President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni believes the insecurity in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan can be solved once leaders agree to reject sectarian politics and embrace politics based on the common interests of the people.
In a meeting with the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, at State House Entebbe on Monday 24th July 2023, Museveni said the problems of Africa are all connected to Western imperialism and their interests which Uganda rejected.
“When we got independence in 1962, we were in crisis,” H.E Museveni noted, referring to political parties at that time that were based on either tribal or religious grounds and could not unite the people of Uganda.
“During that time around 1965, we started a student movement to reject all this nonsense. We said we don’t want sectarianism but people’s interest,” the President noted, adding that they were able to organise a national force that defeated Idi Amin in 1979 and another war in 1981-1986.
“And that’s how we came in and created some stability here,” he stressed.
The Chairperson of the AU Commission Mr. Moussa called on the President to discuss ways of finding lasting solutions to the instability on the continent including that of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan where fresh fighting broke out recently.
“A few weeks ago, I convened a summit in Luanda, Angola about Eastern Congo conflicts. The insecurity has taken a long time and we need a solution. We need to know the root cause of the problem for appropriate action to be taken,” Moussa said.
President Museveni said the problems in DR Congo started in the 1960s perpetuated by imperialists overthrowing the legitimacy and sovereignty of the people of the country after the election of Patrice Lumumba who was later killed.
“From that time, Congo has never stabilised. They have never had a national political party; they have never had a national army,” the President said, adding that although the Eastern Congo has since become a place for all the terrorists, all hope is not lost, and the problem will be solved.
“In my view, we are working bilaterally with the DR Congo government to deal with these issues, including that of the ADF. It is really possible to solve these problems and we are already doing that,” he said.
About the M23 rebels, Gen Museveni said it is a political problem which can be solved by discussion because the rebels are not asking for big demands to end the conflict.
He said some of their demands are simply; “To go back to their homes which they run away from and to be integrated into the army”.
“So, we are encouraging H.E Tshisekedi (President of DRC) to agree with them (the M23 rebels) and if they do not want to discuss, then we can treat them as a negative force,” President Museveni said, adding that many of the rebels are willing to contribute to national security instead of becoming refugees.
“We have 480,000 Congolese as refugees here in Uganda and 1.2 million South Sudanese. Those people who are running from their village don’t want to run away; they want to stay but they run away because they have no alternative. So, if you give them the ability to defend their village, they will defend it and you don’t have to fear them,” Gen Museveni advised.
About the Sudan problem, H.E Museveni said it is majorly about politics of identity and he has advised them on three things; to stop fighting, Plan for elections and offer amnesty to those willing to work for peace.
Mr Moussa expressed gratitude to President Museveni for all the advice and guidance in his tenure as the chairperson of the commission for the last 6 years.