This is with reference to Sam Kebongo’s column, “Was it in Tanzania’s best interests to expel those poor peasants?”, published in The New Times of August 22.
Tanzania’s current constitution states that all people who were present in 1961 from midnight during Tanganyika’s Independence are legally Tanzanians despite their varied origins.
It is, therefore, beyond comprehension that Rwandans who were in Tanganyika in 1959 and before are now being evicted as ‘illegal’ immigrants!
Why separate spouses, children and families of these poor people?
Furthermore, why is the eviction violent? Why should they strip the poor people of their properties? And why is Tanzania handling the matter unilaterally?
Sam’s article reminded me what happened in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s when German extremists, nationalists, racists, or whatever applies best to describe them, came up against the Jews and other minorities like Gypsies and Poles, and even fellow Germans with opposing political views.
The idea behind President Jakaya Kikwete’s brutality towards Rwandans is deeply rooted in the idea of nationalism as an enabling tool for possible barbaric acts such as genocides and mass expulsions of targeted ethnic minorities in order to get leverage on the political pedestals/power.
I am Ugandan and have lost all the respect I had for President Kikwete.