By Andrew Besi
“Man is a political animal by nature, he is a scientist by chance or choice, he is a moralist because he is a man. The history of political thought is the history of the moral evaluation of political power.” – Hans Joachim Morgenthau
April has a habit of making itself an important month in the politics of our pearl as well as our continent. It was in 1979 that April saw the back of Idi Amin as he fled to Libya and then onwards to the embrace of the then Patriarch of the House of Saud in Jeddah.
On April 6 1994, a plane carrying Juvenal Habyarimana - then the president of Rwanda - and Burundi’s president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down over Kigali. There were no survivors. This single act was enough of an excuse for Hutu hardliners within the government of Rwanda and the Interahamwe militia to begin a 100 day massacre of 800k Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
April 1994’s national election also marked a turning point in the revolutionary struggles in South Africa. This election - the first in which blacks were allowed to vote - is often regarded as the symbol for the end of Apartheid in South Africa. Apartheid had stamped its place in South Africa when on 26 April 1679, the castle of Good Hope was completed. It remains the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa.
But also, on a more somber note, it was on 26 April 1964 - 285 years after the castle of good Hope’s completion - that a new progressive African way of politics was first witnessed with the unification of the Island of Zanzibar and the much larger mainland of Tanganyika. This unification gave birth to what is now referred to as the United Republic of Tanzania.
It is this new creation of Tanzania that would go on to act as a springboard for many of Africa’s most famous anti colonial Revolutionary movements. Indeed, acclaimed Political thought leaders like Dr. Walter Rodney and Dr. Eduardo Mondlane all found sanctuary in Tanzania.
No wonder then, that a group of young Ugandan intellectuals also settled there and, shaped by the right thinking of this mix of revolutionaries, began a moral evaluation of Uganda and Africa’s political challenges. Supported by Mwalimu Nyerere and the Tanzania Peoples’ Defense Forces (TPDF), they returned to Kampala as Liberators in April 1979.
April 2022 has been an exciting one for us in Uganda and indeed even within the wider confines of our Jumuiya.
On 29th March, at their 19th Ordinary summit in Nairobi, the heads of state of all 6 East African Community (EAC) member countries, and on the recommendation of the Council of ministers, admitted the Democratic Republic of Congo to be the 7th member of the EAC.
This process was finally ratified on 14th April when the Treaty of Accession between the EAC and the DRC was signed also in Nairobi.
Accession of the DRC into the EAC is further proof that this region of Africa - variously called the Great Lakes region, with its similarity of peoples - are now alert to the benefits of Integration. Addressing African leaders in 2019, H.E. Yoweri Museveni reasoned that the two crucial issues for Africa within changing global geopolitics, akin to our colonisation by Europe, are political and economic integration. “Our view is that integration means three things: prosperity, security and fraternity.”
Indeed, history teaches that to be rich in natural resources BUT militarily weak is a dangerous recipe. “In the second world war, the first victims of aggression were the developed but small countries of Europe: Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Poland etc.” It is no wonder that they are the loudest supporters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU).
This Sunday past, H.E. Museveni and Maama Janet hosted family and friends of their son the amiable Lt. Gen. Muhozi Kainerugaba - to a sumptuous dinner at State House Entebbe. President Paul Kagame was also in attendance. It is the first time he’s been to Uganda in nearly five years.
Muwooji, as his father sometimes calls him, turned 48 and was instrumental in “repairing” the relationship between our two countries. It was befitting that, in a centuries old practice we call Okulahira ente, president Kagame gifted cows to Gen. Muhoozi.
Tomorrow, H.E. Nyusi, President of Mozambique visits Uganda -46 years after Museveni sent Ivan Koreta, Salim Saleh, and a precious few others to Northern Mozambique for military training. It was Saleh who "taught me soldiering."
Only in April.
The writer works with the Ministry of ICT& NG