President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni urged world leaders to prioritize common human problems, economic prosperity, scientific advancement, environmental stewardship, and the fight against crime and terrorism, rather than divisive ideologies. His remarks came today January 19, 2024, as Uganda assumed the chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) during the ongoing 19th NAM Heads of State and Government summit at Speke Resort Convention Center in Munyonyo.
President Museveni, who was elected chair of the 19th NAM Summit, emphasized that these ideas align with the Bandung Principles upon which NAM was founded. He highlighted Uganda’s success in blending the free market with selective state intervention in key sectors like banking, energy, and transport. By incorporating aspects of pre-capitalist institutions, such as reformed cultural institutions, Uganda has achieved an impressive annual growth rate of 6.2% over the last 37 years. The President firmly believes that nations should form free associations based on common interests and shared origins for mutual benefit.
“The future is bright if we act right,” he said.
Expressing his concern, President Museveni criticized certain countries and actors for using scientific advancements as tools of oppression. He warned against imposing narrow ideologies on society or the world, emphasizing that the oppressed will eventually rise and overcome their oppressors. The President firmly stated that the concept of empires is inherently evil and will inevitably collapse.
“The oppressed will learn, catch up, and defeat the oppressor. That is why Empires always collapse. The idea of Empires is an evil idea,” President Museveni stated.
Furthermore, President Museveni proposed that NAM leverage its collective strength to exert significant influence, particularly within the United Nations, towards achieving transformative change for a better future.
The Azerbaijan Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E Jeyhun Bayramov, congratulated Uganda on assuming the NAM chairmanship, assuring the country of Azerbaijan’s full support. He acknowledged Azerbaijan’s efforts during their term, including promoting the interests of member states internationally, fostering solidarity, and combating challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
In another significant development, H.E Bayramov revealed that at the Ministerial meeting held in Baku in July 2023, NAM member states agreed to endorse South Sudan’s request for full membership in the movement. South Sudan’s admission, the first expansion of NAM membership in 13 years, will bring the total number of member states to 121.
As President Museveni takes the helm of NAM, he envisions a future where global unity and cooperation prevail over divisive ideologies. With Uganda’s chairmanship, NAM aims to build upon previous achievements, strengthen the development prospects of member states, and foster unity among them.