COMMONWEALTH - Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni has cautioned Commonwealth Heads of Government about the present partial transformation of the Commonwealth Societies.
“The present partial transformation of the Commonwealth is not good enough for the individual countries nor is it good for the Commonwealth in general.”
The President was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) that was officially opened at the Kampala Serena Hotel in Uganda, by Her Majesty Elizabeth II, the Queen of Britain and Head of Commonwealth.
“The Commonwealth societies are not harmonized when it comes to development. Some Commonwealth countries have transitioned from pre - industrial societies. On the other hand, others are still characterized by over-dependency on agriculture and the societies still have a large peasant population with a very small middle class,” Museveni said.
Museveni also noted that the phenomenon of asymmetrical development within Commonwealth societies was a result of failure for some Commonwealth leaders to detect strategic as well as tactical stimuli to apply to their economies to allow them to grow.
This, he added, would enable sustainability of these economies and therefore help societies to transform from pre-industrial to industrial, from feudal-peasant to middle-skilled working class societies.
“The Commonwealth countries such as UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, South Africa, Singapore and Malaysia have either undergone a process of total social metamorphosis or have partially done so” he said.
The Commonwealth has a combined population of about 2 billion people, which is a third of the world population. There are 53 member states.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the outgoing chairman of the Commonwealth, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi of Malta, were some of the key figures at the ceremony.
Museveni is expected to take over the chairmanship of the Commonwealth for the next two years.
An event that was concluded on Friday addressed issues such as fair global trade, climate change and how, generally, to transform developing Commonwealth countries into developed ones.
The summit was organised under the theme, “Social transformation of the Commonwealth Societies,” and so far, it is the biggest Heads of Government meeting that brings together leaders sharing a common language and goal.
The summit is held every two years and brings together Commonwealth leaders to discuss global and Commonwealth issues, and to agree on collective policies and initiatives. The executive retreat mainly comprising of Prime Ministers and Presidents, provides the perfect informal environment for consensus building and issues resolution.