President Museveni’s statement on Libya first puts forward Col. Muammar Gaddafi’s mistakes as the following:
1: His support for Idi Amin in Uganda from 1972-79
2: His African political integration project since 1999 against AU position
3: ‘Interference’ in internal matters of African states through his Cultural leaders project
4: Gaddafi’s support (with other Arab leaders) for marginalisation of South Sudan
5: Failed to distance himself enough from Terrorists
Below is the first part of the statement
Article On the Libyan crisis By H.E. Yoweri K. Museveni
President of the Republic of Uganda
20th March 2011
By the time Muammar Gaddaffi came to power in 1969, I was a third year university student at Dar-es-Salaam. We welcomed him because he was in the tradition of Col. Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt who had a nationalist and pan-Arabist position.
Soon, however, problems cropped up with Col. Gaddafi as far as Uganda and Black Africa were concerned:
- Idi Amin came to power with the support of Britain and Israel because they thought he was uneducated enough to be used by them. Amin, however, turned against his sponsors when they refused to sell him guns to fight Tanzania. Unfortunately, Col. Muammar Gaddafi, without getting enough information about Uganda, jumped in to support Idi Amin. This was because Amin was a ‘Moslem’ and Uganda was a ‘Moslem country’ where Moslems were being ‘oppressed’ by Christians. Amin killed a lot of people extra-judiciary and Gaddafi was identified with these mistakes. In 1972 and 1979, Gaddafi sent Libyan troops to defend Idi Amin when we attacked him. I remember a Libyan Tupolev 22 bomber trying to bomb us in Mbarara in 1979. The bomb ended up in Nyarubanga because the pilots were scared. They could not come close to bomb properly. We had already shot-down many Amin MIGs using surface-to-air missiles. The Tanzanian brothers and sisters were doing much of this fighting. Many Libyan militias were captured and repatriated to Libya by Tanzania. This was a big mistake by Gaddafi and a direct aggression against the people of Uganda and East Africa.
- The second big mistake by Gaddafi was his position vis-à-vis the African Union (AU) Continental Government “now”. Since 1999, he has been pushing this position. Black people are always polite. They, normally, do not want to offend other people. This is called: ‘obufura’ in Runyankore, mwolo in Luo – handling, especially strangers, with care and respect. It seems some of the non-African cultures do not have ‘obufura’. You can witness a person talking to a mature person as if he/she is talking to a kindergarten child. “You should do this; you should do that; etc.” We tried to politely point out to Col. Gaddafi that this was difficult in the short and medium term. We should, instead, aim at the Economic Community of Africa and, where possible, also aim at Regional Federations. Col. Gaddafi would not relent. He would not respect the rules of the AU. Something that has been covered by previous meetings would be resurrected by Gaddafi. He would ‘overrule’ a decision taken by all other African Heads of State. Some of us were forced to come out and oppose his wrong position and, working with others, we repeatedly defeated his illogical position.
- The third mistake has been the tendency by Col. Gaddafi to interfere in the internal affairs of many African countries using the little money Libya has compared to those countries. One blatant example was his involvement with cultural leaders of Black Africa – kings, chiefs, etc. Since the political leaders of Africa had refused to back his project of an African Government, Gaddafi, incredibly, thought that he could by-pass them and work with these kings to implement his wishes. I warned Gaddafi in Addis Ababa that action would be taken against any Ugandan king that involved himself in politics because it was against our Constitution. I moved a motion in Addis Ababa to expunge from the records of the AU all references to kings (cultural leaders) who had made speeches in our forum because they had been invited there illegally by Col. Gaddafi.
- The fourth big mistake was by most of the Arab leaders, including Gaddafi to some extent. This was 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 always created tension and friction between us and the Arabs, including Gaddafi to some extent. However, I must salute H.E. Gaddafi and H.E. Hosni Mubarak for travelling to Khartoum just before the Referendum in Sudan and advised H.E. 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. The Middle Eastern radicals, quite different 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 merry-makers, 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 negative points in connection to Col. Gaddafi as far as Uganda’s patriots have been concerned over the years. These positions of Col. Gaddafi have been unfortunate and unnecessary.