UGANDA’S DIAMOND INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY, RELATIONS WITH CHINA
October 9th, Uganda marks its Diamond Independence anniversary, The country as well commemorates its relations with the Peoples’ Republic of China (PRC), established on 18th October 1962 which have run uninterrupted, and especially since 1986 growing in leap and bounds. independence celebrations scheduled at the Kololo ceremonial grounds is themed “October 9th: A Declaration of African Interdependence and our shared Destiny,” is expected to attract many foreign dignitaries after two years of Covid-19 induced lockdown.
The theme projects a Pan-African interest for the continent to act as one in mobilising its peoples, resources, innovation, creativity and energies for the collective good, and act as a positive force in a competitive, unpredictable, and often dangerous world.
It urges African countries and peoples to coordinate their actions in joint projects and trade to achieve sustained progress.
Uganda, under President Yoweri Museveni, has consistently advocated Africa to progressively move towards one unified entity which is reflected in its promotion of East African Community (EAC) integration, The Intergovernmental Authority on development and other bilateral relations for reconciliation, peace and state building in Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia and DR Congo.
Colonialism balkanized Africa into Anglo, Franco, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian and German spheres of influence, as the narrow prisms through which most Africans defined themselves resulting in their inability to find common ground for the collective good.
As a consequence, in spite of Africa being the most endowed with natural resources in the world, its people remain poor, exploited, vulnerable, and marginalised because of failure to tame nature to serve their needs.
While African countries travelled zigzag paths since attaining their respective independence, over the last six decades ago for many of them, today they seem to be re-retracing their self-worth, and are on a steady journey to stability, peace, economic development, self-sustenance and global recognition.
The EAC, ECOWAS, SADC and Maghreb should be regional building blocs for an eventual single economic, and possibly political entity to provide connectivity and centre of gravity to consolidate peace, stability, development and shared prosperity.
Although there have been strong and different opposition groups across the country, NRM’s able and flexible leadership has enabled Uganda to survive the turbulence, but also establish stability, progress, and undertake the ongoing socio-economic transformation.
Uganda must continue to expand opportunities especially through education, mindset change, innovation and private enterprise for the young generation to exploit the full advantage of the bounties natural resources.
Since the defeat of rebellion and rustlers, both northern Uganda and Karamoja that had almost been written off, are today among the fastest growing areas in the country. Through its Ten-Point Programme, NRM has made Uganda take an all round big stride. While we build and consolidate democracy, there’s need to moderate political hubris from across the aisle to facilitate the collective drive towards reforming healthcare, education and governance for job and wealth creation. Ugandans needs money and food of their tables.
Nevertheless, as we consolidate these gains, let all Ugandans especially leaders, pledge to make Uganda corruption and violence free. We must accord each other due space without blackmail, intimidation, intransigent behaviuor, affront to the rule of law and common sense because Uganda belongs to all its citizens in equal measure.
In today’s unpredictable world, China is a major partner to many African countries providing opportunities for trade, investment, financing, appropriate technology transfer, and a balancing force in the international arena. For the first time, Africa is witnessing the rapid expansion and construction of transport, energy, communication, water, and health infrastructure critical and necessary for its rapid advancement.
Having steadily climbed out of poverty, China is today providing accelerated support for technological transfer through the setting up of processing, assembling and manufacturing industries using local materials within African countries rather than over reliance on imported raw materials and finished goods. In Uganda, Chinese assembling or manufacturing plants are mushrooming in Kapeeka and Karamoja hitherto considered too far and remote to be modernized.
It maybe discomforting to the West and their local apologist to state that their interface with Africa for over a century now hasn’t caused fundamental positive transformation in Africa’s socio-economic situation, yet China’s, appears more visible in rather a short time span.
Having gone through slave trade, slavery, colonialism, imperialism and its dominant capitalism, Africa today needs true partners who offer mutual respect, equality and sincere co-operation rather bullying and benevolence as the West has done. Left alone to chat their own path and future, African leaders should disabuse themselves of the unhelpful confrontations that wasted resources, derailed stability and killed millions. The Struggle continues.