Let’s reason more critically. What is the main causes of the rift between President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Tibuhaburwa Museveni of Uganda.? ( Note that I have excluded Rwanda and Uganda from being central to the reasoning).
Both men had been useful to each other. Paul Kagame had been useful to Tibuhaburwa Museveni in the conquest of Uganda and Tibuhaburwa Museveni had been useful to Paul Kagame in the conquest of Rwanda. Both men belong to the patoralist-nomadic Tutsi ethnic group, which was more attached to the cow than to the land, and did not recognise the international boundary between the two countries, freely grazing their cattle across that boundary, with Spears, not Guns. Reports, some in well recognised publications, say even if the international border was closed by President Kagame, the grazing of cattle by the pastoralist-nomadic Tutsi has never stopped, but unlike before, it occurs with gun in hand, not spear in hand.
So, what this means is that if Rwanda was conquered, the pastoralist-nomads were not conquered but benefited from the conquest. They continued with their socioeconomic system but graduated from spear to gun as their defensive and offensive weapon while grazing their cattle. They continued to connect with their kind across their international border and to be fully protected by their kind in Uganda.
They became more free to move with their cattle within Rwanda and across the border with Uganda than was the case when Juvenal Habyarimana was in charge of Rwanda. The closure of the border was inconsequential to their age-old socioeconomic system or human energy system. The real conquered people in Rwanda were, therefore, the numerically dominant but politically insignificant Bantu group called “The Hutu. Some of the conquered decided to seek refuge in Uganda and elsewhere in the world. That some Hutu refugees are in Uganda, not far away from Rwanda, could be one reason why Paul Kagame has been uncomfortable with his counterpart in Uganda. He has all along been convinced that the President of Uganda has been training the Hutu refugees to unseat him.
For two years President Tibuhaburwa Museveni has ignored the rantings if his counterpart, during which time the real losers have been the largely settled Ugandans who were engaged all manner of trade across the Uganda-Rwanda border. Many crashed out of trade and joined the growing numbers if the poor of Uganda.
It is as if President Kagame has been helping the President to create large numbers of the poor and needy while at the same time creating all sorts of programmes, ostensibly to fight poverty. The latest the Parish Model of Growth. However, as if by design, all of the have amplified, not reduced, the poverty of the Ugandans belonging to the more than 50 indigenous groups. Otherwise, like in Rwanda, the Tutsi now dominate the military, business, education, politics, etc and are now the new settled people accessing land, mostly through grabbing, and increasingly dominant in agriculture. They have sole access to Lake Victoria and other lakes, and they dominate institutions too. They freely exploit our forests, and are playing a critical role in reducing forests to grass so that Uganda becomes one huge grazing land. So if Uganda is suffering accelerated environmental destruction and climate change, it is the dominant people in the military, power, trade and business that are responsible. It is a fundamental change.
We shall not have meaningful and effective success in the wars against poverty, environmental destruction and climate change in Uganda unless there is a shift in the balance of power and ownership of resources, whereby a small, increasingly acquisitive and possessive ethnically cohesive group wants everything for itself and seems to be less committed to conquering poverty, injustice and oppression of the poor and needy.
The way I see it is this. Both President Kagame and President Tibuhaburwa Museveni have more to gain than to lose in housing to cooperate that sustain conflict between them. They have both succeeded in conquering the dominant Bantu groups (in Uganda even the Luo Groups). Their small groups now own everything; even the future, having erased the future of millions and turned them into slaves internally and externally. If they have both captured this reality, then it was easy for General Muhoozi Kainerugaba to negotiate a deal for effective cooperation.
The Tutsi have never been safer and securer from the Bantu groups than they gave become under the rule of Kagame in Rwanda and Tibuhaburwa Museveni in Uganda. That is my honest critical analysis of our reality in the East African Community. Whether or not the East African Community will be for all East African will depend on how Kagame and Museveni strategise from now on.
For God and My Country.
Prof Oweyegha Afunaduula is a former Zoology and Environmental lecturer at Makerere University
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