Rukungiri — Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday praised the historic role of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party in Africa's liberation.
He made his remarks in the presence of Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, who arrived in Uganda on Tuesday on a working visit.
Museveni was speaking in the Ugandan district of Rukungiri, where celebrations were held to mark the 51st anniversary of the country's independence.
President Museveni explained that it was Frelimo who trained the nucleus of the force that overthrew the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 1979.
He revealed that Frelimo gave assistance in response to a request from Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere.
Museveni took groups of Ugandans for training in Frelimo's camps at Nachingwea and inside Mozambique.
According to Museveni, “the most useful was the group of the 28 cadres we trained in Montepuez between 1976 and 1978.It was this group that helped us to build up the 9,000 fighters of the western axis”.
Idi Amin was overthrown by some of this force, along with troops from Tanzania and support from Mozambique.
President Museveni highlighted the role of Frelimo “in the liberation, not only of Mozambique, but of the wider southern Africa. By being the first liberation movement to defeat a European colonial army, only preceded by the defeat of the Italian colonial force by the Ethiopians (in 1896), Frelimo made a historic contribution to the African anti-colonial struggle”.
He also praised Frelimo's inspiration and support for freedom fighters in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Turning to the present time, Museveni noted that Frelimo has built the Mozambican economy, “which has been growing at the rate of seven per cent per annum. With its huge resources of gas, coal and other minerals, Mozambique will be a prosperous nation”.
In reply, President Guebuza said that the friendship between the two countries has “deep roots”.
He stated, “during the struggle for independence and liberation, we had the opportunity to interact with some of your compatriots in our politico-military training centre in Nachingwea in the south of Tanzania”.
He added that the Ugandan forces, including Museveni, had visited liberated zones inside Mozambique where “our people were enjoying the first fruits of freedom and democracy, the fruits of their own struggle”.
President Guebuza concluded that, “since that time, the lives of the two countries have been intertwined politically, diplomatically and, we hope shortly, also economically”.