Tuesday 18 May 2021
Home      All news      Contact us      RSS      English
newtimes - 1 month ago

Wrong’s book proves to be Kampala’s double-edged sword

Kampala finds itself in a pickle when it comes to Michela Wrong’s book. All indications suggest that they had a hand in it from the beginning: the idea of the book and the funding for it apparently came from the highest authorities in Kampala. However, now Kampala finds itself in an uncomfortable place of having to decide whether to promote or not to promote their book. Last week on April 15, Kampala’s state newspaper, The New Vision, published an article title “Michela Wrong wrong on Banyarwanda in the NRA.” The article aimed to discredit Michela’s book particularly on this subject of the contribution of the Banyarwanda to the NRA bush war that started in 1981 and brought Museveni to power in January 1986. In her book, Wrong portrayed the Banyarwanda in the NRA as a decisive factor in the success of the liberation of Uganda and in handing Museveni - who she says was “militarily dependent” on them- power. The article goes on to dismiss only this part of the book as fiction. Officials in Kampala seem to have had sleepless nights over that chapter given how low they have gone in naming the NRA officers to show that they were not Banyarwanda. The role of Banyarwanda in NRA is well-known and the listing of names to prove that someone is a Munyarwanda, Muganda, Musoga, or Munyankore is futile. For instance, President Museveni is on record saying that he was suprised that many of the officers who left on October 1990 were Banyarwanda. He said he had thought people like Gen Sam Kaka, the former chief of staff of the RPA, was a Ugandan and that he also had thought Col Adam Wasswa, the gallant fighter who fell in battle in Mutara, was a Munyarwanda. If Museveni himself had confused Banyarwanda for Ugandans, then who can claim to know the true identity of fighters in the NRA, hence the listing of real Ugandans is absurd to say the least. “In any case, we did not know that many of these boys were Banyarwanda since they used to hide their identity,” Museveni said in October 1990 after returning from the UN General Assembly meeting following the departure of Banyarwanda fighters, “I would like to make it clear that we did not know about the desertions of those boys. Nor do we support them.” Moreover, there have been so many intermarriages between Banyarwanda and Ugandans as a result of migration since the colonial period in the 1930s that one of Museveni’s political advisors, David Mafabi, once wrote that it is almost impossible to find a Ugandan family that doesn’t have a Munyarwanda relative. Further, as a result of so many decades of persecution, Banyarwanda in Uganda had to change their identity to assimilate as Ugandans and they remain with those identities up to this day. In fact, many of those Banyarwanda who had changed their identity ended up in the NRA to escape persecution. President Museveni himself has faced similar persecution. In the 1980 when he stood for parliament in Mbarara he was harassed by his political opponents who challenged him to show them the grave site of his grandfather as proof of his Ugandan identity. Indeed, up to this day many Ugandans believe he is one of the millions of Banyarwanda who have passed themselves off as Ugandans. During the NRA War President Obote told The BBC that Museveni was a refugee. It is unfortunate that the ideological bankruptcy that has had Banyarwanda persecuted in Uganda continues to this day, even to the point where those who were its victims have turned out to do the exact same things that were used against them - arrest and detention without charge, torture, and deportation. In the 1980s Obote returned many people that he suspected of being Banyarwanda, including those who had thought that they had successfully taken up Ugandan identity. In the history of Uganda, those who have made any group of people, even the Banyarwanda, a political issue worthy of hostile policy have done so after running out of ideas for governing the country. It is simply cheap politics that doesn’t belong in the 21st Century. As for the Michela Wrong book, it is surprising that they suddenly find it unacceptable because the author suggests that Museveni would not be in power without the central role the Banyarwanda played. Whether they were “the fiercest element of the NRA” as Wrong says and the authorities in Kampala are struggling to refute, is for them to debate because fierce fighters tend to talk less preferring action to words. Like Andrew Mwenda wrote, Wrong’s “hatchet job” is a fraud that cannot stand to scrutiny. But even a dead clock is correct twice a day. At least one can point to a particular event, two or three, as proof of the fierceness of Banyarwanda fighters.


Latest News
Hashtags:   

Wrong

 | 

proves

 | 

Kampala

 | 

double

 | 

edged

 | 

sword

 | 

Sources