I came back to my beautiful country Rwanda back in early 2008, is the day I realised the necessity of belonging to a specific place, country both at heart and in documentation.
When I attempted to send in the LC 1 letter I obtained from my village in Buikwe which was a pre-requisite for getting a temporally travel document, the hard faced official at the Gatuna border on the Ugandan side looked intently into my face and asked me my tribe and nationality.
After telling him that I am a munyarwanda by tribe and a Ugandan by nationality, the gentleman told me to proceed to the Rwandan side saying that since I am a munyarwanda I don’t need a Ugandan travel document, not knowing that he had just forsaken me.
When I went to the Rwandan side they of course asked me for Rwandan identifications which I didn’t have, after realising that am actually a Ugandan by looking at my identifications they sent me back to the Ugandan side to get a travel permit.
On seeing me the guy vehemently refused to sell me the permit citing that I am a Rwandese disguising to be a Ugandan yet all the documents I had pointed to my Ugandan Nationality at the time, being a country I was born, raised, voted in and studied.
I felt so frustrated, deprived and betrayed by my country, the only country I had known since childhood.
I remembered the guy looking at me straight and telling me he wouldn’t give me a permit and memories of school kids who used to taunt me back then came rushing back.
Having gone through that experience, I regretted as to why I had not applied as a Rwandan through the Rwandan embassy in Uganda because these people were not ready to take me in even if I stayed a hundred years in their country.
Other people have gone through related or similar hustles at border stations, Munyaneza Godfrey said he had to take all his siblings to register to avoid similar challenges in the future.
It is pertinent to register as a citizen of a certain country to avoid regrettable circumstances, and to have a sense of belonging, which gives one a proper ground for national contribution and solidarity.
Unfortunately after a person toils with being a Rwandan national which seems to settle his spirits and his conscience, he again faces the problem of dealing with a foreign name which he or she had no hand in getting but just grew up to hear people calling it to him.
As anyone could know, many people who grew up in foreign countries for instance in Uganda were given Kiganda names or their names were twisted in a way that is convenient to the Kiganda accents, this name persists and finds its way on all of the persons academic and other documents.
Because one has to be consistent in the name he or she has to possess on all papers, the name goes on and on up the time it bars you or makes you go through a hard time getting a passport, since it’s not easy to get a passport with a non-Kinyarwanda name.
It is sometimes straining to get identifications and other required papers but nevertheless it’s worth the toil because they make a person legally belonging to his or her country, and this has been a dream come true to many Rwandans, not mentioning access to facilities like bank loans and travel documents.
Having a people who are organised, committed and focused on the positive goals is the beginning of a country’s strength, the first step at being an organised citizen is through having an Identity card, medical insurance and others.
Documents like a driving permit, passport and others in this category come with clear-cut extra benefits and personal convenience. However it is every one’s right to have them, so they are equally important.