President Museveni on Tuesday confessed having cheated Africans by being part of their history for a long time.
Museveni was speaking as a co-chair of the “Africa Now” Summit held at Speke Resort hotel in Munyonyo.
“Fortunately, I have cheated all of you. I have been here for quite a bit of time,” he stated.
“And the last 59 years since 1960 when Congo got independence, when Lumumba was killed, I was there.”
Patrice Émery Lumumba was a Congolese politician and independence leader who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of the Congo from June until September 1960.
He played a significant role in the transformation of the Congo from a colony of Belgium into an independent republic. Wikipedia
Born July 2, 1925, in Katakokombe, Lumumba was assassinated on January 17, 1961 in Lubumbashi.
With Lumumba dead, Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga rose to power as the military dictator and President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 1965 to 1997.
When Mobutu’s government issued an order in November 1996 forcing Tutsis to leave Zaire on penalty of death, the ethnic Tutsis in Zaire, known as Banyamulenge, were the focal point of a rebellion.
From eastern Zaire, the rebels, aided by foreign government forces under the leadership of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Rwandan Minister of Defense Paul Kagame launched an offensive to overthrow Mobutu, joining forces with locals opposed to him under Laurent-Désiré Kabila as they marched west toward Kinshasa.
Burundi and Angola also supported the growing rebellion, which mushroomed into the First Congo War.
Museveni says with independence, although alot of time was lost with military governments engaged in primitive fascism, nevertheless, many African governments have correctly identified two crucial stimuli that can catalyze social transformation.
These are: education and health for all (human resource development) and private sector led growth.
The two, education and liberalism in the economy, have the potential to cause social transformation. Especially the importance of the private sector was not clear to many African leaders.
Here, in Uganda, both Milton Obote and Idi Amin interfered with the private sector with Nakivubo announcements of 1970 and Amin’s expulsion of the Asians in 1972.
It is the NRM that firmly rejected this mistake by returning the properties of the Asians and liberalizing the economy, Museveni said.
“These sectors we liberalized by removing the role of the State companies have performed miracles. We sold government buses and hotels, for instance.”
He said in the 1960s and 1970s when the only affluent part of the world was Western Europe and the USA, double-production of raw-materials meant over supply which would result into lower prices.
“You produce more but you get the same or lower prices. The price of copper collapsed. The price of coffee collapsed. The price of cotton collapsed.”
“I remember the year 1972 saw the lowest price of cotton because the synthetic fibres of nylon, etc., had hit the market.”
It was only when people realized that those nylons were not good for the human skin that the prices of cotton started recovering again.
The expansion of affluence to China, India and Brazil also saw the recovery and even the soaring of the commodity prices.
Copper hit the price of US$9,900 per tonne in the year 2010; coffee US$4,000 in the year1994; cement US$56.3 in the year 2017.
“When the NRM government came to power 33 years ago, I tried to promote our considerable deposits of iron-ore at Usukuru hills, Muko, etc.”
Museveni was told clearly by the different investors that there was a “glut” of steel on the world market and, therefore, there was nobody interested in steel.
The price of steel that time was as low as US$200 per tonne. By 2008, it had hit US$900 per tonne (Sources: Uganda Export Promotion Board and World Bank).
“I am quoting all this to show you the danger of the double-production of the same product without making the qualitative leap of transformation. Therefore, transformation means a qualitative leap, not just quantitative expansion.”