Uganda is set to start a wealth creation project for Mozambican veterans as one of the ways of the East African country is paying back for the support received during the liberation struggle.
The Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) helped shape Uganda’s Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), which was part of the foundation of Uganda’s National Liberation Army (UNLA), National Resistance Army (NRA), and later the UPDF.
On Wednesday, Mozambican President, Filipe Jacinto Nyusi who is also the current leader of FRELIMO arrived in Uganda for a three day state visit at the invitation of his Ugandan counterpart.
Speaking to journalists , President Museveni said when he visited their old base at their old base in Montepuez , he met some of the veterans who had assisted them during the training.
“We found people like drivers who were supporting us and they were the same people. I had an idea that proposed to his Excellency which was to start a wealth creation association. Why don’t we create a wealth creation association of veterans or their children if the veterans no longer there to provide wealth for their families and country? This is one of the ways show the people of Mozambique of gratitude of nucleus that Samora Machel showed us. It is not enough to write books but we must have something complete,” Museveni said.
Explaining the rationale, Museveni noted that some of the soldiers who formed FRONASA which later metamorphosed into the National Resistance Army and later UPDF had been trained Montepuez, the second largest city in the province of Cabo Delgado, in Mozambique.
In the 1970s,Museveni led 28 freedom fighters to Mozambique and these trained at Montepuez .
Of the 28, only Museveni, Gen Salim Saleh, Lt Gen Ivan Koreta and Col Bosco Omule are still alive.
Speaking on Thursday, the president said it is high time Uganda returned the favour.
“We will also be building a technical school and reconstructing some of the dormitories in the barracks. That area has huge land for agriculture. Veterans will be beneficiaries but the projects will be run by experts who know how to do things,”Museveni said.
To this, the president said Uganda is soon sending a delegation to Mozambique that will be led by Lt Gen Ivan Koreta to see how the project will start.
“The team should be led by Gen Ivan Koreta, one of graduates of Montepuez because he is passionate about it. He should go with agriculturalists and those of soil science to confirm what we already know. We shall prepare in the next budget and plan for it,” he said.
The president said because of the insurgency in the larger Cabo Delgado province, Uganda will also send troops to guard the wealth creation project for Mozambican veterans.
“Because of the insecurity there, I advised that why don’t we add a force to guard the project, then we also contribute to the security in the area. We can shoot one or two terrorists who come there,” Museveni said.
Speaking in response, the Mozambican president welcomed the support from Uganda.
“It is our intention to invest in agriculture to produce maize , cotton and fruits but also to have projects in animal rearing. Uganda has a lot of experience. Veterans can take part in these projects,” Filipe Jacinto Nyusi said.
President Museveni also noted Uganda will also train for free, Mozambican game rangers and conservationists here in Uganda to ensure Mozambique reaps from the huge benefits of tourism.
“Tourism in Uganda has recovered, it had collapsed during President Idi Amin’s time because animals had been poached but when we took over power, we stabilized everything. Before Covid-19, we were getting 1.6billion dollars each year from tourism and we were getting 1.5million visitors,” Museveni said.
“For us we are ready as Uganda government to train any Mozambican who you will end here for wildlife course especially university graduates who should be scientists,” Museveni said.
He said these will be conservationists and others protection forces to contribute to the security in the parks.