I read with grief the article, “The untold story of Tanzania evictees”, published in The New Times of September 10.
I sincerely feel sorry for our brothers and sisters of both Rwanda’s origin and Tanzanians who have found themselves victims of President Kikwete’s decision to expel legitimate inhabitants of Tanzania.
Now the essence and objective of President Kikwete is crystal clear. According to the victims, the goal is to expel to ‘‘Rwandan’’ people with “long noses”, “big ears” and “visible ribs”.
Anyone with such features is a Tutsi, according to the powers that be in Dar es Salaam. This brings back the memories of what actually happened in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi when innocent people were ruthlessly massacred simply because of how they were born.
Like it or not, there are chilling stark similarities between what happened in Rwanda during the Genocide and what is happening in Tanzania now.
First, the expulsion decision is based on an inherent ideology.
Second, the decision was made by the highest office (the President’s office).
Third, public speeches were made to sensitise and incite hatred between a people who previously lived side by side in harmony.
Fourth, people especially young men, were prepared/trained to implement such decisions (Mgambo/Sungusungu and the Tanzanian police and army [now]; and then the Interahamwe militia and the Rwandan police and army [in 1994]).
Fifth, physical features (noses, ears, face, and interestingly, in Tanzania, they are even measuring the length of ribs) were used as means of identifying the victims. That is why Wazinza, Wasubi, Washubi, Wanyambo, some Wahaya, very soon Wakerewe, Wanyamwezi, and Waha will have to endure psychological torture in their motherland. Wambulu, Wanyaturu, Wamasai, Wameru and Wamachame are safe only because their regions do not share borders with Rwanda.
Sixth, both traditional and modern weapons were used to torture or maim the victims during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda and in the ongoing expulsions of perceived Rwandans in Tanzania.
Seventh, the victims were forced out of their properties and some lost lives (although on a far greater scale during the Genocide).
Eighth, both leaderships meant to carry on with this dangerous campaign for a long time, even if it means exporting it across their borders…hence President Kikwete’s decision to send forces into DRC in the ultimate hope of riding Congo of Tutsis.
Given this situation, therefore, it is unlikely the current negotiations between the M23 rebels and DRC government will bear fruit because, according to supporters of President Joseph Kabila, M23 members are Rwandans or at least are of Rwandan descent and should therefore be dispatched to Rwanda at once just like what is happening in Tanzania!.
Truth be told; as long as some among the top leaders in the Great Lakes region still harbour hatred and resentment towards a section of their own people simply because of how they were born (read genocide ideology), we may never experience peace.
Peter Mangate, Rusumo
This is very unfortunate to Rwandans and Tanzanians alike; it’s unbelievable how Tanzania is treating the so-called illegal immigrants. There are international laws and basic human rights that need to be respected but they have all been discarded in a dustbin.
I wonder how a country like Tanzania with otherwise good people can treat innocent people in such an inhumane manner. Where is the government in all this? Does President Kikwete get briefed on what is going on? If yes, does he really verify the information he gets?
Yet I am sure he does and knows what is going on.
Where is the self-righteous Human Rights Watch? It looks like for these so-called rights watchers its okay for Rwandans or perceived Rwandans to suffer and have their rights triumphed upon!
But no, Rwandans should never give up; they should rather continue to stand up for their rights and the rights of others. I’m sure others will gradually join in this peaceful struggle for right to survival and dignity.
Rwandans should carry on with the task of building their country through the laid out economic agenda and avoid distraction from those who want to derail us from taking the economy to another level as well as transforming the social well-being, health and education for the better.
Mark Loger, Kigali