SINGAPORE: Uganda warned Britain today [Jan 18] that a decision to sell arms to South Africa would be an open invitation to the Soviet Union — and may be later the Chinese — to replace Western Powers in the African continent.

“… Such replacement may be smooth or not smooth,” Mr Obote warned, adding: “If the British Government had acted differently over the Middle East crisis in 1956, there would not have been any Soviet expansion in the Mediterranean.” Like president Nyerere of Tanzania before him, the Ugandan leader also rejected any compromise on the key clause of the “Declaration of Principles” tabled at the Commonwealth conference by Zambia. The paragraph he was referring to calls on all members to deny all forms of assistance to regimes which enforce racial discrimination. Mr Obote said that the adoption of any of the amendments which have been pointed out by some delegations would change the document “into a charter for Britain to sell arms to South Africa”.

… The President said he did not want any anti-British demonstrations in his country but “whether l will be able to contain the situation I don’t know”. While he did not want to comment on the reaction in other African countries, Mr Obote said that it could possibly be similar.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2021

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