The President of Uganda Kaguta Museveni was on Thursday awarded the Global Peace Award by Global Peace for his contribution towards solving regional conflicts.
For his unending work to ensure that every country is at peace and prospering, Global Peace justified the award.
“I really thank the Global Peace Body for deciding to have this conference here and taking on this burden,” Museveni said while officiating at the event held at Munyonyo Commonwealth hotel in Kampala.
Attacks West over gays
Museveni used the opportunity to criticise western powers for forcing homosexuality upon African states.
“They [Europe and America] want to impose views on others. Like the issue of homosexuality. You cannot stand up here and say am a homosexual, people will not like it.”
He went on: “When we talk to our partners from the other side, we say this is a private matter but they want to impose it on us. That I should stand up and say homosexuals oyee! This mishandling of identity is a big mistake. You should respect everyone’s identity and not impose yours on other people.”
Both male and female homosexual activity is illegal. Under the Penal Code, “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” between two males carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment.
The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014 was passed on 17 December 2013 with a punishment of life in prison for “aggravated homosexuality”.
Museveni said group chauvinism especially in Europe and Middle East and to some extent in Asia, can also be seen as a cause of conflict.
“In Africa, the tribes are more tolerant. I have told my Muslim friends that I have a longer list of haram than them but why would I attack someone for choosing to eat what I don’t eat?”
He said this tolerance, however, is missing in Europe and the Middle East and it causes a lot of trouble. People should not seek to impose their views and cultures on others. There should be respect for everybody’s identity.
West causing instability
He cited four broad issues that could lead to lack of peace. The first is conflict between man and nature. It is the oldest conflict. Its elements include disease, drought, floods, landslides, earthquakes, etc.
He said man has gradually developed means to tame nature. A society is considered civilized when it gains some capacity to tame and harness nature, as reflected in ability to control disease, floods, quakes, etc.
Development of science is crucial in resolving this conflict between nature and man. Peace therefore is about empowering the human race to gain more knowledge so that the respective societies can tame nature.
Second element is conflict between man and man. This is driven by greed and parasitism. People do not want to live by honest labour, they want to live at expense of others.
But for man to commit aggression against another man, they still need to use knowledge or science to their advantage, as it was with those who gained early accesses to iron tools. It is a form of cowardice though; seeking to kill while fearing to be killed.
Conflict has also arisen from the fight over scarce resources. “What we need to ask is, if resources are scarce, can they be better managed to avoid conflicts? Some of the conflicts we see in the Middle East and places like DR Congo are rooted in struggles over resources.”
Conflicts are also as a result of worsening/unfriendly environment, lack of freedom and for Africans, the decision to stay weak tempts the greedy to take advantage and attack them.
He says wars in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and even here [Africa], the West had imported that nonsense here. He said there was going to be a war between Catholics and Protestants.
“People killing other people on behalf of God. When did God send you to kill other people for him?”
Museveni said the political movement that started in the 60s rejected identity politics. “Long live the politics of interest!” he chanted.
Museveni said he once asked United Nations [UN] why they want a small group of people to be rich while others remain poor.
“When china came up and became an affluent society… I tried to build a steel factory here, they told me not to waste my time.”
He said a weak country is like an indecently dressed woman who tempts greedy people to have all sorts of bad ideas.
“Africa can’t remain weak, complaining that it is persecuted. Why remain weak? Africans are part of the problem. They are tempting the greedy to come and steal.”
“When I addressed the South African parliament that when I get drunk and sleep by the roadside and a thief steals my money, who is to blame? The thief may not be so Christian but the problem is yourself for getting drunk.”
Museveni said lack of peace is caused by people who make themselves weak yet they are sitting on a lot of resources hence tempting the greedy to come and take those resources.
“Finally, I thank the organizers for giving me the Global Peace Award for Uganda’s role in bringing stability in the Great Lakes Region. This recognition is for all Ugandans and not just me. I might lead the way, but Ugandans collectively have contributed to efforts of ensuring that we have a stable region.”