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Day April 6, 2010

Not All Banyarwanda are Rwandese


Dear Ugandans,
1/10 A metaphor: Let me bore you with the little that I attempted to master in the world of knowledge: military science.  Therein, they talk of the principles of war.  One of them is “concentration of effort” on a decisive sector/axis/phase/zone/flank/theatre/front etc.  When you see me concentrating my effort on what I consider to be a critical aspect on the future survival of the country, do not consider it to be a mere fixation.
2/10 Like I have always said, Mmengoist chauvinism more than anything else will send Uganda to her grave.  Just make a quick glance at the country’s history and you will appreciate that the Corporal is not merely fixated on Buganda matters.
3/10 On Rwanda/Banyarwanda/Rwandese, we have been at here before.   Just a few points to raise:  It is not true that “…the population of Rwanda….is 30 million…”.  The population of Rwanda is just above 10 million (Rwandese or Banyarwanda of Rwanda).  The population of Kinyarwanda speakers (Banyarwanda in general) is up to 30 million.

4/10 What is true is that the population of Banyarwanda, that is the people who speak Kinyarwanda are anything from 20 to 25 million and they occupy lands that by far exceed the domain of Rwanda Republic.  They occupy those lands as indigenes, and not as migrants.
5/10 When the space that was occupied by Banyarwanda was partitioned following the Berlin conference, some found themselves left out of the new country called Rwanda (whose Banyarwanda citizens are called Rwandese), while others were left by the partition in Tanzania, Uganda and DRC.  The Banyarwanda of Uganda are to be found in Kisoro district which was transferred from Rwanda to Uganda in 1926 in an agreement between the British and the Belgians.  They live there as an ethnic group of Uganda.  They are not immigrants as you seem to indicate below.  They are not Rwandese, they are Ugandans.
6/10 What tended to happen after the partition of the region was that the Banyarwanda population that ended up in another country outside Rwanda was named after the volcanic mountains close to which they lived.  The Banyarwanda of Uganda were henceforth called the “Bafumbira” because they lived near Mufumbiro Ranges; those of DRC were called the Banyamulenge (living near Mulenge Ranges of DRC), Banyamasisi (of Masisi ranges) and Banyarutushuru (near Rutshuru, DRC).  The aim was to distinguish them from the Banyarwanda who became citizens of Rwanda, that it, the Rwandese.
7/10 It is only recently during the process of making the 1995 Uganda constitution that the Banyarwanda of Kisoro district rejected the idea of being named after the anthill in their neighbourhood and reclaimed their ethnic label of Banyarwanda, as opposed to the pejorative “Bafumbira”.  The Constitutional Review Commission headed by Professor Sempebwa subsequently noted that, ‘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.’ As you know, the Banyarwanda are now ethnic group No. 20 of Uganda as you would find in the 1995 constitution.

8/10 Those Banyarwanda are different from the ones that migrated to Uganda, particularly in Buganda, from the 1920s in search of employment opportunities, but most importantly, fleeing from the oppressive regime of the Belgians/forced labour compared to Uganda’s salaried labour.  Labour reports of the late 1930s/early 40s show that in Lugazi and Kakira sugar plantations, the ratio of migrants from Ruanda/Urundi to labourers from west Nile was 8250: 2747 for Lugazi and 10,200:3738 for Kakira (Labour Report 1941).  Many flowed into Buganda to address the labour shortage that was occasioned by enlistment of large numbers of Baganda for military service during the great wars.  The Buganda economy was to subsequently rely heavily on those immigrants many of whom settled and were naturalised.  These are the Banyarwanda of Buganda who in places like Masaka, may be anything up to 40% of the population.  You may have heard of Buganda MPs like Claver Mutuluza, Higiro Semajege, Nshimye Buturo etc.  Overall in Buganda, they are anything up to 12% of the population.  These Banyarwanda were subjected to serious persecution by the government in 1982/3 especially in Masaka and Rakai.

9/10 Many of you always mix all those groups with the refugees that flowed into Uganda from 1959, i.e., the Rwandese many of whom found their way back to Rwanda in 1990.  Childish/ignorant/Interahamweist talk here at UAH always wants to couch the Banyankore, especially the cattle-keeping caste, the Hima as Rwandese just because Rwanda/Urundi also has a cattle keeping caste called the Tutsi.

10/10 Note that, even other ethnic groupings were fragmented by the border.  The largest clan of the Acholi, the Palotaka is to be found in Parajok/kit/owiny Kibul etc areas of Eastern Equatoria province of Sudan.  There are no complications with the Acholi because we did not get a country called “Acholi” after Berlin.  Unfortunately for the Banyarwanda of Uganda etc, there is a sovereign state named after their ethnicity, hence the confusion over their identity whereever they are.  As you know, all 19 ethnic communities along the Uganda frontier are bisected…and straddle the border.

Lance Corporal (Rtd) Patrick Otto

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Museveni has done some things for Uganda despite his errors in leadership


Dear Ugandans at heart
That is the folly done by the opposition today. They do not give credit where it is due and think that the population is not watching. Yes, some roads were built in the early sixities, but not all major roads. If all major roads were constructed in the 60s, why did Mityana-Mubende-Fortportal only get tarmac under the NRM regime? Why did Karuma-Arua (over300kms) only get tarmacked under the NRM regime? Why did Busunju-Kiboga-Hoima (230kms) only get tarmacked under the NRM regime? Why did Mbarara-Ntungamo-Rukungiri only get tarmacked under the NRM regime? Why did Mbale-Tirinyi only get tarmacked under the NRM regime? Why did Kafu-Masindi only get tarmacked recently? and the question arises-which major roads were tarmacked before NRM came to power apart from the eastern route to Kenya and Tororo? Tarmac is now going up to the UG/Sudan border, Mbale-Sironko-Kapchorwa is also tarmac, Fortportal-Bundibugyo is being worked on, Gayaza-Zirobwe, Gayaza-Kalagi, Matugga-Semuto-Kapeeka are all being tarmacked. I think this poor roads thing is over hyped big time as if people are not watching! And overall, even the opposition should admit, highways are in a good condition, far better than NRM found them in 1986. The only bad roads are surprisingly in the urban areas.I am sure about my statistics, the area where you branch off the Mbale-Soroti road to Sironko, through Sironko town onwards to Kapchorwa was tarmacked between 1998 and 2000.

I did not mention the roads that were re-tarmacked soon after NRM came to power, but i think i should. Almost all roads, apart from Mbale-Soroti, Iganga-Kaliro and Jinja-Kamuli were resurfaced as soon as NRM came to power. Here i am talking about Kampala-Luwero-Karuma, Kampala-Masaka-Mbarara, Kampala-Jinja-Bugiri up to the borders, Kampala-Mityana and Kampala-Busunju and nearly those were the only tarmacked roads around-the ones that you people hype about.
I did not even tell you that even in Kampala here, tarmac was only in the city center and Kololo. Note that roads like Lugogo bypass, Mulago by-pass, Kitante road (was a potholed one way) Makerere, all those roads around Lubiri, Entebbe-Namasuba (was one way) Kampala-Bukoto-Nitnda-tarmac stopped at Kira road police station did not have tarmac! If you doubt, i will give you more examples.
They argue that tarmacking does not tatamount to constructing a road, i say they are wrong. At the moment for example, it costs sh15m to maintain a km of murram roads, however it costs sh800m to tarmac the same km. So note the difference.

Then the opposition talks about the major schools that have collapsed, and you wonder. Did students in secondary and University have better choices in the 60s and 70s than they have today? Is there a general lack of quality schools for students today? The answer is no. The NRM policy of liberalizing education has encouraged private investors to construct as many schools as possible and most of them are quality. When NRM came to power in 1986, the distance a child walked to the nearest primary school was 5kms in urban areas and 15kms in rural areas. It has reduced to just 1km in urban areas and 5kms in rural areas. There is a good spread of Universities too. For example, a university student in Gulu applies to study at Gulu University, a university student in Tororo applies to study at Busitema University, a University student in the west applies to study at Mbarara University and i am not mentioning the tens of private universities accross the country.

About schools, i will give you an example of Kisaasi were i live. The nearest secondary schools at the time were Kololo SSS and Kololo High. If one wanted, you could walk to Kawempe 10kms away also. Today, there are six top secondary schools in Kisaasi surburb alone. There are also seven top Primary schools, against 1 in 1986! what do you call that???????

The opposition have talked about how in the 70s, students at all levels were more enlightened (literally) than today. The juror is still out on that one. However, i may argue that during those days, a village did not have so many children going to school. In that case, it was difficult to draw comparisons. As early as the 80s, getting a Degree was a very big occassion in the village! Today, that has been demysfied because many people are going to school. In Mid Februrary, Kyambogo graduated and my zone in Kisaasi alone had 7 graduation parties!
The opposition have also said that government does not know what it is doing by closing UTCs and NTCs. However, what they are forgetting is that NTCs were started (they were 10) in the mid 80s to cater for two problems, one was to reduce the deficit of teachers in the country while the other was to take care of the thousands of A-level leavers who were not joining University. Remember there was only one University (Makerere) that admitted less than 2,000 students every year. Joining it was like drinking Nvinyo on the same table with God…..
However, after the opening up of more universities, many of these institutions became irrelevant. The over 30 universities in the country today can accommodate many of the students who used to do Diplomas and certificates for degree courses. These universities now pass out graduate teachers instead of Grade V (Diploma holders) .But also note that these institutions were not closed but up graded. For example, ITEK Kyambogo became a University, Busitema became a University, Masaka Technical College became a University, NTC Mubende is now a study center for Nkozi University, Unyama is also a study center for Nkozi University.
Joshua Kato
Newvision Journalist
UAH forumist


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