The Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) Party President, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, has spoken out on the ongoing efforts for a federation of the East African Community and Africa in general.
“Overall, we are very small countries all over Africa. If we were small in size but strong economically, perhaps we would work. But we are weak economically and politically. The only way out is to grow our regional blocs in the immediate future,” said Muntu on Friday during #AskMugishaMuntu Twitter session hosted by Timothy Nyangweso.
The former presidential candidate said regional states need to remove all non-tariff barriers to trade, move towards a common currency and eventually political integration.
“If we did that, Southern African Development Community (SADC) did the same and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) did the same, we would have a strong Africa. If we are not careful and refuse to come together as blocs, we can easily be recolonized. Not necessarily politically, but certainly economically.”
According to Muntu, economic integration is a question of survival. “If we want to live as a free people in this world, there is no other option. People who are short-sighted and fighting over territorial boundaries are simply putting all of us at risk.”
He said all member states are extremely small weight economically and that the only way they can survive is by putting together their resources.
The differences in economic power are both minimal and insignificant, Muntu noted, adding that the success of integration lies in the middle class.
“Peasants from places like Rwashamaire where I come from may not even know what’s going in Mbale. But the middle class can and must be active promoters of the integration.”
“The borders we currently have don’t make sense in the face of the existential threats we face. Africa as it is can only beg to have a seat on the Security Council. If we were united, we would not have to beg but would demand,” he added.
Operation Shujaa (UPDF Operation in DR Congo Against ADF)
Muntu said the first steps in Operation Shujaa to rid DR Congo and Uganda of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels were correct.
The only problem was that the president did not inform Parliament, Muntu pointed out.
“At the moment, I have not heard any negative reporting. If that’s the reality, that’s commendable…UPDF has an opportunity to clean our image by maintaining total discipline and control over the soldiers so that there are no human rights abuses,” he noted.
Secondly, putting ADF out of action is key to regional security, Muntu said.
“United Nations (UN) forces can never change the political realities in DR Congo. National forces within the region, if well-resourced and led can but if there is a lack of leadership, all that can create a regional crisis.”
He said there have to be investigative journalists that are not embedded in the UPDF that go there and verify the reports “we are hearing. If their findings match those of our army, then well and good”.
Muntu, a former army commander, said DR Congo is a very complex terrain hence government could meet the six parties represented in parliament and brief them regularly.
“I do not have the facts on the operational terrain so it would be unfair for me to judge the army’s actions.”
On Ukraine Crisis
Speaking on the Ukraine crisis, Muntu said he does not think there is any reason for any African country to get involved.
“We already have enough problems. From my estimation, I do not see how Russia can win the war. There is no nature of weapons that conquer a country as galvanized as the Ukrainians,” he remarked.
“When you face a people as determined to keep their sovereignty as Ukraine is, no amount of military power can win. Look at Afghanistan; regardless of their politics, twice they have defeated a superpower (USSR and America).”