderships in their countries without any policy from outside. By the time NRM came into power that is when the discussions of formation of a constitutive act and African Union came into place. Normative instruments like the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, protocol for the establishment of the African court were debated, passed and implemented during the current regime.
How did these change relations between African countries ?
Juxtaposed with what happened during Amin’s time, Dr. Obote had better relations with Tanzania, but of course the NRM later on would establish fairly good relations. There was formation of trade areas like COMESA, and regional economic communities including IGAD. Then substantially, you can say the development of the East African Community. Right now we have the oldest president in the region, the possibility that leaders from other countries are listening to him is high. Just like a prophet, he is more trusted elsewhere than in his home.
What challenges remain with the relations between these countries?
I think what are thinking, is specific arms of government which have become pecuniary in nature. They are looking forward to making money rather than serving the objects for which they were established. They have adopted a mentality of developing reports that represent antagonism between states that otherwise would never have any differences at all. I am doing a study of this, particularly matters to do with Rwanda and Uganda. There is nothing fundamental that causes differences between the two countries. But specific security agencies intending to obtain gadgets are misrepresenting the party on ground, thereby causing a friction at higher levels. There is a cancer growing which is economic in nature which includes our own security agencies. It can even cause war between Kampala and Kigali if this problem is not handled as a joint effort. They have done it once for Kisangani1 and 2 before.
What steps is the government taking to improve these relations?
As players regionally, we are doing all it takes to advise. If our advice is taken, certainly solutions will be obtained.
Uganda has been a great player in attempts to pacify other African countries by defending their human and democratic rights, what is your take on that?
That kind of participation is part of the UN sub arrangement. It is not entirely Uganda. It has been having contributive effects that are coached in UN camps. Apart from S. Sudan on 16th Dec 2013, the first entry was on Uganda’s motion but was later joined by the region’s contributing partners (Kenya and Ethiopia). But the ones in Somalia are mostly UN sponsored material. We can however say, nationally, the contribution of pacification of the region, Uganda stands a higher chance of recognition.