President Museveni tasked to boost NAM's economic, military muscle

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President Museveni tasked to boost NAM's economic, military muscle
President Museveni takes over as NAM Chair. Courtesy photo.

As Uganda assumes the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) under President Yoweri Museveni, analysts urge him to prioritize building a robust and sustainable economic bloc among member states. This, they argue, can be achieved through advocacy for easier access to cheaper capital from international financial institutions like the World Bank.

"A sustainable economic block must be built on the foundation of free movement of goods and labour among members," emphasizes lawyer Simon Peter Kinobe.

Nicholas Opio, another lawyer, highlights the significance of Museveni's new role, stating that it carries considerable weight for both him and Uganda. "He is no longer just a regional leader; he becomes a global actor. This is an opportunity to shed pettiness and embrace greater responsibility, which I hope will translate into improved governance, stronger systems, and a more vigorous fight against corruption," Opio says.

With many delegates at the ongoing NAM summit advocating for stronger representation of voices from the Global South in international discourse, scholar Mwambutsya Ndebesa suggests developing scientific and technological capacity as the fastest route to achieving equal footing.

"If NAM countries made concerted efforts to develop their own technologies, it's not impossible," Ndebesa argues. "Kenya's M-Pesa is a prime example. If we could have more such innovations from the South, the North would be more inclined to listen to our voices."

Analysts also see this as an opportunity for Museveni, a seasoned and influential leader, to share his expertise on the global stage by advocating for free trade and visa-free movement across NAM member states.

"A visa-free policy among member states should be a priority," Kinobe argues. "This is Museveni's chance to be a global player, not just a regional one."

While some have raised concerns about the additional burden of the NAM chair on Museveni's shoulders, Kinobe believes his multi-tasking abilities are well-suited to the challenge. "Problems will always arise, and that's where a strong leader comes in. Given his military background, this could be the perfect time for him to mobilize NAM members to create a military alliance, similar to NATO, for their collective defence."

Uganda's chairmanship comes at a critical juncture, with the world facing numerous challenges, including violent conflicts, climate change concerns, and economic uncertainties. In his inaugural speech, President Museveni urged members to work together to solve these shared problems. It remains to be seen how effectively NAM will rise to this challenge under his leadership.

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