Maputo, Mozambique | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has hailed the very strong historical and political relations between Uganda and Mozambique. He paid tribute to Mozambique’s ruling party FRELIMO in particular for their role in training and shaping Uganda’s Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), which became the foundation of Uganda’s National Liberation Army (UNLA), National Resistance Army (NRA), and later the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
Speaking on the second day of his 3-day visit to Mozambique, Museveni hailed the former leaders of the Mozambique liberation struggle for standing firm and defending the independence of their country amidst opposition from neighbouring countries.
Museveni’s trip to Mozambique this week is partly to thank the Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) for their role in the liberation movements across the continent.
“I am indebted to the veterans for helping train Ugandan soldiers in the liberated zones of Montepuez in the 1970s. These trainees greatly contributed to the liberation of Uganda and laid a firm foundation for birth of the UPDF that has done much for Uganda and Africa,” Museveni said on Friday.
The FRELIMO veterans hosted Mozambique president Jacinto Nyusi and Museveni to a luncheon at the Military Club in Maputo.
The President is accompanied by three of the remaining survivors from the group of 28 freedom fighters he led to Mozambique. They are Gen Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh, Lt Gen Ivan Koreta and Col Bosco Omule.
Museveni trained for two years with FRELIMO from 1976, and the group included Fred Rwigyema, who later died leading the Rwanda Patriotic Front struggle.
“FRELIMO greatly helped Uganda build a national liberation army that dismantled tribal and sectarian based post-independence armies including the defeat of tyrants. Ugandans should not forget, let alone underrate or take for granted this contribution,” Museveni said earlier.
On this trip, President Museveni has addressed the Maputo Municipal Council, Mozambique National Assembly and visited the Heroes’ Memorial Square where he paid tribute to fallen FRELIMO heroes, including founding President Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane and his successor Samora Machel.
“I salute FRELIMO leaders, especially Samora Machel, for their unwavering efforts in the fight for the independence of Mozambique. They not only achieved freedom for Mozambique but also engineered and motivated other African freedom fighters in countries that were still colonised.”
He added that FRELIMO’s support was not in vain. “The UPDF, the current army borne out of the NRA, has contained and defeated Al-Shabaab, helping restore order in Somalia, among other national and regional accomplishments.”
He also hailed one of the Frontline leaders, President Julius Nyerere of Tanzania. “We must also thank Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who was part of the positive post-independence leaders that stood for patriotism and Pan-Africanism, as opposed to politics of tribe and religion.”
President Museveni will also visit Pemba City in the province of Cabo Delgado and Montepuez Barracks where fighters of the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) that he led in the 1970s, underwent their first military training.
The warriors in Montpeuz this morning pic.twitter.com/qMNMOySSTT
— Richard Kabonero (@richardkabonero) May 19, 2018
New trade pact
During the trip, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa and Mozambique’s Pacheco signed a general cooperation agreement which will see both countries cooperate in areas of defence, tourism, diplomacy and trade. Both Presidents witnessed the signing.
A Joint Ministerial Commission will meet in Kampala in August this year to concretize this agreement.
Currently, Uganda exports goods and services to Mozambique worth $154,000 while Mozambique’s exports to Uganda stand at $5.12 million. These are mainly sea food, cashew nuts, sugar and coal. Uganda has export potential in areas of maize, beans, timber, fruits, beef, and coffee.
Museveni appealed to the Mozambique National Assembly to support efforts aimed at promoting economic cooperation between our countries, which have abundant natural resources and great economic potential. “With partnership, a lot can be realised for the good of our citizens,” he said.
He said that with Africa now fully liberated, today’s generation of new leaders should be preoccupied with how to develop the continent especially ridding the population of poverty.
The rest of the Ugandan delegation includes Col Bright Rwamirama, the Veteran Affairs Minister, Maj Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso, the Senior Presidential Adviser on Security and Ambassador Richard Kabonero.