President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has reiterated his stand, condemning the coup earlier this month that deposed the leader of Guinea, Alpha Conde.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, the NRM party chairman has said the recent coups in Africa need to be evaluated to establish if they are ideologically oriented or simply carried out due to influence from external players.
Mr Museveni, who boasts of participating in a number of revolutions across the continent, says that African freedom fighters need to take a common stand against coup plotters.
See full statement:
The Military Coups that have taken place in Maliand Guinea,must be evaluated by the African freedom fighters so that we correctly take a principled stand. In a recent interview with Radio France, I condemned the Coup in Guineabecause that was the latest.The same condemnationextends to the one in Mali and all the others like the one that was in Madagascar,some time ago. Why? It is because the African resistance, right from 1912when the ANC was founded after the humiliating take over of the whole continent by the imperialists after defeating the incapable traditional chiefs, had 5 aims: to expel the imperialists from Africa (decolonization);in order to do that, the freedom fighters hadto unite the African Peoples in each territory (colony) by emphasizing Patriotism (the unity of all the people as opposed to tribalism-the word being used was “African Nationalism); however, patriotism was not enough to defeat the imperialists-we needed Pan-African action to gain more strength(hence,the Manchester conference of 1945, the Accra Conference of 1958, the OAU conference of 1963 etc.);this Pan-Africanism, apart from the coordinatedanti-imperialist actions,also anticipated the political and economic integration of either the whole of Africa(Dr.Nkrumah) or in parts (Nyerere Mwalimu); in the anti-imperialist struggles, we were supported by the socialistcountries of the Soviet Union (1917), China(1949), Cuba(1959)etc.and the progressive groupsin the west such as Dr. Shepherd of the USA, Lord Fenner Brockway of UK, Olof PalmeofSweden etc.; and, finally, the freedom fighters opposed and resistedneo colonialism –freedom inname but bondage in practice-that is why we condemned the killing of Lumumba, the overthrow of Nkrumah, Modibo Keitaetc..In otherwords, starting with 1912, Africanfreedom fighting meant the following:i.Decolonization-anti-imperialism.ii.Patriotism or Nationalism as opposed to Sectarianism.iii.Pan-Africanismin fightingthe imperialists but also leading to economic and political integration after liberation (CFTA Continental Free Trade Areaand, where possible,Political Federations-like Tanzania-the union of Zanzibar and Tanganyika or the federation of Ghana, Guineaand Mali).iv.Internationally,working with those that supportedthe independence of Africa and opposing those that support the subjugation of Africa.v.And,by that very fact, opposing neo-colonialism in Africa, Asiaand Latin America (the war in Vietnam, the killing of Lumumba, the actions in Libya,recently,etc.).Here, in Uganda, this is how we have been assessing actors. Idi Amin announced his coup detat at 1500 hours on the 25thof January, 1971. By 1700hours,on the same day, we met at Yona Kanyomozi’shouse in Bugolobi and we resolved to fight Idi Amin witharms.Who were we? We were part of the East African Student Movement that included people like Adrew Shija-Tanzania, John Garang-South Sudan, Peter Kinyanjui-Kenya, Mwakasungura-Malawi, Charles Kileo-Tanzania, Eriya Kategaya-Uganda etc. We believed in the five aims outlined above and we assessed all political actors accordingly. We did not fully agree with Mzee Obote.However, we thought that we could work with him on the issue of integration of Africa and on anti-imperialism. With Idi Amin, however, there was no hope. It was clear that he was an uninformedtool of some external actors whose interests were inimical to ours.Amin and the soldiers that followed him, had, therefore, no right to interfere with our destiny march. Guns, our guns bought for them from China (AK-47s), Czechoslovakia (BTR-60-armoured personnel carriers) etc.,with our own money, could not intimidate us.We could and we did quickly learn the use of these instruments of force and, by 1979, Amin and his misdirected soldiers,were in full-flight, running away from the justice of the Ugandan revolutionaries.Were we wrong to take up arms against Idi Amin? Not at all. This is because Idi Amin and his fellow golpists in Africa, were almost all of them agents of anti-African interests. We were calling them reactionaries and puppets of foreign interests.Who were they? They were the following: Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga, Eyadema of Togo, Afrifa of Ghana, Bokassa of Central Africa Republic, Habyarimana of Rwanda,etc etc.What proof do we have that they were agents of foreign interests and against our destiny?When Afrifa overthrew Mzee Nkrumah, the latter had either proposed to or had actually sent a reconnaissance group to the Zambezivalley(Zambia side) to participate in the confrontation against Ian Smith in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe).I remember,that in oneof his speeches, Afrifa actually cited this as one of the reasons of overthrowing Mzee Nkrumah. After that, Ghanawithdrew completely from theanti-colonial struggle and yet, thitherto, she had been the pointsman in the anti-colonial struggle.Fortunately, for Africa,we had a few far-sighted and courageous elders of ours that did not desertthefrontline of resistance to colonialism and imperialism.These were: Mwalimu Nyerere (Tanzania), Mzee Kaunda (Zambia),Mzee Seretse Khama (Botswana), AbdulNasser (Egypt), Houari Boumediene (Algeria) and Mzee SekouToure (Guinnea-Conakry). With material supplies (weapons) and training from the socialist camp (the Soviet Union,China, Cuba etc.),they gave training camps and rearbases to the African freedom fightersfromMozambique, Angola ,Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Guinea-Bissau. By 1974, the African Armies had defeated the Portuguese Army in Africa ( a total of almost200,000 soldiers); by 1980, the regime of Ian Smith,that had declared that it would sit on top of the Africans for another 1000years, was defeated.In 1986,Uganda’sleadership came into ourhands and we also made our humble contribution.Eversince 1975, the number of the frontlinestates had grown from the original 3 (Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana) to the thensix (adding Mozambique, Zimbabweand Angola).Later, Namibia(1990),joined the frontline states. By 1994, South Africa was liberated. All this was the work of the Africanfreedom fighters, supported by other anti-colonial forces in the World. The question to ask is: “What would have happened if the Afrifa–Amin-Mobutu line of collaboration with imperialism at the expense of African interests, had succeeded?”In the article, I have talked of only the African Countries where there was fighting. There were,however, others that were not independent by the time the Afrifas betrayed us in Ghana. These were Sao-Tome and Principe, Equatoria Guinea, Djibouti, Seychelles.Swaziland,Lesotho, Western Sahara etc.Definitely,in the countries where the fighting took place, the imperialistshad no intentionof acceptingAfrican empowerment, leadership,and democratic participation. Portugalused to say that their African colonies(Mozambique, Angolaetc.) were not colonies. That they were “overseas provincesof Portugal”!!it was a titanic struggle in whichour few elders,led as well.Therefore, “the struggle between thetwolines”,as the Chinese usedto say,the line of independenceand the line of flunkeyism, has been crucial and decisive in Africa.The imperialists wanted to extirpate the independent thinking leaders in Africa,like they did with Lumumba, Nkrumah,ModiboKeita,etc.The Portuguese invaded Conakryon the 22ndofNovember1970.SekouToure and the Guineanresistance,defeated them. Hence, Guineaof SekouToure, remained a reliable rear-base for the PAIGC (PartidoAfricano Independencia of Guineaand Cape-Verde).That is how Guinea-Bissau, led by the capable AmilcarCabral, whom the traitors assassinated on the 20thof January 1973, struck one of the biggestblows to Portuguesecolonialism,so much that the defeated PortugueseCommander there, General Spinola, when he went back to Portugal, led the “golpe” (coup) against the fascist “ProfessorioDoctorio”MarcelloCaetano.Another strategic defeat had been inflicted on the Portuguese in Cabo Delgado Province when comrade Samora Machel defeated General Kaulza D’Arriaga’s “Operation Gordion Knot”,in 1971, where he had employed 35,000 soldiersin that offensive. The imperialiststried to overthrowMwalimu Nyerere(the William ChachaCoup, the planting of bombs by South AfricanCommandoes landedby sub-marines at, for instance, Selanderbridge-200meters from where I was stayingat Sun and Sand hotel;);etc.Therefore, when it comes to these new Coup detats in West Africa, we must ask threequestions. The questions are:1.“What is the ideological stand of these Coupmakers? Do they understand the 5 aims of the African freedom fighters that caused the formation of the ANC in 1912?2. Whom are they overthrowing in terms of ideology and aims?Who is Alpha Conde, who is Keita, ideologically? Are they in the tradition of the African freedom fighters like Nkrumah,Nyerere,SekouToure etc?3.What right do these Coup makers have when it comes to interfering with our destiny?I certainly do not know the ideological position of the Coup-makers. There are, however, clues that show that they may not be part of the freedom fighters. The African Union has made some positive steps in working for the realization of some of our 5 strategic aims.The OAU supported the decolonization of Africa by creating the committee of 9 that Co-ordinated the anti-colonial armed struggle. This committee was based in Dar-es-Salaam and was headed by George Magombe and, later, by General Hashim Mbiita(both of Tanzania).Secondly, recently, they accepted and launched the CFTA(the Continental Free Trade Area)-one of the strategic aims of the African freedom fighters,to ensure our prosperity. It is this African Union that has outlawed Coups.Who, then, are you to make a Coup against the decision of the AU? Whose interest are you serving? Besides, I was amazed and amused by the arrogance of these people.When summoning former Government Ministers etc, one of them said that if anybody summoned does not come, he/she will be regarded as having declared rebellion!! Really!!
Especially for the politicians, they have a right and even an obligation to say: “No”,to whatever they don’t agree with. Saying “No”, includesnot attending meetings called. It is a peaceful way of showing one’s unhappiness.It is up to the organizer to come and see why I did not come to the called meeting so that, if he can, he addresses and cures the grievance.To declare that peaceful abstaining from a meeting is rebellion, shows that you may beafascist.4.Who is Alpha Conde, Who is Keita of Mali, ideologically? Certainly, the few times I interacted with Professor Conde, he belongs to the tradition of African freedom fighters; he told me that hesupported the federation of West Africa that would utilize the Mandingo, Fulani and other cross-border communities,to build such a political union, in addition to economic integration (ECOWAS, CFTA, COMESA etc.).
Of course,we do not know much about the internal politics of Guinea.Nevertheless, even when you have other differences, it should not eclipse the big aims you share. This is what we always believe and do. Examples of this are plenty.
5.Finally:“Do the coup-makers have a right to interfere with our destiny?”The answer is a categorical “no”;it is good that the African Union accepted the minimum position of outlawing these coups. The freedom fighters, who themselves have not harmonized well among themselves, but must reject flunkeyism, should have no problem with leaders that do not share their views provided they are elected. Elections means one person, one vote, by secret ballot,at regular intervals. This is the minimum they all havesetand it is a good one. If people who do not share our views win the elections,provided they do not engage inextra–judicial killings, we should accept their leadership and struggle against their wrong positions peacefully. The position of one person, one vote, by secret ballot, at regular intervals, is a good minimum position because it addresses the substance of democracy,which means the continuous and perpetual supremacy of the sovereignty of the people.Nobody has a right to interfere with this.Some of us, in the foot-steps of the freedom fighter elders, cannot contentedly accept that Africa becomes a Latin America in Africa. The struggle led by the elders was: “for a free and United Africa”; not for“an unfree (neo-colonialism) and dispersed Africa.”The 5 strategic goals,had, each,a reason:Decolonizationto regain the freedom to decide for ourselves; Patriotismto create strength in each country by uniting the people and opposing sectarianism (Umoja ni nguvu, Agali awamu g’galuma enyama); Pan-Africanism to create more strength, cater for our prosperity through uniting the African markets for our producers of goods and services through economic integration and create strategic security through political integration; Utilizing the support of the Socialist Countries as well as the anti-colonial forces in the West to strengthen ourselvesafter Independence even some of the right-wingactors in the West,started working with the freedom fighters, although quite often they relapse into their wrong attitudes of arrogance And rejecting all attitudes of neo-colonialism;Uganda is strong today and on the verge of becoming a middle income Country,because we rejected flunkeyism-we resisted Idi Amin when he was being dined and wined in some capitals. The present chaos in many parts of Africa is on account of not fully implementing the goals of the elder-freedom fighters. That is why some of us cannot give up the struggle for these strategic goals.In the last 60years, the only actors on the African scene that came through military Coups thatstood with the freedom fighters at some point were: MarianNgouabi in Congo-Brazzaville; General Obasanjo on the matter ofAngola; Col.Mengistu on the issue of Zimbabwe (I think he trained some freedom fighters from there); and Col.Houari Boummedione of Algeria who trained freedom fighters from Mozambique and other countries that were still occupied.Sometimes, in a number of cases, some Western leaders take the side of theAfrican freedom fighters in some controversial arguments.
I can remember of 1976 when H.E Jimmy Carter took ourside in the matter of Angola when the South African Whites (the Boers) had invaded Angola to
put their puppets in power;1980when Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher brokered the settlementon Zimbabwe;and 1990-1994 when H.E De Kirk,reached a peaceful settlement on South Africa. All these were, however, preceded by the correct and determined actions of the African freedom fighters.Long live the Sovereignty of the African people through regular free elections of one person one vote, by secret ballot.
Yoweri K. Museveni Gen.(Rtd) PRESIDENT
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