By Carol Natukunda
HIS Highness the Aga Khan has called upon Ugandans to embrace cultural diversity, saying it is the way forward in the era of globalisation.
â€œPeople are learning from people different from them. This has evolved because of the technology. It builds a culture of strength rather than harmful decisions. There is a rich diversity of language, faith and social identities.
â€œCultural diversity should be a profound source of strength for this country. Embrace the abundant pluralism and commitment to achieve global excellence,â€ His Highness added.
The Aga Khan said institutions like Makerere University could be used to emphasise pluralism. â€œWhen we invest in education, we are investing in people.â€
He made the remarks while hosting President Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet to a banquet at Serena Kampala Hotel on Wednesday.
Present were President Francois Bozize of the Central African Republic, former Mozambique president Joaquim Chissano, Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi, several Cabinet ministers and politicians.
The spiritual leader of the Ismaili Muslims has been in Uganda for a five-day visit as part of the celebrations to mark his Golden Jubilee.
Museveni congratulated the Aga Khan upon his 50 years of leadership and his development initiatives.
Referring to former President Idi Aminâ€™s dictatorial regime, Museveni assured the Ismaili community that: â€œYou should not be worried.
Nothing will happen again. What happened (then) was that we were not in control. What happened in the past will not be repeated.
â€œAmin was a colonial sergeant. He was trained by the British. But Ugandans got rid of him,â€ Museveni said, drawing applause from the audience.
Museveni explained that the Government had encouraged investors to return and rehabilitate their property.
â€œYou (the Aga Khan) are most welcome and we value your contribution. We have a huge investment area, almost the size of India and with a big population which is growing.
â€œInvest in an economy which will be big in the coming decades.â€
Bozize invited the Aga Khan to invest in his country, which he said had a lot of potential in agriculture, mining and forestry.
He also hailed Museveni for his good leadership, saying it had won him global admiration and respect.