Kampala — UGANDAN President, Yoweri Museveni, has appealed to African leaders to unite in order to repel imperialism by influential Western nations.
He made the statement as he hosted his Zimbabwean counterpart, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was as guest to the East African nation's 57th independence anniversary.
Museveni denounced the sanctions the United States (US) and European Union (EU) imposed on Zimbabwe some 20 years ago after it embarked on a land reform programme to reclaim from mostly white commercial farmers.
"... ... .because a big man cannot negotiate with a small man, we see European countries busy imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe. And Zimbabweans have been suffering for 20 years," Museveni charged.
The Ugandan leader called on Africa's economic integration under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) saying that way the continent would have power, voice and economic muscle.
"That is why we say CFTA is for our salvation. Economic integration under the CFTA is for the prosperity of our people in Africa," Museveni said.
He argued that Africa with slightly more than 1,2 billion compared to the US' 327,2 million and European Union's 513,5 million could play an influential role if all 55 African Union (UN) member states united.
He cited China, with more than 1,3 billion had managed to neutralise the US restrictions.
"When USA places China on sanctions, China places the USA on sanctions also, but in another situation where someone strikes you and you cannot strike him back, that's a disaster," Museveni said.
The US slapped Zimbabwe with sanctions in 2001 under the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA), an act purportedly passed to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery.
Mnangagwa expressed gratitude to Uganda's inspiration during struggle for independence from Britain.
"Your Independence inspired us in Southern Africa. We were inspired that it was possible to remove colonial power from our countries when you became independent," Mnangagwa said.
SADC countries are expected to carry out different activities on October 25 to register their disapproval of the US sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.