Uganda weighs in on Libya

PRESIDENT YOWERI MUSEVENI | 4/12/2011, 4:45 p.m.

I warned him in Addis Ababa that action would be taken against any Ugandan king that involved him in politics because it was against our Constitution. I put forward a motion in Addis Ababa to expunge from the AU's records all references to kings or cultural leaders who had made speeches in our forum, because Gaddafi had invited them there illegally.

*The fourth big mistake was made by most of the Arab leaders, including Gaddafi to some extent, in connection with the long-suffering people of Southern Sudan. Many of the Arab leaders either supported or ignored the suffering of the Black people in that country. This unfairness had always created tension and friction between us and the Arabs, including, to some extent, Gaddafi. However, I must salute Gaddafi and Hosni Mubarak for travelling to Khartoum just before the referendum in Sudan to advise Omar al-Bashir to respect the results of that exercise.

*Sometimes Gaddafi and other Middle Eastern radicals do not distance themselves sufficiently from terrorism, even when they are fighting for a just cause. Terrorism is the use of indiscriminate violence--not distinguishing between military and non-military targets.

Middle Eastern radicals, quite differently from the revolutionaries of Black Africa, seem to say that any means is acceptable as long as you are fighting the enemy. That is why they hijack planes, use assassinations, plant bombs in bars, etc. Why bomb bars? People who go to bars are normally merrymakers, not politically minded people.

We were together with the Arabs in the anti-colonial struggle. The Black African liberation movements, however, developed differently from the Arab ones. Where we used arms we fought soldiers or sabotaged infrastructure but never targeted non-combatants. These indiscriminate methods tend to isolate the struggles of the Middle East and the Arab world. It would be good if the radicals in these areas could streamline their work methods in this area of using violence indiscriminately.

These five points above are some of the negatives in connection to Gaddafi as far as Uganda's patriots have been concerned over the years. These positions have been unfortunate and unnecessary. Nevertheless, Gaddafi has also had many positive points, objectively speaking, in favor of Africa, Libya and the Third World. I will deal with them point by point.

*Gaddafi has an independent foreign policy and, of course, independent internal policies. I am not able to understand the position of Western countries that appear to resent independent-minded leaders and seem to prefer puppets. Puppets are not good for any country.

Most of the countries that have transitioned from Third World to First World status since 1945 have had independent-minded leaders, including South Korea (Park Chung-hee), Singapore (Lee Kuan Yew), The People's Republic of China (Mao Tse Tung, Chou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping, Marshal Yang Shangkun, Li Peng, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jing Tao, etc.), Malaysia (Dr. Mahthir Mohamad), Brazil (Lula Da Silva) and Iran (the Ayatollahs).

Between the First World War and the Second World War, the Soviet Union transitioned into an industrial country propelled by the dictatorial but independent-minded Joseph Stalin.