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Commonwealth Honours Museveni

By Vision Reporter

Added 3rd March 2002 03:00 AM

THE Commonwealth has given President Yoweri Museveni a special award in recognition of his personal leadership and strong commitment to the crusade against the HIV/AIDS scourge in Uganda and Africa, reports Alfred Wasike.

THE Commonwealth has given President Yoweri Museveni a special award in recognition of his personal leadership and strong commitment to the crusade against the HIV/AIDS scourge in Uganda and Africa, reports Alfred Wasike. Museveni yesterday accepted the award from the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Dr Don McKinnon, at the on going four-day 2002 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Coolum, Australia. McKinnon paid glowing tribute to Museveni and described Uganda’s anti-AIDS success story as “very impressive and commendable progress this nation has made against HIV/AIDS in Africa and the world.” Museveni is the only individual who has received the Commonwealth award for fighting HIV/AIDS. Other recipients have been institutions. McKinnon presented the award to Museveni on behalf of the Commonwealth Foundation, the Commonwealth Business Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat. Museveni’s Press Secretary, Mary Okurut, told The New Vision yesterday that the special award was decided on by an international HIV/AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia last year. Museveni has led Uganda’s fight against AIDS since 1986, when almost a third of its citizens carried the virus. Accepting the award, he said, “This recognition will encourage the people of Uganda that they are doing well and that they should do more in the fight against AIDS. Uganda’s rate of HIV/AIDS has dropped from 30% in 1986 to 6.1% presently.” He attributed the success to the fact that the NRM Government took a deliberate strategy of openness when it came to power in 1986 and repeatedly warned his compatriots against AIDS. According to a German news agency, dpa, Museveni said, “AIDS spreads in only three ways in our area. First, it goes through unprotected sex. We don’t have homosexuals in Uganda, so this is mainly heterosexual transmission. Museveni said AIDS also spreads through “careless blood transfusions” and tribal customs such as circumcision in which the same knife is used for a number of people.” He triggered applause when he said, “In the African villages, once a lion comes to attack the village, you make a very loud alarm, so that the whole village comes and attacks the lion, and that is what we did with AIDS.” He said African societies were very strict on premarital and extra-marital sex and much of the blame for AIDS could be put on the liberalism of Africa’s European partners. Ends

Commonwealth Honours Museveni

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