Libyans must determine their future, says Museveni

President Museveni pictured meeting with the Vice-President of the Libyan Presidential Council, Abdullah Al-Lafi and other officials at State House Entebbe on November 4, 2021. PPU PHOTO

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  • “I fought Gadaffi here from 1972-1979 when he intervened to support Amin because of their Islamic connection. That was not good. Fine Amin was Muslim, but why support him when he is killing us? On that note, I gave him a zero and we fought him,” President Museveni said.

President Museveni has said it is high time the people of Libya take charge of their country from the foreigners who have ‘mishandled’ it.
The President was yesterday speaking during a meeting with H.E Abdullah Al- Lafi, the Vice President of Libyan Presidential Council, who is in Uganda on an official visit.

Mr Museveni said Libya was mishandled by foreign actors, who were ideologically bankrupt, pushing for identity rather than the needs of the people.
“I fought Gadaffi here from 1972-1979 when he intervened to support Amin because of their Islamic connection. That was not good. Fine Amin was Muslim, but why support him when he is killing us? On that note, I gave him a zero and we fought him,” President Museveni said.
The President, however, said despite fighting Gadaffi, the former Libyan President had a positive side which endeared him to African leaders, him inclusive.

“Gadaffi had a positive and negative side, on the positive aspect he believed in the unity of Libyan people and Africa at large. He emphasized the needs of the people and that is why when we took power, we came back to work with him,” he said.
The President called on the Libyan people to avoid politics of identity and fight for the common good.
“Peace is the same, hunger is the same, education is the same, why don’t we emphasize these, they are common to everyone. We should not emphasize what will cause division,” he said.

He called upon the leaders of Libya to use the opportunity to win the support of the Libyans first, through putting emphasis on their needs, then granting them an opportunity to take charge of their country in decision making through meaningful democratic elections.
“Spend more time winning your Libyan people, an election is fair and strategic in terms of encouraging people to make peace rather than war and everyone should participate without conditions,” he said.

The President counselled that pre-conditioned democracy can never achieved the goal of uniting people as it creates the same problems that previously existed.
“You cannot say these ones are pro-Gadaffi so they should not vote or only these ones should participate, let everyone irrespective of their identity have a say. Just like we did here when we organised our first elections,” the President said.
He shared his experience of promoting unity in democracy.

“I was fighting the father of Okello Oryem (Minister of State for Foreign Affairs), but later I had to approach him (Oryem) so we make peace, the children of Idi Amin are all with me now, so are their grandchildren. The children of Obote are in our government, we did not cast them out, that is how you bring peace,” he said.
The President added: “Getting foreigners to fight their wars has spoilt Syria, Libya, etc. Libya has got its owners. Let them elect whether they get bad people or not. It will be their mistake. Let people make their own mistakes do not impose mistakes of foreigners on them. So, I agree that elections are the best and the AU should encourage everybody.” 

He accepted the Libyan government request for Uganda to reopen its embassy in Tripoli and pledged to support Libya in its efforts to be appointed on the Security Council.
Mr Al- Lafi thanked President Museveni for sharing his experience and wisdom.
“I will not hide the fact that I come here seeking wisdom and your experience as far as handling states is concerned. I am a great admirer of what you have achieved in Uganda, getting it to a peaceful nation. I would wish the same for Libya,” he said.

Mr Al-Lafi briefed President Museveni on the prevailing situation in Libya, adding that holding elections will be the main channel of resolving the conflict. 
“The elections must be honoured by all the participating parties. Libya today has got one government and it has eased the situation in the country. What you have done in Uganda in regularising the platform is a lesson we are learning from you. The reconciliation process in Libya needs to be supported,” he said.

He said the Libyan investments in Uganda are protected and are enjoying a conducive investment climate. 
Mr Al-Lafi said Libya looks forward to having more friends after the elections. He said they were eager to benefit from President Museveni’s experience in Uganda and Africa in general.
 

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