President Museveni has said he is ready to retire as soon as possible but noted he is being held back by the creation of the East African Federation and a centre of gravity for Africa.
“Please you people, I want to go and look after my cows. Create a centre of gravity, I push you there, then I go and look after my cows. I am very glad that His Excellency Ruto and other Kenyan and East African leaders support this idea. In Arusha they are now talking the same language of a confederation as the first step to the federation,” he said.
Museveni was on Tuesday responding to comments by Kenya Deputy President William Ruto that he owes other leaders the fruition of the East African Federation before he retires.
“You owe us a debt. Before you retire and if possible in the next two or three years, you owe us the fruition of the EA federation. We are here as leaders and citizens of East Africa to support you and other leaders in the region to eliminate barriers that impede trade, investment, labour and people working together,”Ruto said.
“We need the centre of gravity, we need not look further, you will work on that centre of gravity. People in this continent can trade better, do business better and connect better.”
President Museveni and Kenya’s Deputy President Ruto were on Tuesday presiding over a ceremony to lay a foundation stone for the construction of a multi-billion Biological Drugs and mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility at Matuga in Wakiso District.
“The good word from Deputy President Ruto which is the East African Federation! That good word! If the Africans of today don’t wake up and catch up with history, you may end up building a Latin America in Africa instead of a United States of Africa in Africa,” Museveni said.
The president said the two continents of America ie North America has 3 countries Canada, the USA and Mexico while South America has about 20 countries.
“When the British colonies got independence, 13 of them decided to unite just like us here and formed a nucleus of United States. The Spanish economies in South America got independence but remained divided. Now, almost 300 years later you can see the difference. The US has huge power and prosperity while South America has misery and chaos. You see them walking, trying to go to the US and being shut out at the border. They are running away from misery to prosperity. South America has more resources than the north, but the way they are organized politically and economically, they cannot succeed. It is a political disability. It has created perpetual political disability,” he said.
Museveni said Africa is one of the continents with disabilities and can’t do business.
“If you put yourself in a political-strategic situation where you can’t do business, investors will not come. China opened up in 1978….and has attracted foreign direct investments since. In Uganda, we have an excuse of some wars but some African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia have been stable and private sector-led but how much foreign direct invest has gone to them?”
He noted that what is attracting foreign direct investments to China are the big markets, cheap labour and infrastructure.
“I am very glad that people are waking up and talking about East African Federation. This will become a centre of gravity. If they have problems, the whole of the western world turns to the US, China has their centre and so does India and Russia. Where is the centre of gravity for Africans,” he asked.
President Museveni who earlier this year won his sixth term as president of Uganda has in the past said he is ready to retire and return to private life after leading the country to the East African Federation.
In the run towards the 2016 elections, Museveni said he doesn’t lack were to retire but noted that he has on several occasions been asked by his NRM party to return and lead the country.