Museveni hits at West for meddling in Africa
Published on April 18, 2008, 12:00 am
By Patrick Wachira
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni lashed out at foreign governments for prescribing solutions to African states, regardless of local conditions.
Museveni, who spoke during the swearing-in of ministers and Assistant ministers at State House, Nairobi, Thursday said foreign institutions thought they had solutions to local problems, but their prescriptions were unworkable.
He dismissed them, saying they had no vision. “In Uganda, we fight battles with these groups. Everyone is a lecturer on Africa!” he said.
He said foreign advice over local problems had been prescribed when his country wanted to build more dams, but was told there would be too much electricity.
The result of listening to such counsel? Uganda was hit by a shortage of electricity “because of these experts”.
“We were told: ‘No’! Build one at a time. They delayed us. Now we are building a dam at Bujagali and the problem of power will soon be solved,” he said.
Museveni chided foreign advisers over terminologies such as ‘poverty alleviation’. He said this implied that the problem should not be done away with, but suppressed.
“The biggest battle is with multi-lateral institutions, the World Bank and that crowd of people. They have no vision at all,” he said.
He caused laughter when he asked what “sustainable pregnancy” means.
Museveni also singled out the railway as an obstacle to development, saying it should be modernised. He described local railway lines as antiquated, saying they were only fit for the museum.
“We are ready to work with you. Uganda needs this railway to become a modern country. We cannot compete internationally with high transport costs,” he said.
At the same time, President Kibaki promised a new Constitution in a year.
He said Kenyans wanted and deserved a new constitutional dispensation.
He said the coalition Government would galvanise public concerns on the “few outstanding issues” that have stood in the way of a new constitution.
He dismissed calls for an opposition alliance, saying those behind it should stop pretending to be clever.
“Wacha kujifanya wewe ndiyo clever. Hawa watu wote wamesoma, na wanataka umoja na maendeleo” (Do not pretend to be so clever. Even other people are educated and they want unity and development).
The Government, he said, would turn the economy round.
He lamented that with the rising cost of fuel, prices of essential commodities had also risen and burdened majority of urban workers.
“We must revere this trend in order to improve the lives of wananchi,” he said.
The Head of State was speaking at State House, Nairobi, during the swearing-in ceremony for new ministers and assistant ministers.
He also announced that a Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission would be established to foster the spirit of national healing ushered in by the new Government under the grand coalition.
Kibaki told Kenyans that the Government would finalise and publish the Inter-Ethnic Relations Bill, aimed at outlawing hate speech and crimes against humanity.