President Yoweri Museveni has told the ongoing Southern African Development Community (SADC) Solidarity Conference on Western Sahara that Morocco must be told firmly that aggression towards Western Sahrawi must stop.
“As our freedom fighting beliefs we had certain beliefs. We have a Swahili saying: If somebody makes a mistake which is easy to solve, we say makosa mistake. However, what Morocco did was not an oddly mistake. It was Ikyi nikipendo kya adui (this is an enemy action). This is not an ordinary mistake. It is an action that can only be done by the enemy and must stop. Only the enemy can behave like this, knowing that when we all fight over borders, Africa will disappear,” he said.
The President was yesterday speaking alongside several heads of state and governments at the SADC conference on Western Sahara in Pretoria, South Africa. The 38th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC approved the convening of a Conference on Solidarity with the Sahrawi people.
South Africa and Namibia are co-hosting the conference it with Western Sahara.
“We should be firm. At first Morocco said they had left us, we said okay for us we shall stay. During anti-colonialist struggles, sometimes people fear to be divided. Sometimes being divided is good. Why force people to unite if they do not want to? Sometimes unity can bring disease. When somebody is sick and the other healthy, if you force them to unite you kill both. We have been divided before. We had the Casablanca group and Monrovia group. Our elders were divided, but fortunately they formed the African Union based on very strong principles in a very clever way,” he said.
“They formed a liberation committee of nine to liberate Africa, even when some of these were not serious. I do not want to recommend an approach of total division. We should not form a liberation committee now or a group of front line states, but Morocco must be told firmly,” he said.
Museveni said during a panel chaired by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and attended by Hage Gottfried Geingob (Namibia), Brahim Ghali, (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and Emmerson Mnangagwa (Zimbabwe) that Africa was colonised because of internal weaknesses, including bulkanisation.
“Small kingdoms fighting one another. People who were colonised, many did not survive. In North America and South America same story. In Africa, we survived because we were not dying easily. We survived in spite of slave trade, colonialism, genocide, among others. We survived and struggled and eventually got independence because of many factors. When we got independence our leaders who met in Addis Ababa in 1963 took a wise decision and formed the African Union. They said please let us leave colonial borders the way they are. They are nonsensical. Do not make sense, not rational, but if you try to change them, Africa would be permanently at war,” he said.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, cohost of the conference, described the gathering of leaders as a “historic act of solidarity”.
“Gathered here today are men and women of conscience. Your presence here sends the clearest message that we are with the people of Western Sahara,” he stated.
Namibian President Hage Geingob, the current chair of the SADC bloc, referred to Western Sahara as Africa’s “last colony”.
“The international community should continue to support efforts aimed at resolving once and for all the question of Western Sahara, the last colony on the continent, to hold a free and fair referendum to determine their destiny,” Geingob said.