Kigali — In a call to Rwandan counterparts to develop their industrial sector and export processed products, President Yoweri Museveni has urged Rwanda and other African countries to stop "donating" their wealth to the West.
In his key note speech at a dinner hosted in his favour as chief guest to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) at Serena Kigali hotel last evening, Museveni stressed that by exporting unprocessed products, Rwanda and other countries "donate" a lot of wealth to the West.
"We should stop being donors. Lack of industrialization and selling of unprocessed products coupled with a small internal market makes us one of the biggest donors," he said to applause from the delegates gathered to celebrate the country's liberation from the genocidal regime RPF ousted.
"A small internal market linked with production of the same products means we cannot develop these economies with lack of industrialization and selling of unprocessed products. We should stop being donors," he emphasised.
Among other bottlenecks to Africa's development, he listed an underdeveloped services sector, un-commercialized agricultural sector, and lack of democracy.
Museveni who began his speech in Kinyarwanda congratulated RPF on their 25th anniversary, saying they turned a very hopeless situation into a situation of hope. "Whenever I came here after we had captured Kabale in 1985 fighting for our freedom. leaders of Rwanda were telling me that Rwandese are too many and cannot fit in the country so some should be taken to Gabon.
But now I am glad to hear a different tune from Kigali. That's what I used to tell late Juvenal Habyarimana that how come Holland the same size as Rwanda with 16 million Dutch can fit and Rwanda 7million people cannot?" he asked.
He dismissed as "mere hallucinations" propaganda that African people are of different castes and cannot live together.
"This is something I rejected long ago. Africans are divided into four groups ; the Niger-Congo group of Langi, the Nile-Saharan group of Northern Uganda and parts of Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia, the Afro-Asiatic Amharic group and Koisan or Bushmen of South Africa," he said.
These tribes, he added, are interlinked linguistically and culturally. "I rejected the idea that African people are so divided that they have no linkages; this is rubbish and has no truth. The only problem is that these groups were not governed together and we had these small Kingdoms. It is that lack of being governed together that caused this aberration that we are different yet we are not," he stressed.
Other strategic bottlenecks to Africa's unity and development, he added, are ideological disorientation which makes people think tribal. "In Uganda I am a Munyankore but what is my real interest as an individual? Prosperity to live a nice life. How will my Banyankore help me when they also rear cattle and can't buy milk from me or me from them?" he asked.
He said tribes are interdependent on each other since he sells his milk in Kampala to all Ugandans just like Ugandans had flocked to Rwanda for economic opportunities that are not enough in Uganda, there is need to discourage sectarianism. He urged other countries like Kenya and Nigeria plagued by religious and tribal sectarianism to think harder about the issue.
Africa's independence , he added was delayed, hence delay in stat e formation like in Somalia, DRC where the army, Police and civil service are still not developed. "Because of this ideological disorientation, where will you get the cadres to for example build an army which is an expensive enterprise?" he asked.
Other weaknesses he listed are attacking the private sector like Idi Amin's expulsion of Indians yet they were buttressing the economy, and contributing to GDP and GNP and wondered why same size countries like South Korea and China should be richer that Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania. Other bottle necks he catalogued are an underdeveloped Human Resource, inadequate infrastructure, power underdeveloped service and agriculture industry and lack of democracy.
In his remarks, President Paul Kagame bestowed upon Museveni the Honorary membership of an RPF mentor. "We say this with sense of having been connected to the struggle for the liberation of Uganda," he said.
He called for greater unity, collaboration and solidarity within African people in order to command respect from other nations of the world and to create conditions for social economic development of their peoples.
"We owe it to our people and cannot afford to fail because we set ourselves the task to deliver to the expectations of the people are we are ready to work to achieve this success and solidarity.
The RPF marks its Silver Jubilee today and President Museveni will be the guest of honour.