President Yoweri Museveni has paid tribute to the FRELIMO freedom fighters of Mozambique and the people of Mozambique for hosting and training Ugandan freedom fighters of the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA).
The Ugandan rebel fighters later became the foundation of Uganda’s liberation Army, the NRA, which gave birth to the current Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
He said the force has not only liberated and guaranteed the security of Uganda but has also made a significant contribution to regional security and stability.
Museveni who is on a three day State Visit to Mozambique made the remarks at banquet hosted in his honour by his counterpart President Jacinto Nyusi at State House in the Mozambican capital of Maputo this evening.
He enumerated the several political stages that the African continent went through before colonialism, during colonialism up to the independence struggles and the post-colonial period.
He said that FRELIMO’s contribution to Uganda, especially in helping the country to building a national liberation army that dismantled tribal and sectarian based post-independence armies including the defeat of tyrants in Uganda, helped in the laying of a foundation for building an Army with a national character.
The President who introduced the only three surviving Officers out of the 28 Officers that trained in Mozambique, Gen. Salim Saleh, Lt. Gen. Ivan Koreta and Col. Bosco Omure, said that such a contribution by FRELIMO should never be underrated, forgotten or even taken for granted by any Ugandan.
“I came here to thank FRELIMO freedom fighters and the people of Mozambique in general for your support to our liberation struggle and for particularly helping us build the Army that has done a lot for Uganda and Africa,” he said.
“The force that has contained and defeated Alshabab in Somalia since 2007 bringing order to lawless Somalia, was founded here in Montepuez in Mozambique in the 1970s. Even the first leader of the Rwanda Patriotic Front, Gen. Fred Rwigyema, was trained here. I, therefore, think you have an input to the RPF and you should be saluted,” he added.
President Museveni also paid tribute to the heroism of the FRELIMO leaders and freedom fighters noting that their unwavering efforts in the fight for the independence of Mozambique did not only end in achieving independence of Mozambique but also engineered and motivated other African freedom fighters in countries that were still colonised. He said that in addition, it also contributed in due course, to the weakening and the collapse of the colonial tyrants in Portugal that led to the liberation and eventual independence of Guinea-Bissau and Angola.
Mr. Museveni used the occasion to salute the late Tanzanian President, Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere, whom he said was part of the positive post-independence leaders that stood for patriotism and Pan-Africanism as opposed to politics of tribe and religion.
He said that because of the late Nyerere’s foresightedness and brevity, the Tanzanian leader openly supported FRELIMO liberation movement up to the end and also supported the Ugandan freedom fighters to train in Mozambique so as to fight the Idi Amin dictatorship.
The President called for the strengthening of economic cooperation between the two brotherly countries, Mozambique and Uganda especially by enhancing trade for the good of the citizens of the two nations.
The state dinner was also honoured by the presence of former Mozambique Presidents Joachim Chissano and Armando Guebuza.
Earlier in the day, President Museveni addressed the Maputo City Assembly where he paid great tribute to the fallen FRELIMO leader, Samora Machel, for giving him an opportunity to train Ugandan freedom fighters in Mozambique and for visiting Maputo City.
During the occasion, Maputo City Council Assembly bestowed upon President Museveni, the highest and prestigious honour of the City of Maputo that is called ‘The Key of the City of Maputo’.