Speaking to members of ruling NRM caucus in Parliament that is meeting in Kyankwanzi, huge potential for agriculture and tourism, is needed to safeguard their existence but also for prosperity.
Museveni said that whereas the Pan-African ideological movement has succeeded in frustrating the advances of foreign interests in the region especially by the Arabs and Western countries, it is yet to translate into a political union that is needed to safeguard independence.
Museveni said: “With our brothers and sisters in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, we have intensified the discussion on political integration ? the need for the East African Federation. The future for this cause is at its brightest. We shall definitely succeed.”
Museveni argues that whereas trade is important to uplift the quality of lives of the people, East Africa needs to look beyond trade.
“Why do we need a Federation? Is the common market not enough? We need the Federation because of the need for strategic security. The Americans and other big powers have for long aimed at what they call four dimensional superiority against other countries: that is superiority on land, at sea, in the air and in space. Where does that leave? How shall we maintain our freedom? Can Uganda compete with the super powers in those spheres by itself? The answer is a big “NO”. If we cannot, then what is our strategic security? Who will guarantee our independence? This is why, fortunately, the answer is available: East Africa ? the similar or linked people of East Africa ? uniting economically and politically as we intend to do and as the Pan-Africanist elders before us intended to do.”
Museveni says that Africa was colonized in the past because the tribal kings and chiefs failed to unite their people.
In an apparent justification for his involvement in regional political and economic issues, Museveni argued that he and the NRM want to pursue the dream of Pan African leaders such as Nyerere and Nkumah to unite Africa.
Besides political union as a guarantor of independence, Museveni said East Africa needs economic unity through trade in order to improve the prosperity of her people as well as consolidate political unity.
He said that his colleagues Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Paug Kagame of Rwanda have appreciated the need for fast tracking trade through building roads and other communication highways.
Fortunately, in East Africa we are moving. I salute all our colleagues.
Apart from the need for political integration in order to guarantee our strategic future, there are, of course, four other imperatives. He highlighted the following as important;
(i) the need to unite our markets so that they become more viable;
(ii) the need to develop cost effective routes to the oceans (the Indian ocean and the Atlantic ocean);
(iii) the need to protect our rights over the Nile river; and
(iv) the need to use the united East African market to bargain for durable access to bigger and lucrative external markets (EU, USA, Russia, India, Japan, China, South America, etc).
He said: “The wider market is the medicine that is necessary for poverty eradication through production.”