Sironko, Uganda | URN & THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Museveni has hailed a decision by African leaders to adopt swahili as the official language at key regional and continental bodies.
“I am happy that both the African Union and SADC have adopted Swahili as a common language. If anyone does not have the spectacles to see that despite Africa having many tribes and clans, we are similar, we are brothers and sisters, that person should leave us,” he said at celebrations in Sironko to mark Uganda’s 57th independence anniversary. (read full speech bottom)
At the celebrations, visiting Zimbabwe President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa was decorated with Uganda’s highest medal of honour, the “Most Excellent Order of the Pearl of Africa”.
Museveni hailed Mnangagwa’s role in the liberation of Zimbabwe, and called upon African countries to join efforts in fostering the economic growth and development of the region.
“Now the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) is a matter of life and death for Africa. A small man cannot negotiate with a big man. European countries have been putting sanctions on Zimbabwe which has been suffering for 20 years,” he said. “Zimbabwe could not fight back because it is a small country. All this should be solved with CFTA.”
The president said that through the economic unity of the continent, many countries will stop being bullied by the European giants and America’s, adding that Africa did not start with colonialism.
Museveni said African countries can only sustain themselves through boosting production and providing a market for finished products. He added that through the continental Free Trade Area-CFTA, countries will be able to negotiate with the bigger European countries to foster prosperity for the Africans.
On Uganda’s economy, the President emphasized the mechanization of agriculture and that people should stop producing for home consumption. “Families working for consumption should wake up and begin working for production,” Museveni said.
“In 33 years, Uganda has been able to achieve minimum economic recovery, build a strong army, start the process of development, and address the issue of social services while the population increases to 44 million from 14 million since 1986,” he said.
He said that the government has concentrated on the three cost pushers of production like transport, electricity and capitalizing Uganda Development Bank to improve locally manufactured goods.
Museveni said the country still faces challenges of power outages, transport and the high bank interest rates, but the government has consolidated much efforts in the transport sector to put up more good roads in all corners of the country.
“We shall construct roads in major tourist areas, roads leading to the oil fields and work on our irrigation systems. NRM is absolutely sure that with these many measures, the economy of Uganda will grow in double digits after dealing with bottlenecks,” Museveni said.
However, now that we have a little bit of money, we shall concentrate on transport, electricity and the cost of money.
We also need to address the issue of irrigation so as to stabilize agricultural production and utilize our comparative advantage of abundant freshwater. pic.twitter.com/UJ8xeuhxMc
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) October 9, 2019
He cited roads such as the Moroto Kidepo to South Sudan, Mbale-Namagumba- Budadiri road in Sironko will also be worked on and the roads in the tourism areas to enable the economy to grow with double digits.
Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa, who was a special guest at the celebrations said that through the solidarity and/ support from the sister African countries like Uganda, Zimbabwe has managed to survive the sanctions put on it for the last 20 years.
— The Herald Zimbabwe (@HeraldZimbabwe) October 10, 2019
He said that the country is learning from Uganda being older than them in terms of independence and that his coming is aimed at consolidating and deepening the working relationship between the two countries.
Sironko Woman Member of Parliament Florence Nambozo asked the president to work on the roads in the mountains to foster tourism in the areas which are badly hit by poor transport.