Is banyarwanda a tribe in Uganda constitution?

Dear People,

Why don’t you push for an ammendment to the constitution?

You really must have missed out in the whole exercise of the review of the 1995 constitution carried out by the Constitutional Review Commission headed by none other than Prof Alfred Ssempebwa, a mulangira! The views you are expressing were expressed by many others as the Sempebwa report shows under section 11.6.  I am sending you the link to that report:


The report’s recommendation on the issue of the Banyarwanda was clear. Sempebwa states:

‘In our view, the existence of the Banyarwanda as an indigenous community in Uganda by 1926 is not in dispute and should be recognised.  It is not for other communities to impose a name on this community.’ [here he was referring to the name ‘Bafumbira’ which was given to the Banyarwanda when Kisoro district was transferred from Belgian to British jurisdiction in 1926]


Note that, Banyarwanda who were left out of the Republic of Rwanda after the post-Berlin partition were named after the volcanic ranges close to which teir community lived.  Those near Mufumbira ranges in present day Uganda were called ‘Bafumbira’, those near Mulenge hills in present day DRC were called ‘Banyamulenge’, those near Masisi hills also in present day DRC were called ‘Banyamasisi’ and those from Rutshuru hills are called ‘Banyarutshuru’.  All those people are BANYARWANDA, the people of the old Rwanda Empire that was cannibalised by the British, Belgians and Germans.  They were named after those hills to give them a new identity in their ‘new’ countries otherwise ETHNICALLY, they are Banyarwanda.  DO NOT confuse them with Banyarwanda that are citizens of Rwanda, i.e., the RWANDESE.  It is the Banyarwanda of Uganda who have sought to make a break by repudiating the derogatory name after some hills and asserted that they are Banyarwanda.  This became particularly urge


The confusion with Banyarwanda is a result of coincidence between the name of their ethnic group and the name of a colony.  That confusion never arises with other ethnic groups that are split between other neighbours just because those neighbouring countries do not share their name with an ethnicity.  For every Alur in Uganda there are 2.5 in DRC (the so-called Lendu), for every 1 Mutoro in Uganda, there are 2 in DRC in Boga. There are Banyoro in NW Tzania, Itesot of Kenya elect Eimormor in Soroti etc.  Imagine if Southern Sudan was called Acholi.  What would have happened with the Acholi in Uganda? Or if Mao engineers a secession of Acholi, what would happen with the Acholis in Parajok and Kit in Equatoria province in Sudan.


They are saying they are Banyarwanda, but not Rwandese.  Additionally, let us not confuse the ethnic group, Banyarwanda,with castes, the Batutsi, Bahutu and Batwa.  Those were just socioeconomic classes just like Buganda has Balangira (equivalent of Tutsi) and Bakopi …the Hutus.  Membership to those castes was not fixed.  If you acquired alot of cattle, you could be dehutuised, and promoted to being a Tutsi, likewise if you were a Tutsi and lost your cattle like used to happen following outbreaks of rinderpest etc, you would be downgraded to a Hutu.  They were not fixed groups like ethnicities tend to be.  It is the Belgians that bastardised them into tribes: because Belgians have Walloons and Flemings as their two tribes, they wanted to recreate that arrangment in Rwanda and Urundi….with disastrous consequences…..


Likewise, in India there are similar castes, the Brahmans (Tutsi), Sudras (farmers..Hutu), the Dalits or Harijan (the untouchables…Batwa).  The caste of Batwa similar meant ‘the to be spat on’ …you know how you spit: ‘Khroo, twa…’

[In India, later on they got the caste called ‘Thugs’ the Hindu word which entered English in 1839…they were violent robbers who murdered their victims according to specific rituals, prescribed by the Hindu goddess ‘Kali’ (from which we got the Swahili word kali or tough)].

So, compatriots, let us broaden our perspectives a bit to avoid interahamweist rhetoric.


Yrs sincerely,

L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick

UPDF Officer


19 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. eee [cpl] to my understanding you must be an elderly retied muganda who in herited that kind of deplomacy from our colonial mansters ,preached with one comon goal robbing our pride,if its true as you say then why there is no banauganda in rwanda ‘s constitution? its writen that one step backwards to check is amile forward,so if people want to check amongest themselves let it be ,because it could have been amistake made by the banyalwanda to cross in uganda to avoid taxes,that doesnt make them ugandans in constitution thanks.

  2. francis,

    do the banyarwanda of rwanda and those of Uganda/bafumbira have the same culture? ie dances.

  3. francis,

    do the banyarwanda of rwanda and those of Uganda/bafumbira have the same culture? ie dances.thx

  4. i pray this message to finds all people who used this web-site in good health thanks you to be with me bafumbira and banyarwanda are not same calture dancing is same but wearing is not same given langauge

  5. kwitonda juma,

    I thanks all my friends who used this web-site that we have banyarwanda tribe and bafumbira tribe and bakiga tribe forexample in rwanda we have bakinga which means that peoples who stay in boaders must be learning the differrent langauges like me am uganda boy i stay in kisoro district we are using swahili rufumbira and rukinga runyarwanda but our common langauge is rufumbira is like runyarwanda and rurundi ( BURUNDI’S LANGUAGE) but those languages are not the same language

  6. Hassan,


  7. juma,

    Dear all my friends banyarwanda are not ugandan people but their come for refugeers in uganda you remember that museveni he also munyarwanda so he cant chest them to turn back home

  8. Ben,

    Banyarwanda are an indigenous tribe in Uganda fully recognised by the Uganda constitution. See here at ( Its under the Third Schedule of the Constitution at number 24 in the list of Uganda’s indigenous communities as at 1st February 1926. So Yes they are Ugandans.

  9. muzzukulu wa misambwa,

    Dear friends, let us not confuse ourselves or other people. Uganda is for Ugandans. you cannot get a sovereign state to be a state within a state. those people are of Rwandan Origin but not banyarwanda. when they came to Uganda they became Ugandans. it is therefore fitting if they retained their Ethinic names like batusi, bahutu or Batwa. Otherwise if we continue to call them Banyarwanda we are to see uganda robbed of its wealth day by day because those people have no love for Uganda since they are banyarwanda. Let Rwandees return to Rwanda we are only ready to retain those who refer to them selves as batusi/ bahutu who are Ugandans.

  10. Ekihaze from Rwanda in Udanda,

    I have not always hadn time to contemplete about where i came from. Does each one of us know where they came from any way? If they do, do they know why they are here? If they do, do they know that they have where they came from? if they do, whose world is it? Lets not cover ourselves with ignorance of Sovereign state -in-State- commonly said by Baganda. Can Buganda exist without other Ugandans? Dear Baganda, if it hurts staying with others, please go bakc to your craddle land- Masaka- there are no other people atleat apart from your brothers.

    Afande Otto, thank you. You are so brilliant. You diserved a rank higher than that. Please, keep teaching foolish people to wake up

  11. Kalamagi Yakub Gowan,

    Better to get back to the genesis of that decision of CA before we criticise.

  12. Emma,

    Banyarwanda were in Uganda as far as by 1910 even b4 Uganda was born i.e n 1962.No wonder we don’t respect our constitution,these guys r clearly recognised in our constitution nt as Bafumbira but Banyarwanda.Statistics has it dat ,they r in 80 districts in Uganda n r d majority tribe n 30 districts.mind u all Rwandese r Banyarwanda bt nt all Banyarwandas r Rwandese.

  13. Kerry Jeff,

    Ladies n Gents, according to the extract, the difference is geography, indeed Bafumbiras are Banyarwanda. think of the time Kisoro was transfered from Beliguim to British jurisdiction in 1926.
    Secondly the mountain ranges in the three countries ie Uganda and DRC.
    Last but not least, ethnically, formally the Belgium, had divided them henceforth the Tutsi, Hutu and Twa.

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  15. Uwizeye Fidel,

    its really amazing am happy to be a mufumbira, i was born in muramba village but i don’t know my clan could any one help me.

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