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A Conversation with Yoweri Kaguta Museveni [Rush transcript; Federal News Service, Inc.]

Speaker: Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President, Uganda
Presiders: Princeton N. Lyman, Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies, Council on Foreign Relations, Steven Radelet, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development, and Leonard H. Robinson, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, The Africa Society
September 21, 2005
Council on Foreign Relations

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The Council on Foreign Relations
Washington, DC

 

PRINCETON LYMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to all of you for a very, very special event this afternoon. And we are very, very pleased to have with us today His Excellency Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda.

Let me please just do a few housekeeping things. First of all, this meeting is on the record. So that’s to be kept in mind. Second, very important: please turn off your cell phones, BlackBerries and all assorted equipment like that, so we can not get interrupted. Third, the president’s on a very tight schedule. We will have to leave—end this program very sharply at 6:00. I would ask that people not leave early, and at the end, please allow the president and his party to depart first, to move on to their next appointment.

So thank you very, very much for that. We’re going to open up and turn on. But let me first say that this is a meeting cosponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Africa Society and the Center for Global Development. You see my colleagues and friends Len Robinson and Steve Radelet. And we’re very, very pleased to be doing this together. Mr. President, you’re so much in demand, we have to have three organizations to sponsor you here.

I won’t take a long time to introduce the president. I think you’re here and this tremendous crowd is here because you’re very well known, Mr. President. But let me just say a few things that distinguishes this gentleman and this leader. Twice in his life he has had to undertake to remove dictatorial and, in some cases, terrible leaders of his country, to free his country from oppression. In 1986 he became the leader of his country. In 1991—no, let me get my numbers straight. In 1996, he ran for president and was elected and was reelected by a large majority in 2001.

Under his leadership, Uganda has become known for a number of very important achievements:

Stability in most of the country.

A turnaround in the economic policies and the performance of the country. It’s become an important model in many ways.

The president confronted the terrible problem of HIV/AIDS, perhaps more so than any other leader up till that time, and turned that situation, that terribly tragic situation, around.

He has also been a leader throughout the region in the many, many complex peace processes that go on.

Mr. President, Chester Crocker, who used to be the assistant secretary of State for Africa, wrote a book with—about Southern Africa, and the subtitle was “Making Peace in a Rough Neighborhood.” You live in a rough neighborhood, Uganda is, and that is, I think, one of the tasks that you face—a terrible tragedy in Rwanda that still reverberates through the region; Sudan, its long civil war; Burundi just coming out of a long, very difficult period; and of course the Democratic Republic of the Congo—plus the difficulties in northern Uganda itself, with the Lord’s Resistance Army.

So as a—Uganda can’t ignore the region, and I know you’ve been a major figure in that regard.

Second, if I may, I saw that just yesterday your parliament sent you a bill that would extend the presidency past two terms. And I you want to make an announcement on your decision on that here—(chuckling)—you can do that. But I know that will be on people’s minds.

Mr. President, I think we’re going to try and keep it as give-and-take as we can in the next few minutes. But I thought it would be best if you would open up for 10 minutes with whatever remarks, et cetera, you want, and then we will throw it open for discussion. You can either do it there or at the podium, whichever you wish, Mr. President.

PRESIDENT YOWERI KAGUTA MUSEVENI: Okay. Thank you.

Is it on?

LYMAN: Yeah.

MUSEVENI: Oh. Chairpersons, and ladies and gentlemen, understanding issues of Africa for outsiders is quite a challenge. This is mainly because there are so many events that have taken place in that continent in recent times.

Therefore, today I would simply limit myself to Uganda and highlight four major achievements which we have attained and then mention two others which we are still targeting.

The first achievement was democracy. Even when we were still fighting in the bush, we introduced elections for the committees in the villages which were under our control. As you may know, we spent many years fighting against the regime of Amin and later on the regime of Obote. These were all characterized by some sort of primitive fascism—killings, extrajudicial killings, mainly—this was the biggest danger, killing people outside the law—plus other very serious human rights violations.

Now during that fight, we started our democratic movement in the villages. When we got into government, we formalized the process of democracy. Initially, we introduced democracy on the basis of individual merit, rather than group merit. Why did we do that? We are taking into account our concrete conditions. The British had fomented very serious sectarianism, Northern Ireland type of sectarianism—Catholics, Protestants, what have you. These were also lines of manipulation by the competing European powers, mainly France, which was trying to manipulate the Catholics, and England, which was trying to manipulate the Protestants in our country. Then we had also Muslims, a smaller group of Muslims.

Now when we came into the government, we had to introduce democracy in such a way that those forms of force polarization did not resurface again, did not come up again. That’s why we introduced democracy on the—based on individual merit. You can vote for anybody, but that—those candidates should present themselves as individuals. This was a deliberate technique to kill the sectarianism.

We have also succeeded in that, and now we have opened up for group competition, so that people can form political parties, because we don’t think that this—the opportunists will succeed in reviving the old sectarianism. We think there’s been enough metamorphosis to shift the country to competition on the basis of issues, rather than your identity.

So this one is the first achievement, democracy.

The second one: minimum economic recovery. We have been able to achieve a minimum economic recovery. By “minimum,” I mean first of all the reformalization of the economy. The economy had been informalized. It was all based on speculation, on smuggling. The revenues were not being collected. There was a black market in foreign currency. So we cured all that.

The economy has been growing at a rate of about 6.3 percent for the last decade and more. So that one is also achieved, the minimum recovery. We have now passed our 1971 GDP level. During the time of Amin, the GDP shrunk by almost 40 percent, but now we have gone back to—we have surpassed the 1971 level of the size of GDP.

The third achievement has been security of person and property. This was a very big issue in Uganda. The state agents were the ones killing people; murders, as I said, extrajudicial killings. Then, there was danger to property. Remember, at one time in 1972, Idi Amin expelled 80,000 Indians and confiscated their 4,000 properties. We have ensured that the security of person and property is guaranteed under the constitution. We even gave back the 4,000 properties of the Indians which had been sequestrated.

The fourth achievement is the long journey in the human resources development field—to develop our human resource, to send all of our children to school, to ensure that they enjoy health. We summarize it in the form of the slogan “Education for all and health for all.”

So these have been achieved, these four, plus you could add a fifth one, the expansion of the infrastructure. The expansion of the infrastructure, the roads, some power and so on.

There are two very strategic aims which we have not yet achieved. One of them is industrialization, to industrialize Uganda, to turn Uganda into an industrial country. You hear so much about poverty in Africa. You see poverty on the screens. As a matter of fact, Africa is not poor. It’s very rich in terms of natural resources. The problem is that those resources are not developed. They are not optimally utilized. The whole continent suffers from the problem of exporting raw materials.

You normally hear that Western governments are aiding Africa. The truth is that Africa is aiding the Western countries. Africans are the donors. How do they donate? How does Uganda donate to Britain, for instance? When you sell a kilo of coffee in Uganda, we’ll get $1 per kilo when we sell bean coffee and process the beans—coffee beans. The same kilogram, when it is processed, it goes for about 10 or $11 or 12 or even more. Therefore, in every kilogram of coffee, Uganda is donating $9 to Britain. (Laughter.) That is the situation for cotton, situation for all raw materials.

Not only is Uganda donating money, but we are also donating jobs, because all those jobs which are being done outside would be done in Uganda when we complete our process of industrialization. This is a big struggle. It’s a big struggle because there are vested interests which don’t want to see Africa industrialized. They’ve put all sorts of obstacles. The aid agencies are indifferent to this. They don’t talk about this. They normally come and they give me conditionalities: You must do that. You must do that. But I’ve never heard anybody who gives me a conditionality of industrializing Uganda. I thought that would have been the first conditionality. Somebody tell me that unless you industrialize Uganda, I will not aid you. I will not support you. I have never heard that. Instead, you hear—it’s all about petty things: You must do this. You must do this. You must do—you know, peripheral issues.

In the past, we had even actual obstacles like there was something they called escalating tariffs. This was abolished about three years ago. This meant that if we exported cocoa bean to Europe or to the United States, you would get zero tariff rate, tax, but if you are arrogant enough to want to make chocolate in Africa, then you would be penalized with very high tariffs. Why were you so audacious as to want to turn cocoa into chocolate in Africa? Africa is for cocoa beans, not for chocolate. This was the message.

Fortunately, in the last few years, because of the campaign we waged, this one has been removed. President Bill Clinton and then President Bush introduced the AGOA, African Growth Opportunity Act, which changed this shameful arrangement. In Christianity we say: Love your neighbor as you love yourself. But in those trading practices, we are not implementing that principle of Christianity. They were implementing the principle of love yourself more than your neighbor and take advantage of your neighbor’s weakness to improve your own condition. So this struggle of industrialization is actually one of the biggest struggles. I’m surprised when I read writings in the newspapers nobody talks about this. They talk about other things, never about this core issue.

We have moved a bit in some of these areas. In fish processing, we have moved—we have water—a number of fish processing factories in Uganda, dairy processing, tea processing, but we have got a long way to go.

The second big strategic goal that we need to achieve is to end the balkanization of Africa, the political balkanization, the political fragmentation of Africa. Here in the North American continent, you have got three countries: Canada, United States and Mexico. In Africa, we are very rich in countries. We have got 53 countries, and those borders are thoroughly irrational. They are part of the program.

We are working with our other partners. There is actually a big movement now in Africa to end this balkanization. We had a special summit recently in Libya of all the African countries, and we were admitting this issue. Two ideas came up. One idea was that we should form an all-Africa continental government. This was being pushed by some leaders. However, another opinion were that no leaders have regional political units. In any case, everybody’s agreed that the status quo in Africa, in terms of the political organization of the continent, is not acceptable. It represents perpetual emasculation of Africa. It means Africa cannot be—cannot guarantee their future. The units are too small individually to do that. So this is one of the pending issues.

Finally, since the chairperson talked about this conflict in northern Uganda, I want to inform you that we have actually ended that conflict. We have defeated that terrorist group. We have been fighting them progressively. Some remnants of them have fled to Congo, and that issue will be closed. The main problem there was—first of all, there was the problem of Sudan, which was backing those people. And we were also fighting Sudan, because we had to defend ourselves. But also then we had another problem of our partners, the donors, at one time put a conditionality on us that we should not spend more than 1.9 percent of GDP on defense. That one also wasted a lot of our time, but eventually we rejected that conditionality, we spent adequately on defense, and we have now been able to solve that problem.

So Mr. Chairperson, Messrs Chairpersons, these are my introductory remarks. I have told you the major achievements we have scored and the outstanding ones which we are still working on.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

LYMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. President, for a most, most important and, I think, in many ways provocative presentation.

Let me turn to my colleague Steven Radelet for perhaps a comment and the first question, if that’s all right with you, Mr. President.

STEVEN RADELET: Thank you, Princeton. And let me extend my welcome to everyone here, and especially to the president.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Uganda many times. I’m actually planning to do that again in early November and looking forward to being there; and most memorably visited with Secretary Paul O’Neill and Bono a few years ago in the magical mystery tour—(laughter)—the odd-couple tour—(laughter)—which I will never, ever forget.

And I’ve had regular communication here in Washington with your wonderful ambassador, who we will miss as she moves on, as she finishes her tenure here. She’s been a great representative for you. And I have thought since I’ve known her, if I was ever in a fight, if I was ever in a debate, boy, I’d sure want her on my side, that’s for sure. She’s a great representative for you and for your government.

Uganda has achieved quite a lot over the last 10 or 15 years, as we know, and some of those achievements have been outlined here. There’s been tremendous economic growth and increases in income. There’s the fight on HIV/AIDS, where with the president’s leadership, Uganda has led the way in being the first country in Africa to actually reduce the HIV prevalence rate among adults.

And the fight on AIDS is important obviously for its impact on Ugandans, but it’s also, interestingly, important in the way that it has changed the relationship between the West and Africa, and in particular changed the relationship between the United States and Uganda, I think, as people here have begun to recognize the importance of the HIV/AIDS issue for Africa and for the United States as well as for Africa. So that is one of the great achievements.

There’s universal primary education that has been achieved in Uganda. And Uganda led the way in foreign aid of pioneering the participatory approach in poverty reduction strategies. Uganda’s Poverty Eradication Action Plan, the PEAP, in 1997 was the forerunner of what is now the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, which are required in almost every country now by the World Bank and the IMF.

So Uganda has led the way in many ways there. But the challenge going forward is to sustain that and to move to the next level—sustain the growth and, as you say, make this transition to industrialization, to continue to create jobs and reduce poverty, to improve health and education.

One of the keys to that is building institutions, which I think we’ve all begun to recognize in the last 10 years is really one of the central components of growth, of building good economic institutions and political institutions, other kinds of institutions. And Uganda has made progress on these institutions and the economic institutions—the Central Bank, the Ministry of Finance—the minister is here today. There’s a fine team and has been a fine team. The macroeconomic policies have been great. There’s been an increase in strong NGOs, the (Aid/AIDS ?) Support Organization, for example, and several others.

But the challenge on building institutions is huge. And while there’s been great progress, much remains to be done. There are issues remaining on levels of corruption, as there are in any countries in Africa, as there is in Washington, D.C, but there’s progress to be made there. There are some institutions where progress has been made but then it’s fallen back. Civil service effectiveness. World Bank surveys recently say up to a third of doctors and teachers sometimes don’t show up. Whether those numbers are accurate or not, I don’t know, but they’re probably indicative of some progress yet to be made.

So my question is, what lessons do you draw from Uganda’s experience in building institutions? And if you had it to do over again over the last five or 10 years, what would you do differently in terms of building these institutions so that they can be sustained and can help Uganda get to that next level of economic development that you have discussed? What is it that you would have liked to have done that you couldn’t do, or what is that you would have done differently?

Once again, thanks for being here. It’s our pleasure to have you here. And we look forward to the rest of the discussion. Thank you.

MUSEVENI: Now, what lessons have we learned in terms of institution building? Institutions are mission determined. An institution is built for a purpose. Many of the institutions are common to many countries. They are the pillars of state. State means organized authority over a piece of territory. That’s what we call a state. Now, that state needs certain pillars. The most important pillars of a state are the armed forces—you must have an army. When you hear that a country is a failed state, like Somalia, like Congo, like—a failed state, it means it has no army. That’s the primary institution.

Now, this issue is not, sometimes, well understood in countries which have been stable for a long time. They take the army for granted. When you have no army in a country, you can know that you are in for disaster.

The second pillar is the judiciary, somebody to arbitrate between us once we are in conflict. If I quarrel with my neighbor, who arbitrates? The third pillar are the political institutions—the parliament, the local government, the municipalities. The fourth institution is the civil service, departments and staff of the government.

Now, the way we started was these institutions were there, but they were colonial institutions. They were being manned by the British. Now, when the British left—during the time of colonialism, you had a dual system. You had the body of these institutions minus political institutions. There were no political institutions during the time of the British. They had no parliament, but other institutions were there. The army was there, the civil service.

The body of those institutions were Africans; the brain were the British. Once the British left, they took away the brains, and we remained with a body. And those bodies stand on us, started eating us. The army was killing us, the police was killing us, the civil service was looting us. Everything was against us. So the citizens now had to rise up and get rid of these colonial institutions, especially the army, because the army was the vanguard of all this problem. We got rid of the colonial army and built a new army. That’s where we started.

The other institutions we inherited, like the civil service we inherited, the judiciary we inherited. And because they were tainted with the past record, some of them are not so good. But we have been revamping them slowly, and now we are able to actually rebuild them because now we have got a large catchment of our young people who have done, you know, studies, master’s degrees and so on, a very large number, who can be converted to man these institutions so that they perform well.

So therefore, to answer your question, the process of building institutions in that type of mixed situation—a situation mixed partly with underdevelopment, partly with decolonization, partly with dictatorship because there was no democracy during the colonial time, there was no democracy before colonialism—is quite challenging, but I think we have done it, or have been doing it well. I don’t think we could have moved faster. This is the maximum we could do.

We reformed the army. Recently we have reformed the Uganda Revenue Authority so that we can collect money. Before that, the Revenue Authority was—they were collecting for themselves. When we came into government, they were collecting only 4 percent of GDP in taxes. In other countries—I’m referring to a country like yours here—they may be collecting as much as 35 percent of GDP in taxes. But for those criminals, we are collecting only 4 percent of GDP; so they were just collecting for themselves. And that’s why sometimes we bother you to come here and ask for aid—(laughter)—because our thieves are under-collecting our own revenue.

We managed to push revenue collection from 4 percent of GDP to about 12 percent of GDP, then it stagnated there. And I discovered that the main problem were these—the people were in that Revenue Authority. We have now revamped it, and it’s going up. If we get bout 22 percent of GDP, we shall not need to disturb anybody with the asking for aid.

So you can see that I have made revenue collection a frontline institution because it is the one which can emancipate us from begging, from disturbing friends. Instead of coming here to bother you “give me this, give me this,” I shall come here to greet you and trade with you, not to come to ask for support. But the main problem was these thieves; they were not collecting for the country.

So, the lessons—I think our lessons are unique. Actually, the people who can learn from us are countries like Somalia, which have worse problems—Somalia, Congo—because we were able to build from a totally collapsed state to where we are now. I don’t think there’s anything we would have learned faster because it was really—it’s difficult to work because you must have educated people. In some of these institutions, you need educated people, and you don’t only need educated people—you need the ones who are educated, but also clean, not tainted. You may not get both of those qualities together. Somebody may be educated, but he’s a thief. So it’s quite a challenge and it is patience work. And that’s why I was telling some of the people I met here, if they want to help, they should invest in some of the civil service training centers to train—to get educated people and train them as civil servants. It would be very helpful, because that’s part of capacity-building.

Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

LYMAN: Leonard?

LEONARD ROBINSON: Good afternoon. Princeton has already put the clock on me, so I’m going to have to be very quick, Mr. President, and, unfortunately, skip my preamble. But before I do that, let me say that—(laughter)—we at the Africa Society are very, very honored and pleased to co-host this with Princeton and his colleagues of the Council on Foreign Relations and with the Center for Global Development. We hope that we can do more of these in the future.

I also want to say, Mr. President, that one of Uganda’s most honored and productive citizens—Edith Ssempala—has served you and your government extremely well in Washington. In the State Department, in our system, ambassadors—three years max. We would love to keep her forever.

Mr. President, your popularity among the people of Uganda is really quite something to behold, as my colleague, Bernadette (sp) and I witnessed firsthand two years ago, in following you around the country of Uganda as we toured with the Discovery film crew in producing “Uganda: The Presidential Tour.”

What, then, Mr. President, does the future portend for Uganda, especially in 2006, the next presidential and national elections? You have an interesting dilemma, I believe, to deal with. The general population, I believe, would be elated to see you run for a third term. However, the opposition, and some donors in the international community, are openly opposed, if not hostile, to you running again. Some donors, in fact, have even threatened to cut off economic assistance to Uganda if you should decide to run. How then, Mr. President, do you reconcile these two opposing forces—the will and desire of the people of Uganda versus the international community?

Thank you.

MUSEVENI: In Uganda we do not really have serious political problems for a long time, ever since 1993 when we held the first direct elections. We had elections as soon as the movement came into government, but they were indirect elections. We didn’t have resources to hold direct elections until 1993 when we held elections for the Constituent Assembly. These were one person/one vote by separate ballot.

Since that time, we have held many elections—national elections, local government elections, municipality elections. And the people in Uganda are very satisfied with what is going on.

Recently we persuaded them to vote in a referendum to open the political space for those who want to form other parties. Although the population did not like the idea of bringing back the parties—because for them they think of the old parties, which were sectarian—they listened to us and voted overwhelmingly to open the politics.

So the sort of scare and concern which we hear people outside expressing, and we—is not really well understood by us, because for us, we are moving very harmoniously with the people.

The question of who is fronted by the political parties would be according to the objectives of our struggle at this phase, at this moment. We shall have to see which people can help us to go forward, because we have got definite goals.

When we were fighting in the resistance, we needed fighters. They were the ones on the front line. Recently, when we were launching these minimum recovery programs, we needed a certain type of people. In the coming phase, we shall need a certain type of people. And these types of people would be identified in the movement—in our case, in the Movement National Conference. We shall sit down, look at the mission, look at the challenges ahead and decide what to do.

And we are very capable people, as you know. We are not really incapable. I would be surprised that we can fail to decide correctly what we should do next.

So I think our friends abroad should be less paranoiac about the stereotypes which there (is, it’s true ?). Our movement is not like that.

All the challenges we have dealt with, we have dealt with according to our own analysis. I hear so much praise for us about AIDS and so on, how we—who told us to fight AIDS in the way we did it? I don’t remember anybody even knew what to do. But we knew what to do, because we knew—we know our society. We know—we know what we need. We sit down with our people. Like when we confronted AIDS, we had thorough, thorough discussions among ourselves, among the population, among the scientists, and then we decided what to do. We took a totally new line which other people did not think about. And as you see, it served us well.

Even this method of movement, structure, where we used—I used to debate with a number of people—I can see one of the people here, Vivian Derryck—she could not understand why we were using this individual merit for a long time, as the basis of competition. But for us, we know why, and it has helped us. And it’s very popular.

So there is here a discrepancy in perception. I don’t know how this one can be bridged. Maybe more dialogue with you will eventually convince you that really—in the case of Uganda, once the people are in (charge ?)—I think, for me, the litmus paper test if you want to find out whether something is correct or not—let the people decide on it, either in a referendum or in a general election. Then you will be able to know that a—that this is right or wrong, because otherwise, what other yardstick do you have? You are likely to make mistakes if you take in any other—any other route.

In 1971, when Idi Amin came to power, we were alone in opposing Idi Amin. Many of the Western countries were actually supporting Idi Amin. Israel was supporting Idi Amin. The United States here was supporting Idi Amin. Especially Britain was supporting Idi Amin. And we opposed Idi Amin alone, until later, when Amin’s viciousness dawned on the world. That’s when some of them changed to our side.

Then Amin jumped from the Western camp. He went to the Eastern camp, to the Russians, to Qadhafi, to the Palestinians. And we opposed him all the same.

So for us, we don’t even know what the problem is, the argument—the opposition—for the opposition, those ones, those ones, I know why they are worried. Many of them have made little mistakes. Many of them are tainted. They are sort of traitors, really, because when we were fighting the dictatorships, they were collaborating with the dictatorships or indifferent to the dictatorships. That was the situation. You know, people who collaborated with Hitler—I don’t think they have recovered from the trauma of supporting Hitler or being indifferent to Hitler.

This is the same situation in our case. There are those groups which are now tainted. So that’s why they are worried. They are making a noise because they know that the verdict of the people will not be in their favor.

But for us, we have no problem. And I would recommend to the—our partners abroad to know that Uganda is in capable hands. And who are the capable hands? The people of Uganda. Those people are not very foolish. They have survived many storms. They know who is a liar. They know who is a charlatan. They know who is reliable. They know evil. They can tell evil from good. I think you should trust those people. That’s my own view. (Applause.)

LYMAN: Because we only have a few minutes—and I apologize for that—I’m going to take two or three questions in a row and then let the president finish up with those. So if I can start with the lady right on the aisle, right here.

QUESTIONER: (Without microphone.) Georgie Anne Geyer—

LYMAN: Take the—

QUESTIONER: Georgie Anne Geyer, Universal Press Syndicate. Mr. President, welcome. I remember our wonderful interview in May—

MUSEVENI: Yes. (Chuckles.)

QUESTIONER:—in Kampala. (Chuckles.)

MUSEVENI: Yes.

QUESTIONER: And thank you for being here.

But you didn’t—you still didn’t answer his question about whether you’re going to run for a third term. Have you made a decision?

MUSEVENI: Oh—

LYMAN: Well, let’s take two or three questions.

MUSEVENI: Okay. Okay.

LYMAN: I’ll let you think on that one before you make your announcement. (Laughter.)

Harriet, right there. The lady in the pink, right there.

QUESTIONER: Harriet Hinches (sp), a consultant on private sector and economic development. The World Bank has just put out a ranking of the countries, 155 countries, and the ease of doing business, and Uganda was ranked 72 out of 155. I wonder if you could comment on your plans in addressing this issue, but also to address what conversations you’ve had with other African leaders on this issue, because Africa as a whole ranked quite low, and the overhang that this puts on economic development, both externally and internally, is significant.

LYMAN: We’ll take one more question. Back there at the very end, very back.

QUESTIONER: Welcome, Mr. President. Two questions, if I could, sir. First of all—

LYMAN: Just one, because we only have two minutes.

QUESTIONER: All right. Human Rights Watch is accusing your army of abusing civilians in northern Uganda. What is your response to that? That’s a simple question.

LYMAN: Okay.

Well, Mr. President, I’m going to give you the last word on all of those questions. I apologize that we can’t take more.

MUSEVENI: Now, will Museveni run for a third term? That is not Museveni’s assignment. The assignment is with the people—with the movement people. The movement people will be the ones who sit in their—you know, I think here there is a problem, because you fought a revolution many years ago, under Washington, and maybe you have forgotten some of the revolutionary principles. I am not working for myself. I have never worked for myself. I’m not in leadership to do anything for myself. Whatever we do is because of the demand of the population. Whatever we do, in the public domain.

I have got my own private things to do. I have got my ranches, I have got, you know, a lot of things I can do privately. But we went into the public arena because of the big gap that was there. And anything that we shall do hereafter or we’ve been doing hitherto is what the people need, what the country needs.

So this question, you direct it to the National Conference of the movement, say, “Who would you select to be your presidential candidate?” They are the ones who can answer that. But I cannot stand here and say I will be the one to present myself. Why should I? Suppose they have got different ideas? Why should I force myself on them?

I think we are turning this issue upside down. Maybe that is how politics is done in the West, but in the movement, we don’t do—especially for the leading candidate, it should not be him who should say “I want” or “I should be.” It should be the movement which should say, “This is the mission; you are the one who can help us achieve this mission.” That should be the procedure, in my opinion.

Now, regarding the ranking, Uganda’s ranking, yes, we still have problems because of the infrastructure, but I’m glad that Uganda is 72, because that means we are not—(laughter)—we are not on the bottom. And it also means that if a teenager is five feet, nine inches, then you know that he will soon be six feet, three inches because he is growing. What was Uganda’s position before? Maybe you know, but I think it was a bit lower than that in the immediate past. So I am glad that Uganda is moving. Now, with the improving infrastructure, improving energy costs, energy infrastructure, we are going to move up, to 60, to 50, to 40. So I am glad that we are moving.

Are the civilians being abused by the army in the north? If there is abuse, we will punish those who commit the abuse. We are very, very strict. We normally punish soldiers who misbehave.

Finally, Mr. Robinson talked about corruption. I have been exchanging views with friends here, and I’ve been telling them that the fight against corruption is similar to a war. In order to defeat corruption, we need soldiers to fight that corruption. Corruption means three things—embezzlement of public funds, briberies—bribery for contracts, and abuse of—nepotism in office.

The soldiers to help us fight that war are five, and I wish our partners could remember this. The first soldier is the permanent secretary in the ministry, who is the accounting officer, who controls the money and controls contracts. The second soldier is the auditor, the one who comes to audit the money in case the money is lost. The third soldier is the CID, to investigate in case money is stolen and be able to make a file for prosecution. The fourth soldier is the prosecutor, the one who will take a case in court and prosecute the thief. And the final soldier is the judge, the one who would adjudicate and send a thief to jail or recover the money.

So if we could have a structured way of looking at corruption, knowing that we need certain ingredients to be in place in order to fight corruption, I think it would help us, rather than having an emotional aversion to corruption but without knowing how to confront it. This is how I’m confronting it in Uganda, by dealing with those five players. They’re the ones who will help us to get rid of corruption. In the same way as we use the army to stop the killings, stop the looting of people’s property, we now need these types of soldiers, the five of them.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

LYMAN: I want to thank you very much. Before we close, I want to recognize Nancy Roman, the vice president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who did so much to make this evening possible. (Applause.)

I want to thank you all for being here. I want to remind you that we’re going to allow the president and his party to leave first. But I would like you to give a warm, warm round of applause to the president for an absolutely wonderful presentation.

(Applause.)

 

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