The current problems between Rwanda and Uganda should be traced from what may be called identity factors.
For clarity of facts, the Ugandan ruling class must be distinguished from the wider Hima clans (the Chwezi clans etc).
This ruling class in Uganda has an identity problem that explains in part, the destabilisation trends Rwanda has experienced for over two decades now.
Geographically and historically, Museveni’s family will find it difficult to disenfranchise themselves from Rwanda.
This is true for other Hima clans near the border with Rwanda whose people will find it difficult not to trace their roots in Rwanda.
As such, this identity drives some of these Hima clans (unlike others aforementioned) to distance themselves from Rwanda by doing all sorts of things un-Rwandan, including hurting their “own” so as to claim legitimacy from the other Hima-Chwezi clans, and through that of larger Ugandan identity.
It is “fight” for dominance and might, though irrelevant at this time and age, but is still so strong for some of them who believe (wrongly) that they are superior and that the rest should simply be subordinate to them.
This has monarchical tendencies of yesteryears, but no doubt is held dear by some for both political and economic reasons.
I am pretty sure that, if there was another Ugandan in leadership in Uganda today, the current hostile trends would not have arisen at all.
The aforementioned identity problem has in effect created what some have called strategic competition where success of one country (read Rwanda) has evoked negative sentiments/emotions, envy, malice, jealousy, and outright hostility that is aimed at minimising /constraining such success instead of this being a motivation of the other to do even better.
This may sound simplistic, but some of us who have lived with and or know this identity problem can objectively attest to this archaic cultural norm that explains destabilisation strategies of Ugandan ruling elite.
This, for instance, can explain Uganda’s refusal to connecting the Northern Corridor SGR railway line project to Kigali, upgrading the high voltage line that was supposed to transport power from Ethiopia through Uganda to Rwanda and refusal to allow RwandAir Fifth Freedom rights to pick passengers from Entebbe to UK.
The same should explain Uganda’s stoppage of exports of minerals through Mombasa as well as Inyange milk containers to Kenya from Rwanda that was to rot at the Ugandan side of the border, ostensibly on orders from above (where above means President Museveni). The latter incidence served to restrain flow of goods across the region thus blocking trade of both Rwanda and Kenya.
Some of us who grew up in Uganda have fresh memories of the tendency by some of these political elite who view themselves as a special breed and the rest are “by-the-ways”.
This is well known so much so that, everything begins and ends with them, the rest being servitude to this group in all facets, social, economic as well as political relationship with the rest.
This tendency has led to attitude of arrogance, and disrespect to the rest “lesser mortals” an attitude that defines the indifference to other peoples’ views and concerns even when these are legitimate and are consequential to them as much as to others.
In fact, the superiority mindset held so close to these political elite and is akin to faith and creed which has defined their antagonistic relationships between these and the rest of Ugandans who can only “eat crumbs from the high table” never mind that such is temporary phenomenon as it is unsustainable.
Some senior RPA (now RDF) officers have memories of the blatant arrogance, disrespect, and abuse by some members of this clique especially after the so-called bush war in 1986 so much so that, it was like they were under a policy/attitude of “use and dump” regardless of the heavy price the young Rwandan fighters paid for the liberation of Uganda.
This superiority complex by this elite that also extends to all other Ugandans where it works such that, “either you are one of us or no entity” is close to extremism we see among extremist fundamentalists who believe that those that do not share their belief should not live.
This has been on for so long and unfortunately it is not about to change, despite this being an archaic cultural trait of such political elite which nevertheless has brought serious political as well as economic consequences to Uganda.
The consequences have been exported to Rwanda in different forms but the Rwandan leadership and Rwandese generally have refused and will resist no matter its price.
The opposite is much more expensive for Rwanda as a country and to Rwandese as a people who as I pointed in the previous article hold so dear the values of (agaciro/dignity/self-respect/ independence) that a Rwandan would die fighting to retain.
Rwanda government affair
The so-called Rwanda dissidents (renegades of/outliers to our system) have espoused and (sold to uninformed audience) a narrative that is cheap/illogical and attention diversion to disguise their imaginary allegation to the effect that all their problems are about President Kagame so as to mask their serious accountability failures (as will be pointed out later).
This is self- seeking, diversionary and illusive to say the least. Assuming they were problems in Rwanda (assumed by these renegades for they are none), nor will there be just because these renegades have invented them for Rwanda and Rwandese save for development challenges facing every country) these are handled by Rwanda’s inclusive governance system and cannot be personalised to President Kagame.
President Kagame works in the context of consensus in all issues from economic, social, political as well security issues.
And so if there are problems these can only be attributed to our governance system and not to the Person of President Kagame as these renegades want uniformed people to believe including their Ugandan supporters/political elitist allies.
These renegades know better our decision making process (that has delivered immensely to Rwandans) for some of them were in this system that most failed to live up due to its highest level of accountability which they could not take due to their individual limitations.
And so, none of them disagreed with President Kagame at all; rather, they failed to agree with the system making them outliers to the same. Nonetheless, this narrative has appealed to and won the hearts of Uganda’s political elite for it is consistent with and in conformity to the destabilisation strategy that has been pursued by these elite for the last two decades.
Listening to people like Tribert Rujugiro, whose machination of state capture is his modus operandi as a business model that can only work in systematic corrupt states and not Rwanda, which is why he had to jump ship.
His only grievance was that the Government of Rwanda could not protect him against South African Interpol arrest warrant executed in London for his multi-million dollar tax evasion scheme in South Africa.
Would any serious government intervene in such criminal action even when the author was warned of the dangers of this very tax evasion?
He now runs a joint venture with President Museveni’s own brother Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho, commonly known as Salim Saleh, in a company called Meridian Tobacco Co in Northern Uganda.
This is only telling of the type of environment where he thrives.
And this is true for all other renegades whose personal shortcomings to our high levels of accountability and morality has been marketed as “disagreement with President Kagame”. It is disagreement with values that define our system of governance. Period!
The rest are deliberate distortions aimed at confusing uninformed audience that sometimes fall prey to such manipulations of facts. The point here is, our system delivers and works for all Rwandese and has been confirmed/certified/validated by authoritative international institutions and other third parties that have the capacity, objectivity and mandate to do so.
So much so that no amount of lies/discounts/distortions/manipulations etc can ever demean nor negate these hard facts.
For these renegades, their allies of evil and uninformed parties, President Kagame has been and is the architect of new Rwanda and an eternal hero, to all Rwandans of goodwill. Whether those who returned home from the most hopeless exile any human being can face who owes him eternal debt of returning them back home (after 1994), and to those who were in Rwanda before 1994, a people defined by all sorts and forms of backwardness and under-development but now enjoy unprecedented living standards.
His heroic actions are an infinite debt Rwandans owe to him and neither these renegades, nor their allies of evil, or any other parties whatsoever will not manage to demean nor discount at will.
Professor Nshuti Manasseh is an expert in Financial Economics.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.