President Yoweri Museveni has asked the East African region and Africa at large to draw lessons from the second global war and why the idea of integration was vital in the survival of nations.
Museveni made the call on Saturday after assuming the chair of the East African Community from His Excellency John Pombe Magufuli at the 18th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State in Dar es Salaam.
“I thank H.E. Magufuli for his two-year leadership and appreciate the Summit’s trust and confidence placed in me. I pledge total commitment and will serve to the best of my ability,” Museveni promised.
In his maiden speech, Museveni said integration was about three key issues; prosperity, security and ‘Undugu’ (brotherhood) and these explain why east Africans seek regional integration.
“Benefits of integration in our region were first seen in the union between Tanganyika & Zanzibar forming Tanzania in 1964. The fruits are still visible till today,” he noted.
Museveni said countries like China, India have only prospered after they began trading with other countries or blocs.
“We must also follow suit and integration is key since we can leverage on our 170 million people.
About security, Museveni urged other leaders to learn from the Second World War.
“It’s first victims were the highly advanced but small countries like Netherlands, Denmark, and France, which Hitler overran,” he said.
World War II also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945, although related conflicts began earlier.
It involved the vast majority of the world’s countries—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis.
It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people from over 30 countries.
In a state of “total war”, the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources.
Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust (in which approximately 11 million people were killed) and the strategic bombing of industrial and population centres (in which approximately one million were killed, and which included the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), it resulted in an estimated 50 million to 85 million fatalities.
These made World War II the deadliest conflict in human history.
The Allies consisted of France, Poland and the United Kingdom, and dependent states, such as the British India.
According to Museveni, modernity alone was not enough to defend these countries that faced off with axis powers; Germany, Italy and Japan.
“So, if we now think of strategic security with the likes of the US, China, India, Russia in mind, we must integrate for security,” Museveni told the region.
He added: “You can have small countries with their security guaranteed by a big country like the US has been doing for some Western countries but who is the guarantor of African security? Tunaishi kwa bahati (we live on chance).”
Addressing two separate rallies at Magoro and Toroma Sub Counties in Katakwi District last week, Museveni said the UPDF had grown very strong and able to counter all negative forces.
He said over 40,000 guns were retrieved from the Karamajong, a number which was two times the size of the Idi Amin’s force of 1970s.
Yesterday, Museveni said the final step on integration is the question of undungu (brotherhood).
“We have only four language groups in Africa which makes our communication easy. We also have the advantage of the non-tribal Kiswahili language.”