|Africa News Digest
This issue of EIR Online includes an article centered on the attack on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni over "democracy" issues at a June 2 forum in Washington at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The first five of the following news reports cover collateral developments concerning Museveni and Uganda, and conclude with Museveni's surprise announcement June 8 that he would campaign in favor of a vote to return to a multi-party system in Uganda's July referendum.
Uganda's Museveni: Africa Is Ruled by Western Powers
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni gave a reasonably accurate picture of his own and other African leaders' captivity to the Anglo-American powers, in an otherwise blustering speech to the Pan Africa Movement May 24 in Entebbe, Uganda, reported by The Monitor (Kampala), a daily that is independent of the government.
The Monitor's article of May 26 is headlined, "Donors Fear Me, Says Museveni." It opens, "The sustained donor attacks on the government are not out of concern over corruption or opening up political space, but are largely prompted by strong fear that Mr. Museveni would expose their ill intentions in Africa, the President has said." The article includes the following quotes from Museveni's speech:
* "I told Mr. Bush and Tony Blair that we [Africans] are the donors; the ones you call donors are partial returners of what they had taken."
* "They fear that that man [Museveni] will wake the people up."
* "The problem with those people is not the third term or fighting corruption or multipartyism, ... the problem is that they want to keep us there without growing."
* "I met the Chinese President and he told me that if some countries were trying to dominate China.... [W]hat about us small ones?... China is a communist country but it has attracted huge investments, so the problem is not these songs [about political parties] people keep singing here."
The Pan Africa Movement was debating whether the fast-tracking of the East Africa Federation would mean the loss of Uganda's sovereignty to Kenya and Tanzania. Museveni responded: "The sovereignty you are talking about is already surrendered to foreigners.... I am not aware of any African country which is sovereign; they are all dependent on Western countries...."
In January, Museveni supported Iran's right to a nuclear power program.
Rwanda Amplifies Diplomatic Incident with Uganda
Rwanda amplified a diplomatic incident involving Ugandan President Museveni's convoy by taking it to the press June 5. The Monitor (Kampala) reported on June 6 that "Rwandan security turned Mr. Museveni's travel to Kigali [Rwanda's capital] into a diplomatic nightmare last Thursday [June 2] when they blocked his convoy at the Katuna border post, forcing some of the cars back to Uganda. The others were allowed to proceed with the President to Kigali for the COMESA conference." COMESA is the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, who called the incident "silly and infantile," says his government attempted to handle the incident through diplomatic channels, and was surprised when a Rwandan minister, Protais Mitali, went to the press with what he called "lies" about it on June 5.
Rwandan Foreign Minister Charles Murigande, in a note of protest to Kampala June 3, claimed that Rwanda had suffered a "blatant violation of its territorial sovereignty" involving "the complicity of Uganda's Ambassador to Rwanda."
Rwanda and Uganda are both U.S. client states, playing major roles in reshaping eastern and central Africa to suit Anglo-American interests. They were also allies in perpetrating the ugliest crimes in Rwanda and DR Congo in the 1990s, as part of that reshaping.
Relations between them have been unfriendly for the past few years, but this incident, in which Museveni's personal security was reduced, appears to mark an escalation.
Rwanda is armed to the teeth.
Rwandan President in New Provocation of Uganda
Rwandan President Paul Kagame never arrived at Entebbe International Airport June 6, for a state visit to confirm working relations with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. He left three Ugandan ministers, two ambassadors, a Presidential security detail, and a motorcade waiting in vain for two hours, according to the Pan African News Agency June 7.
An editorial in the daily Monitor June 8 warned that such incidents "should be ended immediately or they will one day lead to regrettable consequences."
The editorial mentions that "the Presidents accuse each other of training armed groups to destabilize each other's governments."
Former Ugandan President, Overthrown by Museveni, To Return
Former Ugandan President Milton Obote, whom Museveni drove from power, is planning to return from exile. A spokesman for Obote's party, the Uganda People's Congress, told the Monitor May 27 that "modalities are being worked out" with the government and UN High Commission for Refugees for his return. Obote's son returned to Uganda in about 2001.
The Monitor ran what it called a "highly popular" serial biography of Obote in April.
Museveni has threatened that Obote will be prosecuted for atrocities committed by his government, if he returns. At a rally June 4 at Kyambura, Museveni heaped contempt upon him, saying that he was overthrown twice by "mere wind." (Obote was President twice. He was overthrown first by Idi Amin in 1971 in a coup, and then in 1985, by Museveni, after four years of a Museveni-led insurgency.) Museveni boasted that, in contrast, he could not be overthrown by a coup.
Museveni Announces Support for Multi-Party System
Ugandan President Museveni, in a reversal, said June 8 that he would campaign for a return to a multi-party systemthe issue is the subject of a July 28 referendum. Washington, as part of its global project for "democracy," has been bearing down on him not to seek a third term and to support a multi-party system, which makes governments more manipulable from afar. Museveni effectively put an end to the multi-party system shortly after coming to power in 1985, saying that it was the cause of Uganda's political upheavals since independence.
There are opposition parties in Uganda, but they are not permitted to mobilize in support of political candidates. Ironically, major opposition parties have threatened to boycott the referendum, claiming the government could achieve a "No" vote and proceed to tighten its hold on power. They also fear that, after a "Yes" vote, as the Constitution is accordingly amended, it could also be amended to permit a third Presidential term.
* * *
Iran To Upgrade Defense, Industrial Potential of Nigeria
Iran is ready to help Nigeria build up its defense and industrial capacities, Defense Minister Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani said, as Nigerian Defense Minister Rabiu Kwankaso arrived in Tehran June 6 with a delegation, for talks. Kwankaso will also meet President Mohammad Khatami.
Shamkani said that "Iran's Defense Ministry is ready to upgrade the defense potential of Nigeria and implement various industrial projects" there, the Ministry announced, noting that Kwankaso welcomed the offer. The two are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding.
The visit is a followup to President Khatami's visit to Nigeria in January. At that time, Iran agreed to make a $1.5-million grant for a feasibility study for a transformer manufacturing plant. There were also Iranian agreements in January with Nigeria's Power and Steel Minister and with its National Electric Power Authority.
Vaccines Against Marburg and Ebola Pass Primate Tests
Live vaccines against the deadly Marburg and Ebola viruses were fully effective in primate tests and may be ready for licensing for human use in five or six years. Two scientists in Canada based the vaccines on a live, deactivated virus, using a rare livestock virus that causes vesicular stomatitis. "After being rendered harmless through gene shuffling, the viruses were covered with distinctive proteins that the human body uses to recognize and marshal defenses against either Marburg or Ebola," according to a news story in Nature online June 5.
The paper in Nature Medicine providing the scientific report was also published online June 5. Its abstract says, "A single intramuscular injection of the EBOV or MARV [Ebola virus, Marburg virus] vaccine elicited completely protective immune responses.... No evidence of EBOV or MARV replication was detected in any of the protected animals after challenge."
"The vaccines seem to induce immunity very rapidly.... They have applicability within the lifetime of [an] outbreak," according to Steven M. Jones, one of the two senior authors, quoted by Xinhua June 7.
The senior authors, Steven M. Jones and Heinz Feldmann, work at the Canadian National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg. The abstract of their paper in Nature Medicine can be accessed by nonsubscribers at www.nature.com using search term 10.1038/nm1258.
The Nature news story reports a concern by some that the deactivated cattle virus "will revert to a dangerous form or hop over into cattle," citing Gary Nabel at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., who has successfully tested monkeys with an Ebola vaccine based on dead virus.