You’re wasting your time, Museveni tells Biden
In an attempt to deflect international pressure over human rights abuses, Uganda President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has sought to reassure Ugandans that all was well days after US President Joe Biden suspended the country from the Ush40 billion (about $10.5 million trade deal.
Biden removed Uganda, Central African Republic, Gabon and Niger from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa, saying they did not meet the requirements to be part of the export deal.
A December 2023 notice from the Office of the Trade Representative confirmed the termination, which now excludes Ugandan-made products from preferential treatment in the US market.
“I have determined that Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger and Uganda do not meet the requirements described in section 506A (a(1 of the Trade Act,” the statement read.
Read:Uganda now loses Agoa benefits
“Accordingly, I have decided to terminate the designations of the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries for purposes of section 506A of the Trade Act, effective January 1, 2024.”
In a televised address fromRwakitura in Western Uganda, Musevenion Tuesday night assured Ugandans that such trade restrictions and pressures “have no meaning” because Uganda is a nation of “wealth creators”.
Unity of Ugandans
“Some of the people who get carried away by linking up with foreign interests forget our strengths. For somebody to come and say ‘unless you follow what I’m telling you I’ll not…..’ they are really not serious,” he said.
According to Museveni,the unity of Ugandans is enough to withstand such external economic pressures.
“If we divide ourselves then we’ll be weak, but if we don’t divide ourselves then there’s nothing we cannot do…Those putting pressure on us are just wasting their time,” said Museveni, who was flanked by his wifeJanet Museveni and assistants.
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“Foreign pressure has no meaning. Therefore, what we can do is fight corruption; the usual problems, concentrate on regional integration…. But internationally, we can trade with those people who respect us.”
Kampala’s removal from Agoa, a US trade preference law enacted on May 18, 2000 that provides duty-free access to the US market for more than 6,000 products from beneficiary countries, follows a series of other sanctions.
They include travel restrictions on top government officials and threats of aid cuts, imposed on Uganda after the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act.
The US termed the law as “retrogressive” and anti-human rights.