By PPU Reporter
CAPE TOWN. The success of businesses in Africa is important because it has a direct role in ending polarisation and causing sustainable peace, President Museveni has said.
The President, who is accompanied by First Lady Janet, made the remarks today (Wednesday) at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, where he was part of a panel discussion on the theme “Towards Peace”.
The discussion at the Cape Town International Convention Centre was moderated by Borge Brende, the president of the World Economic Forum.
President Museveni noted that businesses were capable of transforming Africa from its current vertical pre-capitalist setting, which is pre-occupied by tribe and other identity issues, to a horizontal system dominated by interests.
“Thriving businesses cause social transformation which changes society. When you have a big middle class dominated by employers and employees, issues become different. Discussion now becomes about salaries, working hours, making them horizontal,” said the President.
“Business therefore is part of durable peace-building. You cannot maintain a pre-capitalist structure of society and think that you will have peace,” he added.
Citing the French Revolution and the Renaissance, President Museveni said even the West had only transformed after it had dealt with the peasantry societies, replacing them with the middle class.
“You must have a middle class, it is more cosmopolitan than tribes, which are parochial. If you are herding goats, you only need one hill but if I am producing motorcycles, I need the whole of East Africa. Business will consolidate peace,” he observed, leaving the audience in stitches.
JUST & UNJUST WARS
Earlier, asked by the moderator about what Africa could do to avoid conflicts in the future, President Museveni said it was first of all critical to understand the causes of the conflicts.
Africa, said the President, had experienced both just and unjust wars and making the distinction in their discussion was paramount.
“Between 1952 and 1994, Africa mainly had just wars. We were fighting for independence and democracy. From the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya in 1952 to the fight against minority rule in Southern Africa, these were just wars because Africans were dealing with situations not solvable by peaceful means,” said the President.
Mr Museveni said Africa today, however, was mainly dealing with “unjust wars caused by the ideological problem of emphasising identity (tribes, religion) instead of interests”.
“You find people fighting because they are Muslims or Christians or because of their tribes. This is pseudo-ideology causing false polarisation,” he said.
The modern person, according to President Museveni, is interested in prosperity and this is made possible by trade, which is rarely facilitated by tribe, which instead many times works as a hindrance.
“Wars therefore premised on identity must be condemned because they are ideologically bankrupt. They are criminal wars,” he said.
President Museveni also observed that the conflicting groups must be challenged about their motives, saying that even if peace was to be obtained, it must be “principled” and not just because one warring party had been overwhelmed.
A CASE FOR WOMEN
The other panelists in the discussion were Sahlework Zewde, Ethiopia’s President, Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Sipho Pityana, chairman of Anglo-Gold Ashanti and Susanna Moorehead, the chair of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Development.
President Zewde in her remarks made a case for involvement of women in peace-building, saying they bear the greatest brunt of conflict.
“Women should not just be victims, they should be part of the solution. We have seen that where women are involved at the table of conflict resolution, things move faster. We must continue making this happen,” she said.
The World Economic Forum on Africa, which runs till Friday, is being held under the general theme of “Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. President Museveni is among the dozen African leaders gracing the summit.
I will pursue Bank of Uganda to the end; if I die, my son will take over- Dr. Sudhir vows
“Nobody has been in the past been able to win Central Bank – they have stolen 7 different banks and not accounted to any shareholder and this is the unfortunate part of the whole scenario. You take somebody’s assets, you steal it, you profit from it and you don’t account for it; this is so ridiculous! Then, they sued for $100 Million; the money they stole, they are suing me for it. How?” he wondered.
Pictorial: How Meera Investments is changing Kampala’s skyline
Today, Meera Investments, the property development arm of the Ruparelia Group officially inaugurates their Electrical Plaza, the latest addition to their mixed use building portfolio in the city centre.
Since 1994, Meera has been part of a number of innovative property solutions in mainly, the commercial and residential space and today owns sectors and to date owns over 300 properties in Kampala and other major towns like Mukono, Jinja, Mbale and Mbarara.
The company, according to its Chairman and founder, Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, is the largest developer of commercial and residential properties and also owns the largest number of ongoing real estate projects. It is also the largest private owner of commercial land in Kampala.
Meera Investments Limited was in 2017/18 rated as a top rental income taxpayer by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) while Dr. Sudhir Ruparelia, the Chairman/Managing Director of Meera Investments, was rated the second biggest individual rental income taxpayer.
Over the last 3-4 years, the company has been on a construction spree, raising several properties across Kampala, which have both redefined city architecture and changed both Kampala’s skyline, as well as the look and feel of the Kampala City.
Today, we revisit and review some of those projects, especially those developed over the last 3-4 years
“The development of SGR isn’t behind schedule at all as far as harmonization agreement is concerned,” Says Coordinator
” The Standard Gauge Railway was adopted in 2014, by the East Africa Presidents who launched the multitrillion project meant to modernise the traditional railway transport system geared towards boosting economic growth by facilitating a faster movement of goods across borders. “
The SGR Coordinator, Canon Perez Wamburu while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday to respond to audit queries raised in the 2017/2018 audit report that raised concerns over the delays in implementation of the perceived regional railway, he affirmed that Uganda is on schedule for the construction despite compensating only 11% compensation of the project affected persons within three years.
His remarks were in response to a call by some MPs like Theodore Ssekikuubo (Lwemiyaga County) who questioned why taxpayers have to continue funding the team in charge of SGR yet no single kilometer of the railway has been constructed, five years from the time it was launched in 2014.
Ssekikuubo said, “We are incurring nugatory expenditure on this white elephant. Is it about time we launched the standard gauge railway. After a decade of the launch, not even one kilometer has been put on ground. Kenya has already started on its side, ours was launched at a hotel in Munyonyo, it has remained there, dead and buried there unless the contrary is proved, are we as a country right to continue appropriating money to a non-starting project.”
In response, Wamburu said, “We agreed that Kenya and Uganda arrive at Malaba at the same time. The development of SGR isn’t behind schedule at all as far as harmonization agreement is concerned. Uganda SGR isn’t late at all.”
The Standard Gauge Railway was adopted in 2014, by the East Africa Presidents who launched the multitrillion project meant to modernise the traditional railway transport system geared towards boosting economic growth by facilitating a faster movement of goods across borders.
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya flagged off the maiden passenger train on the newly completed Mombasa-Nairobi SGR in March 2017 and although Uganda had promised to start construction in June 2015, but three years down the road, Government is yet to complete funding negotiations with Exim Bank China.
On Uganda’s side, project is to cost USD2.8Bn approximately, of this, Exim Bank will bring on board USD2.3Bn which represents 85%, while the remaining 15% will be footed by Ugandan tax payers.
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