World Leaders at the UN General Assembly & What they Said in the General Debate in 2007

General Assembly BookAfter a series of preparatory meetings and summits, the Charter of
the United Nations was signed at San Francisco, USA, on June 26,
1945.  On October 24, 1945, the Charter was ratified and the United
Nations was born.

The General Assembly which is one of the six principal organs is the
deliberative arm of the United Nations open to all member states, now
192. One of its strengths is that each member has one vote irrespective
of size and level of economic development.

Every September, world leaders convene in New York City the
headquarters of the United Nations to address the General Assembly in a
General Debate. The debate covers a wide range of issues in peace and
security, human rights and development. Most of the decisions of the
General Assembly are recommendations to member states. However, because
of the moral authority of the United Nations, some of the
recommendations have been vital in the establishment of new
international guidelines. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human
Rights which started as a General Assembly resolution became the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
which is characterized as a crime under international law.

Uganda’s Development Agenda in the 21st Century & Related Regional Issues

Europeans visited the areas that later became Uganda, they were amazed by the
variety of cultivated and wild foodstuffs and a wide range of manufacturing
activities. Surplus food and manufactured products were exchanged in local and
regional markets. Thus, pre-colonial comparative advantage served Uganda’s
needs very well.

visitors were also struck by the vitality, eagerness and intelligence of
Ugandans. Winston Churchill remarked that Ugandans were “different from
anything elsewhere to be seen in the whole range of Africa”. He called Uganda
“the Pearl of Africa”.

developments since the start of the 20th century have undermined
Uganda’s development potential. Ugandans were compressed into producers of raw
materials according to colonial comparative advantage and the manufacturing sector
collapsed. Because foreign earnings from primary exports have not been enough,
Uganda has become dependent on foreign aid and remittances.

Globalization and de-industrialization in Uganda

is not a poor country at all. It never has been. It is endowed with a wide
range of natural resources and resilient people. But Uganda is an impoverished
country with many impoverished people due in part to its incorporation into the
global economy as a dependent member. It is among some 50 countries in the
world that are categorized as least developed, meaning that the majority of the
people in these countries do not meet the basic needs of food, shelter,
clothing, health care and education.

has neither benefited from the globalization phase of the late 19th century (1870-1914) nor of the late 20th century (1970s to the
present). The main pillar of globalization is openness that promotes trade,
investment, financial and service flows across national borders.


Different policies producing similar outcomes in South Africa and Uganda

Ugandans and non-Ugandans are concerned about the way Uganda is being governed
under the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government. They are increasingly voicing their opinions
through writing and debating. They should be encouraged to do so hoping that
the authorities will listen, hear what is being said and take appropriate
corrective action. Or they should present their point of view and convince
those with different opinions. The authorities should avoid resorting to intimidation
and harassment to silence dissenting voices.

so would violate the right of expression as contained in Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly in 1948 which states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of
opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without
interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any
media and regardless of frontiers”.


Understanding and resolving conflict in the Great Lakes Region

understand and resolve conflicts in the Great Lakes Region will begin by a
professional and unbiased analysis of the history of the region. For a better
understanding of the challenges, we shall add the Eastern part of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the traditional Great Lakes Areas of
Burundi, Rwanda, North Western Tanzania and Western Uganda (former Ankole
District and Rujumbura county in Rukungiri District).

region is inhabited by three groups: Batwa, the smallest group,
Bahima/Banyamulenge/Batutsi/Bahororo (used interchangeably) and Bairu/Bahutu
(used interchangeably), the largest group. The Batwa have lived in the region
since time immemorial as hunters and food gatherers. They consider themselves
the indigenous people of the region who are being pushed into extinction.


The Uganda NRM Has Created

National Resistance Movement (NRM) under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni
captured state power in 1986 through the barrel of the gun after a devastating
five-year guerrilla war. Since 1971
Uganda had gone through unprecedented fifteen years of political, economic,
social, human rights and environmental crisis. Even wild animals in national parks
could not survive and had to migrate to safe havens in neighboring countries!

still in the bush the NRM had carefully studied what the people of Uganda needed
from a new government. They skillfully drafted a ten-point program later
expanded to fifteen points capturing the sentiments and aspirations of Ugandans
– young and old, men and women, Protestants, Catholics and Muslims, commoners
and royal families.


Starving Uganda’s children to earn foreign exchange

25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed the right to
adequate food as an indispensable element of the right of everyone. Article 6
(2) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child proclaimed that States Parties
shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the
Child. The Convention included specific
provisions for the protection of children in areas of armed conflict.

constitution of Uganda (1995) requires that “The state shall take appropriate
steps to encourage people to grow and store adequate food; establish national
food reserves; and encourage and promote proper nutrition through mass
education and other appropriate means in order to build a healthy state”. And
the Uganda Children’s Statute of 1996 gives children under the age of 18 the
right to adequate diet.


External Involvement in Uganda’s Economy

Pre-colonial comparative advantages enabled communities in Eastern and Central Africa to produce surplus agricultural and manufactured products that were exchanged in local and regional markets to meet their needs.

Colonial regimes changed these mutually reinforcing and complementary arrangements. The colonial comparative advantage demanded that all African countries specialize in the production of raw materials for export in exchange for manufactured products from the metropolitan countries such as Britain, France and Belgium.

In Uganda as elsewhere pre-colonial manufacturing enterprises were outcompeted by imports and disappeared. The production of cotton, coffee, tea and tobacco for export took away Uganda’s fertile land and economically active labor particularly of male workforce from the production of balanced food for domestic consumption.


External Involvement in Uganda’s Politics

Uganda became an
independent nation on
October 9,
. The pre-independence political process involved many
Ugandans representing different interest groups. The colonial administration
worked closely with the
Protestant Church throughout
the colonial period, giving the latter political leverage as most
administrators came from that church.

The Catholics who had been marginalized
organized themselves into a political party – the Democratic Party (DP) with
the intention of wrestling political power from Protestants who later formed
their own political party – the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) that formed an
alliance with the Kabaka Yekka (KY) of
Buganda kingdom
Protestants to deny DP gaining political power.

It is believed that the colonial
administration and the Church of England played a role in handing power over to
the UPC/KY alliance under the leadership of Milton Obote. The British
government decided that Milton Obote was the best man to lead the country, and
steered power into his hands (Walter Oyugi et al, 1988 and Trevor Lloyd, 2001).


Explaining Uganda’s Population Explosion

Many commentators – experts and non-experts – have rushed to the conclusion that Uganda cannot develop and become a middle class economy and society unless it drastically curbs its ‘exploding’ population growth. The current rapid environmental degradation in rural and urban areas and rising crime among other problems are being blamed on rapid population growth. However, it appears that nobody has convincingly explained the causes of population explosion. So let us begin by looking at the components that contribute to population increase.