Our people should be taught to be critical thinkers if we are to solve the problems facing Africa. These were some of the remarks by H.E. Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, on the occasion to celebrate World Philosophy Day held on 15th November, 2012 at Makerere University.
He said that even after 50 years of independence from colonial powers, Africa, apart from South Africa, is not much different, noting that the answers to the problems we face today are embedded in philosophy. “We cannot solely blame foreign powers for making us lag behind while the rest of the world developed. We must identify the strategic bottlenecks that have caused Africa to lag behind in order to find appropriate solutions. Philosophical thinking will help us live up to our responsibilities,” he said.
He called for total transformation of African societies for a better future.
Addressing participants, the Guest of Honour, also Minister for Water and Environment, Hon. Ephraim Kamuntu, called for the development of the capacity of students to think independently and rationally in a bid to address some of the challenges faced by mankind. “If we are to transform our society, we must engage in critical thinking and have a vision. A country without a clear vision cannot develop,” he said.
The Head of the Philosophy Department at Makerere University, Dr Edward Wamala, emphasized the importance of development theories and equitable distribution of resources. “We should come up with our own development theories and also try theories that have been used by others to move forward,” he said. He noted that if there are resources to be shared, the less privileged should get a better portion.
The day was celebrated under the theme “Philosophical Issues in Africa and Future Generations” with numerous presentations on the challenges of Africa and strategies to overcome them.
Topics discussed included; “The future Generations and African Cultures” by Prof. James Kigongo, Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Makerere University; “Ethical issues: Corruption in Africa and the Future” by Mr Fred Kindi Immanuel, Lecturer in the School of Women and Gender Studies and “African Security: the past, present and future” by the Army representative in Parliament, Hon. Gen. Elly Tumwine.