Kampala, Uganda | URN | Like many suspected, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has revealed he is the force behind the agreement between the Government and the Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited, daring anyone to take him on.
Speaking at Kololo ceremonial grounds on Sunday 9, October 2022 as the country celebrated its 60th independence anniversary, Mr Museveni said he will not tolerate anybody who stands in his way as he tries to get investors to add value to Ugandan coffee.
In February this year, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija signed an agreement with, Enrica Pinetti, an Italian investor to construct an $80 million coffee processing factory in Uganda.
The coffee agreement drew strong opposition from a section of Ugandans especially those involved in the coffee value chain, saying it was bad for Ugandan farmers. Parliament later passed a resolution urging the government to walk away from the agreement because it was disadvantaging Uganda as it grants Vinci a monopoly to exporting Uganda’s coffee.
However, Mr Museveni said Sunday 9th those opposed to the Vinci coffee deal are the real enemies of Uganda’s progress and that they must be fought and defeated. Pinetti showed up for the celebrations as President Museveni’s special guest.
“These achievements have been in spite of the stiff opposition we have been facing from the parasites and their foreign backers such as The Monitor newspaper. Take an example on the 22 of May 2022, it said: “Coffee deal stinks but key culprits will not be punished.” Key culprit is myself. I’m here, am abundant here, let me see who can dare touch me. I’m the promoter of the coffee value addition, nobody else. It’s me Yoweri Museveni… In other words, Museveni is committing a crime by trying to add value to coffee,” said President Museveni.
Mr Museveni said that although Uganda is celebrating 60 years of independence, the 24 years before his National Resistance Movement (NRM) shot its way into power were wasted with nothing tangible to show for it in terms of changing people’s way of life.
He noted that after the NRM came to power in 1986, that’s when the country started on a proper journey to economic, social, and political transformation, which has been driven by four major principles of patriotism, Pan-Africanism, social-economic transformation, and democracy.
Mr Museveni enumerated the successes that have so far been achieved ever since he shot his way to power, arguing that if it was not for the interruptions by myopic political leaders and technocrats, the country would have achieved more than what is currently obtaining.
He called for the speedy unification of Africa starting with regional blocks such as the East African Community (EAC), as the only way that the continent will compete globally. On the thorny issue of the construction of the East African Crude Pipeline (EACOP) that the European Parliament, in a resolution, said should be halted, Museveni said he will not take lessons from European imperialists.
“Recently there was yet another manifestation of imperialistic arrogance and hegemonism by elements in the European Parliament whereby they decreed from Brussels that the East African Crude Oil Pipeline should not continue until those arrogant actors permit us to do so. Parasitic elements from that part of the world have been causing problems for Africans and the world for the last 1000 years. The liberation of South Africa should have marked the end of imperialistic arrogance in the affairs of the former colonies. The patriotic forces in the world and in Uganda are much stronger and very capable in all directions,” Mr Museveni said.
He assured the people of East Africa that there is no need to worry that any actor will delay the oil project, saying if anybody does, they will decisively deal with them using the relevant laws. Museveni added that even when it’s true that the world has started moving away from fossil fuels, Uganda’s oil will still be useful as it is used in many other aspects other than as a form of energy.
The independence celebrations were limited to only a few selected guests. President Museveni said this was due to the yet-to-end COVID-19 pandemic and the Ebola virus reported in some parts of the country.