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Address of by President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, to the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda, Kampala, 13 December 2005|
Honourable Speaker of Parliament
Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Honourable Members of Parliament
Ladies and gentlemen
Thank you very much for this opportunity and privilege to address the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda. I am honoured to bring you warm greetings from the government and people of South Africa.
The people of South Africa wish to thank you and through you, the public representatives of the people of Uganda, their brothers and sisters in this country for the sacrifice, solidarity and support given to us during the difficult period of the struggle against apartheid. Although far from the borders of our country, you did not hesitate to act for the eradication of the apartheid crime against humanity.
Indeed, in our time of need you allowed the cadres of our liberation movement the African National Congress and especially our military combatants of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) to be housed in camps in Uganda. For this, the people of South Africa owe you a debt of gratitude.
In this regard, we are deeply touched by your preparedness to erect a monument in honour of our heroes and heroines who used Uganda as a rear base. I am happy that the South African Ministries of Defence and Public Works are working closely with the government of Uganda to finalise details on this matter.
You supported us in this extraordinary manner because you were clearly inspired by the correct belief that Ugandans could not fully enjoy their freedom knowing that their own brothers and sisters continued to endure oppression, repression and state terrorism simply because of the colour of their skin.
Because of your solidarity and generosity in housing the cadres of our liberation movement and contributing in other ways to our struggle for national emancipation, today we are free and share another trench in the new war against the twin enemies of poverty and underdevelopment.
Indeed, we are not surprised that despite your own pressing challenges, you took the decision to support our liberation struggle because the Ugandans, just like South Africans, come from the people who endured and survived wars, tragedies, divisions, the subterfuge and arrogance of colonialists who used all manner of mechanisations to take over our countries, drain our rich African resources and exploit our labour for their own development.
As if that was not enough, the people of Uganda and South Africa, together with the rest of the African continent, have been subjected to a long season of systematic distortion and destruction of everything African.
When the British formally gazetted Buganda as a British Protectorate on 19 June 1894, it was 242 years after Jan Van Riebeeck claimed part of modern Cape Town in South Africa as a Dutch territory in 1652.
Yet, despite the interval of more than two centuries, the settlers used almost the same methods in conquering the vast tracks of land in our two countries. Through the combination of bogus treaties, fake agreements and brutal wars, the native populations of Uganda and South Africa were robbed of their land, cattle and other livestock.
In this regard, as Honourable Members are aware, Colonel Colville entered into these fake treaties with the Kingdom of Buganda but when the Bunyoro people under their ruler, Kabarega, refused to agree to a similar treaty, they were subjected to a horrendous military campaign. After Kabarega was defeated, the malevolence of colonialism followed the Bunyoro people as famine and disease attacked them and destroyed many of these African heroes.
Two-hundred years before the defeat of the Bunyoro people, the Khoi people of South Africa, in the southern tip of the continent, experienced a more deadly devastation after initially resisting the aggressive wars of the Dutch only to become almost extinct from the curse of diseases brought by the colonists, especially small pox.
(Bunyoro story see 'Forging of an African Nation, P10, GSK Ibingira)
In both our countries the colonialists used the tactics of divide and rule, imprisonment and exile, economic exploitation and political oppression. In different ways, our people were subjected to some horrendous tyranny all the way into the 1980s, Uganda suffering the effects of neo-colonialism and South Africa under a peculiar system of colonialism of a special type.
That the people of this country have overcome the destruction wrought by the dictatorship of Idi Amin that nearly destroyed this country is an achievement of which all Africans should be proud.
Indeed, the fortitude and commitment of both our people to freedom and dignity have prevailed under very trying and difficult conditions. As we meet today, our wounds are still to heal properly; our scars are still to clear. Yet we have a duty in tribute to our forebears and the masses of our people not to procrastinate when we have the possibility to do whatever we can to move forward faster so as to banish forever the pain occasioned by poverty and underdevelopment.
Since the sound of the drums of freedom and independence were heard in many countries more than 40 years back, much of Africa has not known conditions of stable peace. Yet, in the last 15 years or so, we have seen the emergence of a new generation of Africans, who not only speak about change but are prepared to bring it about; who not only preach economic development but are ready to dirty their hands to change the conditions of the people for the better; who not only pray for an end to war and conflict, but ceaselessly struggle for peace and security.
Of course, in this period of the last 15 years we have also experienced the hideous act of genocide in Rwanda; the indecencies of wars; the deaths of our people from curable diseases; famine in the age of plenty.
Accordingly, we need faster ways to accelerate change and implement the programmes of the African Union (AU) and its development programme, New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). We have to collaborate better to end conflicts and wars, ensure the all-round development of the masses of our people and advance towards the realisation of the goal of African unity.
The commitment of the people of this country to address some of these challenges has been demonstrated by the work you have done on the critical matters of peace, security and stability. This is particularly so with regard to the contribution that Uganda made to ensure that the peoples of Rwanda and Burundi have the possibility, after many years of conflict, civil wars and instability, to live in peace and begin to participate in democratic processes.
Again, through the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD), Uganda, together with other regional partners, has helped to pull Somalia from the abyss of anarchy and lawlessness into the possibility of a better future. Indeed, it is because of the commitment among the Ugandans and the rest of the people of this region, to help bring about peace in Sudan that today Africa has ended decades of war in southern Sudan.
These are the concrete expressions of the commitment of African leaders to find lasting African solutions to Africa's problems. In this regard, we would also like to take this opportunity to pledge our solidarity with you as you continue the struggle to achieve peace in Uganda, obliged to confront such groups as the so-called Lord's Resistance Army.
[ Last edited by buddy35 at 2009-1-14 03:44 AM ]