President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said that he is the force behind the agreement between the government and the Uganda Vinci Coffee Company Limited warning that he is ready to fight anybody who tries to stop it.
Speaking at Kololo Ceremonial grounds on Sunday as the country celebrated its 60th independence anniversary, 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 US Dollars coffee processing factory in Uganda.
The coffee agreement drew strong opposition from several 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.
However, Museveni says those opposed to the 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 Museveni’s special guest.
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.
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,” 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. Museveni said this was due to the yet-to-end Covid-19 pandemic and the Ebola virus reported in some parts of the country.