Museveni challenges bully Muammar Gadaffi

Kampala — PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni differed with Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gadaffi on the creation of a single African government because it would escalate crises in the continent.

Each African country has unique challenges that would not necessarily be solved by forming a united states of Africa, Museveni reasoned.

"Africa is so big," Museveni said. "We are already heavy laden with our problems in East Africa and I don’t need to engage in disagreements with the Arabs.

The President made the remarks on Monday while addressing secondary school teachers and political leaders from Teso and Karamoja at Arapai Agricultural College, Soroti after a workshop on patriotism.

The disagreement with Gadaffi took place at the AU summit in Addis Ababa on February 3, where Gadaffi called for the fast-tracking of the single African Government.

Although he failed to get agreement on the issue, Gadaffi was elected AU chairman, replacing Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete.

Gadaffi wants one African president, a vice-president and secretaries for foreign affairs and research among other offices.

Museveni, on the other hand, wants stronger regional blocs in order to promote harmony and technological development. "We can trade with Arabs, but being in the same government, no, these Africans are enough," he said.

Due to lack of patriotism, Museveni said, Africa had failed to make progress in science although the majority of countries gained independence about 60 years ago.

"It is as if we, Africans, are bewitched. The Europeans are sending astronauts to the moon while we are preoccupied with tribal conflicts, rebellions, religious clashes and land disputes. This is dangerous. God created that moon for all of us. East Africa has the potential to develop a space programme if they come together."

On patriotism, Museveni said Ugandans must learn to appreciate each other and love their country.

"You should love Uganda, not because you like some specific people, but because you love yourself. For instance, to think that I love Banyankole because I come from there, is a misconception.

The Banyankole can’t exist without other Ugandans. I don’t look at people according to their religion or tribe but development," he said.

In a memorandum, the teachers asked for an allowance for hard-to-reach areas such as Karamoja. Museveni said he would consult with the education ministry. 

He said the Government had applied for a loan from the World Bank to improve teacher’s welfare and infrastructure in schools.

"We plan to ensure one primary school in each sub-county. When we started free primary and secondary education, some laughed. We persisted because illiterate people have no place in modern society."

Six Forum for Democratic Change members, including the Soroti district speaker, Jorem Opio Osoto, defected to the Movement and were received by the President. SOURCE: The New Vision