Uganda will in March this year host Heads-of-State under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Kampala to find lasting solutions to the security challenges affecting the eight-country bloc in Africa.
President Yoweri Museveni gave the greenlight to the summit in a meeting he held with the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Dr. Workneh Gebeheyu, who paid a courtesy call on him at State House, Entebbe, on Thursday.
Dr. Workneh informed Museveni that the IGAD secretariat working together with the African Union (AU) saw it wise to have leaders meet and find solutions to the pockets of instability in Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.
In giving the green light to the Secretariat for the three-day summit, Museveni said Africans should not suffer under fellow African leaders like it was before (under the European colonialists).
“If they come here, I will welcome them. Because really, we are letting ourselves down. Africans to suffer more under the Africans than under the Europeans? No, I don’t want to be part of the betrayal of African people,” Museveni said.
“If IGAD does not help the people in the horn of Africa or East Africa, then what is it for?”
According to Dr Workneh, all the challenges facing Africa require the combined efforts of leaders in the region and thanked President Museveni for the wise leadership and ensuring stability in the region.
He said that Sudan as the current chair of the bloc and as its founding member, the organisation stands ready to support the transitional government of Sudan and the Sudanese people to consolidate peace and democratic gains.
The Executive Secretary who was in Uganda to attend the second IGAD Water Dialogue Forum under the theme: “Groundwater for Resilience” briefed the President about the outcomes of the three-day meeting among which is the establishment of an office in Uganda.
“We are going to have an office here in Uganda, to make IGAD more strong and alive,” Dr Workneh said.
President Museveni agreed to the request and asked the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs ( in charge of regional cooperation), John Mulimba, to work with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development and find space to construct the office.
IGAD includes governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and the African Great Lakes which include; Uganda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti which also houses IGAD headquarters.
The forum discussed the axis of groundwater for peace and stability, climate change and resilience to drought, social and economic development, innovation in groundwater financing and technological development, and capacity building.
At State House in Entebbe, Dr. Workneh was accompanied by the IGAD Head of Mission to Uganda, Lucy Daxbacher and other officials from the Secretariat. Others were officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who included Mulimba, Oscar Edule, Joseph Kazibwe and Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, a Commissioner at the Ministry of Water and Environment.