By: Ismael Kasooha
President Yoweri Museveni has asked African countries to desist from the habit of importing products that are produced by fellow African countries.
The president’s message was delivered by the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja during the 60th anniversary celebrations for African Unity (AU) at Kololo Independence Grounds.
In May 1963, 32 Heads of independent African States met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to sign the Charter creating Africa’s first post-independence continental institution, The Organization of African Unity (OAU).
In his message President Museveni said that African countries should not import products from developed countries which are produced by fellow African countries in surplus.
PM Robinah Nabbanja joined by Ambassadors and other members during the celebration of Africa Day at Kololo Independence grounds
“I call upon all Africans to work together to move our Continent towards self-reliance. As you all know, economic integration will be essential in helping us realise self-reliance.
We need to support each other’s economy. Why should an African Country buy beef and Dairy products (milk, cheese, gee and butter), Poultry products (Chicken and eggs), Fish products, Maize, Beans, Peas, etc from Europe when your neighbor is producing in surplus the same products? Why?” wondered the president.
President Museveni paid tribute to the fore-fathers who brought the idea of forming the OAU and challenged the current leaders to support efforts of uniting African countries especially in trade.
“From the beginning, the OAU was dedicated to the idea that only through unity can Africa safeguard its independence and unlock its potential. We therefore take this opportunity today to pay tribute to our past leaders, the founders of the OAU whose dream of greater African integration and unity has endured.
We also honour the revolutionary leaders of Africa who took up the mantle of Pan- Africanism and who fought for the economic and political integration of Africa.
He said that they left a formidable legacy for our Continent and all its peoples and continue to inspire us and the generations that will come after us.
“Therefore, the celebration of the 60th anniversary is an opportunity to recognize the role and contribution of the founders of the continental organization and many other Africans on the Continent and in the Diaspora who have contributed greatly to the political liberation of Africa and the socio-economic emancipation of our region,” the message read in part.
PM (2nd left) with a section of guests at the Africa day celebrations at Kololo Independence Grounds
During the 60th Anniversary celebrations, Grace Kabayo, the Secretary General of Pan African Women Organization (PAWO) asked governments in Africa to declare the African Day a public holiday so that people can celebrate it.
“We call upon all African Heads of State and Governments to declare the 25th of May a public holiday so that we can celebrate as Africans our independence,” said Kabayo.
General Kahinda Otaffire, the Chairman of Global Pan African Movement in a message delivered for him by Robert Musasizi said that Africa was still disunited and Pan Africanism was facing a new challenge of scramble for Africa by some super powers especially in the Sahel region.
“The 60th Anniversary has found Africa not yet united for economic empowerment, security and total independence. The anniversary is taking place at a time when we are organizing the 8th Pan African congress next year 2024 in Kampala.
Otafire said that as Africans celebrate the 60th anniversary, some parts of the Sahel region were under control of foreign backed Jihadist groups who are anti-people, anti-democratic and Anti-civilization.
“We call upon all African people to unite and support the people of Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo, Niger to regain control of their territories from the Jihadists,” said Otafire.
Quoting Kwame Nkrumah, Otafire said that 60 years back he said that “If Africa is not united, the neocolonialists will always interfere in our military, economy, education, Agriculture and health. Our economic infrastructure is in their hands through the International Monetary Fund and World Bank”.
He said that the Neocolonialists were using Non-Governmental Organisations to promote social-imperial colonialism including homosexuality and other things similar to that.
Otafire said that as we mark the 60th anniversary every African must seriously reflect on these issues in order to take a definitive position that Africa deserves. Africa deserves democratic and visionary leadership and strong institutions.
“Let every African demand for a new united and integrated Africa,” the statement read in part.
The day was marked under the theme “Accelerating the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to bring greater prosperity to the continent”.
Africa Day is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the success of the Organization of African Unity (OAU now AU) from its creation on May 25th 1963, in the fight against colonialism and apartheid.
The signing of the OAU was a critical and historical move that needs to be remembered and is at the core of Africa Day celebrations.