MAKERERE- H.E Stéphanie Rivoal, the French ambassador to Uganda has emphasized the importance of freedom of speech and rights to participate in open discussions during a two-day Kampala Geopolitics event.
Rivoal said such rights are of essence to democracy.
Rivoal said that Ugandans have to aver right and the liberty to debate openly on any topic without fearing sanctions from the government.
“Where you can debate, you can have freedom. Where you can have freedom, you can have peace, where you can have it all, you live in a democracy,” remarked the Ambassador during the Opening Ceremony of the Kampala Geopolitics Conference held on Friday 26th October 2018 at Makerere University.
The Kampala Geopolitics conference was organized by the Embassy of France in Uganda in partnership with Makerere University, Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), Alliance Française de Kampala (AFK), UN Women and the Institute for International and Strategic Affairs (iRiS).
The two days’ conference 26 to 27, October 2018 brings together professionals from all walks of life including researchers, politicians, diplomats, journalists, activists and key leaders to engage in an interactive debate on the contemporary local and international issues.
The Ambassador also called for an intensive discussion to find solutions to the challenges that affect the world at large.
“Geopolitics is all about understanding the world. Ignoring it is short-sided because soon enough it will catch up with you. You may want to close your eyes to climate change, but it is coming. You may want to ignore terrorism, but it is happening.
“You may choose to brush aside social inequalities, but they are growing,” she explained adding that the debate between genuine leaders will bring them closer by providing the opportunity to clear misunderstandings, build bridges between cultures, personal views, and ideologies.
Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor, revealed that the shifting geopolitics of the region has significantly affected the higher education sector and that some of the ideas raised during the conference would inform the ongoing process of formulating the next ten-year 2020-2030 Makerere University Strategic Plan.
Participants were thrilled by an interactive session involving Uganda’s best comedians Daniel Omara and Pablo.