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President Opens 27th Conference of Speakers of the CommonWealth

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has advised countries and leaders not to use their progress in science and technology for parasitism.

“Let us concentrate on utilizing the progress of man in the struggle against the oppression of man by nature rather than using that progress in science and technology for parasitism,” he said.

President Museveni made the remarks while officiating at the opening of the 27th Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, Kampala.

Running from January 3–6, 2024, the conference brings together the Speakers and Presiding Officers of the national parliaments of the independent sovereign states of the Commonwealth. It was created in 1969 as an initiative of the then Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Honourable Lucien Lamoureux. Since its inception, Canada has provided CSPOC with a secretariat to support its activities.

The conference aims to: maintain, foster, and encourage impartiality and fairness on the part of Speakers and Presiding Officers of Parliaments; promote knowledge and understanding of parliamentary democracy in its various forms; and develop parliamentary institutions.

President Museveni observed that when the dangerous illusion of empires or imperialism was defeated, the elders of the countries that had been part of the British empire decided not to throw away completely some aspects they had gotten from the British, like the English language and the concept of representative government, among others, and that is how the association of Commonwealth countries came into place.

He noted that despite the beneficial factor of the Commonwealth, there’s still a problem of persistent philosophical and ideological strategic shallowness and chauvinism of some actors.

“The philosophical and ideological strategic shallowness ignores the progress of the human race in taming the natural phenomena that harm man and life and taming nature to improve the quality of human livelihood. The invention of fire, iron, agriculture for crops and then for livestock, the steam engine, electricity, railway, automobiles, aircraft, automation of factories, AI, vaccines, etc, have shown that the quality of life of man can be improved greatly by those human innovations irrespective of the social systems they live under.” 

“Instead of using this human progress for the benefit of all, some actors, out of greed and philosophical and ideological strategic shallowness, miscalculate and seek to monopolize knowledge and also use knowledge to oppress others; for example, the iron tools were used for oppression; the gunpowder, the aircraft, the nuclear weapons, etc. were used for the same.”

President Museveni further explained that greed is a miscalculation because if some actors use knowledge to oppress others, the affected parties also strive to acquire such knowledge to catch up and defeat the former.

“This is why empires collapsed. All of them without exception. Indeed, by 1900, the whole of Africa had been colonised because of gunpowder, except for Ethiopia. By 1994, the last European-controlled country in Africa—South Africa—had been liberated by the gunpowder of the Africans,” he asserted, adding, “In the last 64 years, our movement, initially led by students, has been advocating for symbiosis instead of parasitism for actors within Uganda and outside.”

He also urged leaders and actors to stop manipulating and lecturing other societies that are different from theirs on what they should do.

“If you think you are right, influence people by example. With this posture, the world will be peaceful, and progress will be rapid. If you value your independence and dignity, then you must also respect the dignity of everybody,” President Museveni added.

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Anita Among said hosting the CSPOC in Kampala is a remarkable milestone in the legislative history of Uganda.

The Speaker also paid tribute to President Museveni for his consistent support in enabling inter-parliamentary engagements and, particularly, in aiding the hosting of this conference.

The conference was also attended by the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, the Second Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. Moses Ali, Ministers, Parliament Members, and other dignitaries.

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