By Vision reporters
The Government has paid tribute to the late former South African president, Nelson Mandela, hailing him for his support in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army and his historic contribution to peace, law and order in the Great Lakes Region as well as his fight against apartheid.
The Government singled out Mandela’s intervention that helped Uganda acquire anti-tank land mines equipment to clear the mines planted by LRA.
Another of Mandela’s contribution relates to his role in the Burundi peace agreement as well as the pacification of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Parliament on Tuesday passed a motion paying tribute to Mandela. However, the motion was passed in absence of the Cabinet ministers, who were in for a retreat.
This sparked controversy, with Cabinet criticising the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, for not delaying the debate on the motion till Thursday.
When Parliament resumed business Thursday, the Speaker allowed the Executive to contribute to the Mandela tribute motion.
Amama Mbabazi, the Prime Minister and leader of government business, consequently delivered a statement eulogising Mandela for his contribution in the struggle for freedom of his country, Africa and the entire human race.
“Mandela embodied the enduring spirit of self-determination and struggle for equality and freedom for the oppressed people in Africa and across the globe,” Mbabazi said in an eight-page statement.
People queuing up at the Pretoria show grounds to board busses that will take them to the Union Buildings to bid farewell to Nelson Mandela lying in state. CREDIT/AFP
The statement, Mbabazi explained, was meant to serve three purposes, namely; to note the motion moved on the floor of Parliament to pay tribute to Mandela, to explain the absence of the Executive in Parliament on Tuesday and also to eulogize the great contribution of Mandela, particularly the strong connection between Uganda and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa.
He said the Cabinet had planned a retreat from December 8 to 11 at Lake Victoria Serena Hotel, three days after the death of Mandela.
Mbabazi said Uganda has enjoyed maximum co-operation in defence and security with South Africa since her independence in 1995.
“Across Africa, Nelson Mandela will always be a role model and source of inspiration for many leaders and freedom movements struggling for equality on the continent,” he said.
Among many ministers who contributed to the debate, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the health minister, said Mandela has demonstrated that Africa has a lot to offer even in terms of leadership.