President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda said the admission of Somalia into the East African Community (EAC), will boost the efforts of the regional bloc to ensure the prosperity and strategic security of its people.
Museveni, who was a witness at the signing ceremony of the treaty of accession by Somalia at State House Entebbe, re-echoed the logic behind East African integration saying strategic security is top on the agenda.
“How can we be secure from what’s happening in the world? Can Uganda alone be secure in the world? Even if Uganda becomes a developed country, can it really be secure against countries like America and China? Suppose China decides to become an imperialist power. They’re developing now, and they don’t have a lot of resources inside China. Suppose they’re saying, We are too many here; some of us should go to Africa; how can we defend ourselves?” Museveni noted.
Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and his South Sudan counterpart, Gen. Salva Kiir Mayardit, who is also chair of the EAC Summit of Heads of State, attended the event.
Somalia was last month admitted to the East African Community, making it the eighth member of the bloc. The country’s admission into the community was approved by the region’s leaders during the 23rd ordinary summit of the heads of state held on November 24 in Arusha, Tanzania.
President Museveni further revealed that since 1968, Somalia has wanted to be part of the East African Community through its Prime Minister, Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal. Still, the process hit a deadlock due to the instabilities in the region at that time.
“In 1968, they had a very clever Prime Minister called Mohamed Egal who came to Arusha, and he wanted to join the East African community, but here we still had the problem of Idi Amin, which we later solved, and that’s how we were able to be part of the solution. I welcome you to Uganda, your home, and I congratulate Somalia,” Museveni said, adding that Somalia has since been part of the community, describing its accession as a baptism ceremony.
“Somalia is already part of the community. I’m sure if you go to Mogadishu now, you will find goods in the shops from Kenya and even from Uganda. So, what is happening now is just a baptism of what has already happened on the ground.” Museveni added.