By John Odyek
MIDRAND, SOUTH AFRICA, mARCH 19– President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has advised African governments to be strong to prevent Western countries from intervening in their national and continental affairs.
Speaking at celebrations to mark 10 years of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) in Midrand, South Africa, on Tuesday, Museveni said by being weak and under-developed, African nations were facing a return of Western powers coming with a new wave of colonialism.
“You were weak and got colonized. Fortunately we survived and got our freedom again. We did not use our freedom to make ourselves stronger; now they have come back to start from where they stopped,” a statement from the Pan African Parliament quoted Museveni as saying.
“After independence we did not analyse why we had been colonized so that we quickly rectify the problems. We simply relaxed and enjoyed being in power forgetting that the lion cannot live with the lamb,” he said.
The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) was established in March 2004 as one of the nine organs of the African Union. It is intended to “provide a common platform for African peoples and their grass-roots organizations to be more involved in discussions and decision-making on the problems and challenges facing the continent”.
The Parliament is expected to evolve into an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected by universal adult suffrage, which awaits a decision from the African Union Heads of State Summit.
Museveni was unhappy that Western countries had intervened in Libya, which, he said had never recovered, ignoring possible solutions proposed by the African Union (AU). He said it was contemptuous of NATO to prevent a team of six presidents with the AU mandate to try and resolve the Libyan issue, from travelling to the country.
He said that although he was part of the named AU team, he was not on the fateful flight to Libya.
“African Presidents, on African soil, carrying out an African mission were ordered by NATO to go back (arguing) that they had not allowed them to land. This was contempt,” he said.
“I want to advise African governments, we should not tempt the greedy people, to come and colonise us by being weak. When you are weak, you tempt the greedy,” he said, adding that, “It is your fault to be weak, why would you allow yourself to be weak. Avoid making yourself so vulnerable.”
Museveni identified ten factors preventing African countries from developing including ideological disorientation by the political elite; attacking the private sector; inadequate infrastructure; underdevelopment of human resource, lack of education and health; small markets; lack of industrialization, underdeveloped services, agriculture and lack of democracy.