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23 October 1995

Press Release



Following is the text of the toast by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, on behalf of those present, at the luncheon for heads of State and government, at Headquarters on 23 October:

It is a privilege for me to stand next to one of the greatest Africans that has ever lived -- after Hannibal. Hannibal was the African from North Africa who thought he should civilize the Europeans. Now, the next greatest African after him is the Secretary-General here, who has become Secretary- General of the whole world, which is a very big honour for us.

On behalf of my colleagues and on my own behalf, I thank you for the arrangements made to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations and for this luncheon in our honour. The occasion of the United Nations fiftieth anniversary has enabled us to reflect on many areas of interest and concern to all nations, and on making the United Nations a stronger Organization as we prepare to enter the twenty-first century.

As I have said before, the Organization has in the last 50 years played a role in maintaining peace in the world, and we salute the Organization for this contribution. In order to properly utilize the United Nations in future, we should more clearly define the circumstances under which it should assist the forces of legitimacy and democracy.

I think that when we are talking about the United Nations there is one danger, which I would like to caution you about. If some people think that the United Nations should be a world government, the United Nations will fail. The United Nations cannot be a government of the whole world. We do not yet need a government of the whole world. I do not want a government of the whole world. But we need a fire brigade. We need an Organization that can put out fires in abnormal situations.

Most of the cases that confront the United Nations are explosions that follow a prolonged period of disenfranchisement of the people. In conflict situations, the United Nations should support the forces of legitimacy, as,

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for instance, in the case of Haiti. It should also support reconciliation. In Haiti it was easy, as I said in my General Assembly speech, because there was legitimacy and the United Nations went in and supported legitimacy.

It should also support reconciliation and the establishment of broad- based administrations until legitimacy is restored, where there is no legitimacy to support. In my speech I mentioned Somalia. Somalia was a very difficult case, because there was no legitimacy. All the groups were illegitimate, so whom do you support, and whom do you oppose, and why? Now, if the United Nations gets involved in such a situation without clearly knowing where legitimacy stands, you can get into problems. I think in that case it is good first of all to opt for reconciliation. Reconciliation leads you to an interim government. An interim government leads you to elections. Then you get the legitimacy to support -— because the United Nations must support right. It cannot support wrong. If the United Nations supports wrong, it will fail, like all other organizations which do so.

In Uganda we have used the instrument of a broad-based Administration to unite the people of different sectarian factions. In Uganda, unlike the Europeans, we do not believe in "winner take all". Our pre-industrial society cannot afford that. In Uganda we believe that all factions should be in power at the same time. This is our theory of government. There should be nobody in; there should be nobody out. Because if there is somebody in and somebody out, in a weak structure, the one who is out will break the house, will break the structure. So we believe that we should all be in.

We commend this method to the United Nations for some of the situations similar to ours. However, where there is political polarization based on sectarianism, even the principle of one man, one vote must be applied with flexibility. As we have discovered in the "backward" part of the world, in the pre-industrial part of the world, sometimes when we talk of a majority we do not mean a political majority, we mean a natural majority. Now, a natural majority running a country would be very dangerous, because if there is a natural minority how will it be accommodated? There should be, again, a lot of political engineering to deal with that type of situation.

Allow me to reiterate my appeal to the Members of the United Nations to meet their financial obligations to the Organization in full, on time and unconditionally.

Mr. Secretary-General, we recognize your personal role in bringing about a solid and vibrant United Nations. In this respect, we encourage you to forge ahead with your twin agendas, for peace and for development.

Allow me to end these brief remarks by toasting to the good health of the Secretary-General and to the prosperity of the United Nations.

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For information media. Not an official record.