Uganda President Yoweri Museveni braved protests from university students to call for political integration in Africa.
Speaking during a public lecture at Kenyatta University yesterday, President Museveni said integration was the only way African countries would reach the status of Europe, China and the United States.
Museveni’s entry to the lecture hall was greeted by chants of “Bobby Wine” from university students before the police intervened.
During the lecture, the Museveni who was in the country on a State visit criticised tribalism that he said characterised the continent’s political landscape.
“I am cattle keeper, and so are all my tribesmen. I produce milk, meat and bananas, they also do the same so they cannot buy from me and I cannot sell the same to them. I therefore need someone from other tribes to make money. In order to address prosperity, we have to address tribalism,” he said.
He said that while a large portion of the continent’s problems can be blamed on its colonial history, Africa’s leaders have to unite to secure its future.
“Africa is the pioneer of civilisation. The free labour of (African) slaves is part of the efforts that liberated Europe from poverty,” he said.
However, despite the continent’s contribution to industrial revolution, Museveni expressed his disappointment that African countries are still struggling in terms of development.
This, he blamed on ‘political volcanisation.’
“We do not have unified governments. Even in the past we had clans controlling small areas, at times small kingdoms. It is for this reason that by 1900 Africa had been colonised,” he said.
Museveni said Africa should learn from Europe, the US, Israel, and China which have prospered buy not being entangled in ethnic divisions.
“China has an internal guaranteed market of 1.3 billion but that is not enough, they still need more that is why they trade with us.
But us (Uganda) with a population of 41 million we think we are well-off. This is our disaster,” said Museveni.
Museveni said Africa already has a base to start by unifying languages of Swahili and English.
He said the idea of a unified continent was long overdue.
“If some members are not ready, then let those who are ready go ahead,” he said.
During the State visit, President Museveni held a meeting with his host in Mombasa where he also toured the port.