Born in one of Uganda’s districts neighbouring Rwanda, I have enough experiences with the Rwandese hostility.
Traditionally, Uganda has been the food basket for Rwanda since the 70s. Even when Rwanda experienced years of uneasy peace and development during the military regime of President J. Habyarimana, they didn’t grow their economy to a level of weaning themselves from dependency on Uganda. And during that time, Uganda was under the rule of dictator Idi Amin.The economy declined to negative but Rwandana still relied on Uganda for all kinds of food, parrafin, tobacco, hides and skins and above all,Rwanda became one of Africa’s coffee exporters! All courtesy of magendo business along the border.
I participated in this illicit trade because it was the only source of income since the biggest business was smuggling. Towns along the border grew tremendously,Kashekye,Nyabweshongoize, Kabanyonyi,Maziba, Katuna, and a host of many other towns, because of magendo. BUT even when Uganda was a source commodities the Rwandans needed for everyday life, they treated Ugandans with disdain, cheated them, exploited them and at most robbed them. It was not uncommon to hear stories where a Ugandan was lured to sell large quantities of goods only to be framed and imprisoned as a robber or just killed. Sometimes it also happened on this side but it was rampant and unabatted by the local government in Rwanda.
We were cheated, branded robbers and sometimes clobbered by the local chiefs after grabbing our merchandise.
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Fast forward,with the change of government in Uganda, smuggling was fought and stopped not with guns but creating a conducive environment for all to do business both in Uganda and across the borders. Crossborder trade never stopped. Ugandans sell and buy from Rwandans both formally and informally! Rwandans buy all sorts for foodstuffs from Uganda and in turn Ugandans buy all sorts of merchandise from Rwanda open market.
The killing of smugglers along the border was tried by Amin trying to stop especially coffee smuggling but he failed miserably because it is not the right way. Imagine, how many tonnes of coffee are smuggled to Rwanda from Uganda today! None.
Rwandan authorities have have so far killed five Ugandans on the pretext of smuggling. Surprisingly the authorities in Kigali are foaming on the mouth that Rwandans are suffering in Ugandan prisons. The imprisoned Rwandans are part of the DMI terror cells aimed at creating insecurity in Uganda. The good and law abiding Rwandans are prospering in Uganda without anybody threatening them. Those who have run away from bad politics should not be regarded as Uganda’s responsibility. The current government in Rwanda was mentored in Uganda. Why don’t they learn the tactics and strategy of their mentor in handling opposition?
Rwanda belongs to all Rwandans and each one has a potion however small it may be.(By the way even during Habyarimana days, land was scarce in Rwanda). They should not be threatened, hounded out to exile, imprisoned or killed for having a different idea and then blame Uganda. This is the crux of the matter.
That is why I have suggested that the Ugandan authorities should stop begging Rwandans to open the border. For what? So that more Ugandans enter and are killed enmass? They have demonstrated that they do not need us, we should keep away. Amaizi gagira ngu otanaaba neiwe Oti tinyine nziro.
Otherwise, it hurts to see bodies of murdered Ugandans streaming from Kigali, as is our history does not matter. Uganda under Museveni has bent so low, but we shall get another dispensation where Ugandans shall be valued for what they are.