By: Hason Mutunzi Bwambale
During the closing ceremony of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit held in Kampala, President Yoweri Museveni rejected pro-East or pro-West labels, emphasizing a focus on the interests of Uganda while condemning the notion of aligning with any specific global power bloc.
President Museveni expressed frustration with being asked if he leaned towards the East or the West, labeling such questions as “incredible shallowness.” He stated that his priority was the well-being and progress of his country.
The NAM Summit, aimed at promoting cooperation among independent nations, provided an opportunity for President Museveni to address leaders from various countries, advocating for unity based on common goals and self-interest. He stressed the need for developing nations to pursue their agenda rather than aligning with any particular ideology or power.
In his closing remarks, Museveni said, “Do you think I am an idiot? I am pro-myself, not pro anybody else. Why do you think my job is to be pro-anybody else!” This statement echoes his long-standing advocacy for African countries to pursue policies that best suit their unique needs and interests.
Since assuming power in 1986, President Museveni has pursued a pragmatic approach to governance, focusing on economic development, regional stability, and self-sufficiency. He has been critical of perceived interference or subjugation by foreign powers, often calling for self-reliance and sovereignty.
While Uganda has traditionally maintained ties with both Western and Eastern powers, Museveni’s message serves as a reminder that the country’s allegiance lies first and foremost with its own people. The President’s stance resonated with many leaders attending the NAM Summit, particularly those from developing nations who share similar concerns about external influence.
The NAM Summit concluded with a Kampala declaration expressing grave concern about the continued deterioration of the situation in Gaza. It highlighted the humanitarian crisis endured by Palestinian civilians, condemning indiscriminate attacks by Israel across the Gaza Strip and violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. The declaration also affirmed the principle of “unity in diversity” and reiterated the need for self-determination and national interests to guide international relations.
With Museveni’s departure from conventional labels and emphasis on self-interest, his message is likely to reverberate beyond the conference halls, prompting a reevaluation of global power dynamics. As Uganda continues its journey towards progress and development, President Museveni’s unwavering commitment to the interests of his nation is poised to shape future policies and relationships with foreign powers.