East Africa

Why Uganda Should Boycott CHOGM 2020 to Be Held in Rwanda

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By Sam Evidence

Kabale

The memories of our people who have been shot and killed by the Rwandan police and army are still fresh in our minds.
Rwanda should host CHOGM without Uganda attending as according to Sam Evidence.

The Bakiga have philosophical proverbs. One of them is “Otakwesire tomukurata” meaning you cannot escort or follow someone who has not invited you. Another one is ” otarakukunda tarahurira ebyevugo byawe” meaning someone who doesn’t like you cannot listen to your stories. It’s been good months since Rwanda closed it’s borders with Uganda.

A press statement was released by Rwanda revenue authority that the road to Kigali was under construction and therefore traffic was stopped in order to allow the construction to take place without interruptions.

We got to know that the issues were beyond constructions after several outbursts from the Rwandan president through press conferences he addressed and other speeches he made at different occasions. His statements revealed to us that there was something not pleasing him and some of allegations were not true as they lacked proof.

Since then, Uganda has remained peaceful and friendly to Rwanda even when the Rwandan army has shot and killed Ugandan citizens at different border points. It’s very good to note that, each time Uganda gets any Rwandan in crime some of which are capital offences, the accused are deported without harassing them or mistreating them. We have acted like how an old brother would treat his siblings even when the siblings disturb him so much.

At one time our people died and the foreign affairs ministry took weeks without releasing any statement. Actually they’ve never released any, it’s the government spokesperson that made a statement but it was also done after some time and after Ugandans demanded it.

The Rwandan News paper called ‘the New times publication’ has since then indulged in our country’s affairs and they’ve been writing propaganda against Uganda and President Museveni.

At one moment they wrote that Uganda had given homage to the Rwandese rebels who were intending to over throw the Rwandan government. They’ve at the same time insulted President Museveni openly without shame, something so irritating and regrettable to us the citizens of Uganda.

Nevertheless, Uganda is a home of millions of Rwandan refugees and those living outside camps. Ugandans who live in near the refugee camps say those Refugees are cared for more than the citizens of Uganda and I think I saw it in the Ugandan news one time.

The Rwandans argue that the citizens who live in refugee camps in Uganda are criminals who have refused to return home. I don’t know when they turned into criminals and which offence they have committed. Some of the Rwandans are actually not refugee camps but they’re living peacefully in Uganda just like other Ugandans, some own shops, others are doing business and they’re progressing.

Before the borders were closed, Uganda was the food basket of Kigali and the entire Rwanda. I went to my village in Rubanda one day and I was told how Rwandan businessmen would buy Irish potato gardens even before the irishes would be ready for harvest.

I think this happened because there was alot of demand back in Rwanda and because of trustworthiness of Ugandans. The food prices in Uganda have since then dropped and farmers are crying of low prices on the agricultural produce. This is something that directly affects the economy of our country which is being done by a fellow East Africa member and CHOGM member.

The Katuna boarder post was famous for business in Kabale. Most businessmen did their activities from the border through exchanging currencies, and some selling food products. Their business have since then closed and some are taking other options in order to earn a living.
I was also told about students who were stopped from coming back to Uganda to continue with their education. Some missed exams and their courses have since then been halted in the Universities of Uganda. Some students opted to remain in Uganda until they’re done with their education.

Those who couldn’t manage decided to leave, I don’t know if their education has continued or if they decided to leave education completely.

This internationally is a violation of human rights because every child has a right to education and they have the rights to make a choice of where to acquire that education from.

The President of Uganda went to Angola for signing of an MoU with Rwandan government officials, the details in that MoU implicated Rwanda on a number wrongs against Uganda. I think they signed to agree that those crimes/mistakes would not be happening once again.

However a week after, the New times Publication newspaper carried a story against our president and Country. This means that they never respected what their president signed while in Angola and were not ready to act as they promised and signed.

Rwanda has chosen to be a bad neighbor to a country that fathered it’s revolution that put the current leadership into power. I don’t know if the current leadership works to the expectation of all citizens of Rwanda that’s a story for another day but they were not supposed to betray Uganda.

On top of being the emmediate neighbors and with citizens who are related in both countries, Uganda jointly worked together with Rwanda to solve a number of leadership and security issues that Rwanda was facing . I think history has all that and the Rwanda citizens are aware of that.

The history of Uganda gives details of how Tanzania under the leadership of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere assisted Uganda to overthrow dictator Idi Amin who killed many Ugandans who were opposed to his government.

The relationship of Uganda and Tanzania has since then remained very strong and smooth. We would have acted inhuman if at one time we betrayed Uganda. I want appreciate President Museveni for keeping that smooth relationship which is known even to the most local Tanzanian. It’s always wrong to forget where you came from.. because once you do so, you’re communicating that you don’t know where you’re heading to.

President Museveni, in one of his speeches recently said, that he treats every African as his relative. It doesn’t matter if that person has a biological attachment with him but the fact that he or she is an African then he is a relative to president Museveni. That means that he doesn’t feel happy when an African is suffering. This is so true because when everyone was afraid of helping Somalia deal with Alshabab terrorists, President Museveni took the UPDF to Somalia and that Country has since then got relieved of war and killings of the innocent citizens. Other African countries later followed him and took their soldiers to Somalia to fight the terrorists. With that statement and the underlying evidence I think President Museveni doesn’t feel happy when any Rwandan is suffering. I remember one day when he went to Rwanda and he donated good millions of dollars to help on construction of a school in Rwanda. Actually that act of generosity was criticized by most opposition members here in Uganda and they’ve never felt happy about it because most of them are ideologically disoriented.

I’ve grown to learn that someone with a good heart can’t manage to hide it, at one time his actions will make people know him or her. Similarly, Someone with a bad heart can’t hide it, At one moment he will do or say something that will expose him to those who didn’t know him. I think God created human beings well knowing that they will pretend he then gave them emotions and characters, it’s those that we read to understand particular human beings.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government summit meeting that will attract heads of government from all Common wealth member states will take place in Rwanda in 2020. I feel Uganda should boycott that meeting because we’ve several wounds on our hearts and those wounds are caused by Rwanda. The Ugandans who have been murdered by the Rwandan army haven’t got justice. The families who lost their loved ones haven’t got satisfying reasons as to why their relatives were murdered. Why then should we keep massaging someone who has no mercy for our citizens.? What shall we discuss in a meeting hosted by people who own guns that killed our people? What shall we discuss in a meeting hosted by a country which own a newspaper that openly tells lies and insult our president unapologetically and disrespectfully? I think we would be betraying our spirit of patriotism and the souls of people who have lost their lives at the hands of unprofessional Rwandan security officers who shoot to kill unarmed civilians.

I think the aims of CHOGM should be Unity first and also ensuring peace and stability in member states. Respecting the sovereignty of each member state and ensuring respect of human rights in each member states. In instances where someone hosting the summit has openly violeted all that, I think the members should have no genuine to attend the summit because they will have no reason to do so. Unless they intend to show that CHOGM has lost meaning and importance.

I also hope that during the CHOGM summit, Rwanda will satisfyingly explained why the Katuna border is closed. I hope the Rwandans will tell if they’re happy and peacefully living in their own country, and also hope that they will know why it’s criminal to cross to Uganda and vice versa.

The writer is an aspiring Western youth member of Parliament.

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