- The Banyarwanda and the land issues are insuperable
The current land grabbing legalization drive through constitutional amendment is part of a long term Tutsi occupational strategy hatched from the 1950s immediately the Rwandan asylum seekers were accommodated in Uganda.
The segmented strategy consists of assimilation into the indigenous communities, building a strong military base, winning political and administrative powers and taking over economic and financial might which is all archived over subduing indigenous tribes.
This strategy targets occupation of an entire region (Uganda, DRC, South Sudan and parts of Tanzania)
This is a long article detailing the history and facts linking Museveni Tutsi/Rwanda merciless strategies to grab land and literally wipe out all indigenous societies in the above region.
Under the guise of commercial farming, Museveni’s scheme is to deprive indigenous communities of their land and hoard them into urban centres so that they lose their respective community identities to the advantage of Banyarwanda refuges.
Background: The refuge influx
Between the 16th and 19th Centuries, there existed the state of Mpororo which stretched to parts of the present day Ankole, Kigezi and Rwanda. Its ruling family has close ties with the ruling families of the Tutsi in the ancient kingdom of Rwanda.
The collapse of the State of Mpororo gave rise to the Kingdom of Ankole which incorporated some of Mpororo territories.
In the pre-colonial Kingdom of Rwanda, Tutsi occupied higher strata in the social system while the Hutu occupied a lower strata. The Kingdom was ruled by a Tutsi monarchy and the Tutsi were cattle keepers while the Hutu were cultivators. A Hutu could be assimilated into Tutsi if he accumulated wealth in terms of cattle in a process called Kwihutura and a poor Tutsi could be regarded as a Hutu. By comparison, the Tutsi are the equivalent of Hima in Ankole or Balangira in Buganda while the Hutu are the equivalent of Bairu in Ankole and Bakopi in Buganda.
During the Partition of Africa by colonialists, some Banyarwanda were left out of the original Rwanda empire. Those who remained under the Belgium Congo in areas of Mulenge Hills came to be known as Banyamulenge and those in areas of Rushuru and Misisi came to be known as Banyarushuru and Banyamisisi respectively.
Those near the Bufumbira ranges came to be known as Bafumbira when the present-day Kisoro was added to Uganda in 1918. In the early 1920s some Banyarwanda, mainly Hutu and a few Tutsi, escaped Belgian colonial repression and Tutsi enforced labour and fled to Uganda. These were mainly petty Tutsi cattle herders and majority Hutu agriculturalists. The estimated 120,000 migrants settled mainly in the South Western region of Buganda and some parts of Ankole and Kigezi as farm laborers. The 1921 census report identified Banyarwanda as a tribe in Uganda after Kisoro had been added on Uganda in 1918.
In 1926 the Belgian colonialists in Rwanda made some reforms in labour laws where by, subjects were allowed to seek employment abroad.
Many Banyarwanda, more especially Hutu who were under the yoke of forcefully working for Tutsi under the Ubuhake arrangement left Rwanda for Tanzania, Uganda, and Congo. The exodus of Banyarwanda continued through the 1930s and 1940s but this time as economic immigrants.
They were coming in search of economic survival by way of casual labour and settled in Buganda, Ankole, Busoga, Kigezi, Tooro, and Bunyoro. They worked on fields of agriculture, construction, local government, industries, ginning, cattle herding, forestry, fishing, Kilembe Copper Mines, sugar and cotton plantations in Busoga etc.
Hutus assimilated in Buganda while Tutsi assimilated in Ankole through intermarriage with Hima. They took on local names and clans, spoke the local languages, intermarried and acquired land as tenants (Bakopi).
Together with their Burundian cousins, they were actively involved in the Baganda led Bataka Movement that was agitating for land rights. It was a coalition of indigenous Baganda peasants, tenants and labourers (Abapakasi) seeking land rights. In the 1940s, almost 35% of migrants in Buganda were from Burundi and Rwanda.
From the foregoing, it can be authoritatively argued that up to the late 1950s Banyarwanda in Uganda were of two categories.
First were the indigenous Banyarwanda who had been made part of Uganda by colonial boundaries demarcations like in the case of those from Kisiro who chose to call themselves Bafumbira.
Then there were the migrants who came to look for economic opportunities and mostly settled in Buganda and Ankole.
Between 1952 and 1959, the Belgian colonialists began putting in place political reforms in preparation for relinquishing their hold on Rwanda.
The Tutsi formed a Union Nationale Du Rwanda (UNAR) as a pro monarchy movement. The Hutu had earlier formed the Party for the Emancipation of Hutu (PARMHUTU). The reforms by Belgians challenged the status quo of the Tutsi establishment/monarchy.
In early November 1959, Tutsi UNAR youth wingers attacked a prominent Hutu Sub Chief, Mbonyiumutwa, but he managed to escape. However, rumours spread that he had been killed. Consequently, Hutu resorted to reprisal attacks against the Tutsi. The violence marked the start of an uprising that has been branded a Hutu Peasant Revolution. It marked the beginning of the end of Tutsi domination and opened a new chapter of Hutu/Tutsi ethnic tensions.
Hundreds of Tutsi were killed, property was destroyed and thousands fled to Congo and Uganda. The Belgians worked with the Tutsi monarchy to take control of the late ugly 1959 situation.
Prior to the arrival of Banyarwanda refugees in late 1959, earlier during the same year government conducted a census that revealed that Banyarwanda in Uganda were the sixth largest ethnic group after Baganda, Iteso, Banyankole, Basoga, and Bakiga.
This earlier Banyarwanda migrants’ arrival provided a local texture into which the new arrivals, refugees could merge. The demand for labour and the physical appearance had helped intermarriage but the tag of foreigners endured thus they were a prey to political machinations.
In October 2009 during the AU summit on refugees in Kampala, Museveni argued that; ” why don’t we think of refugees outside camps because land will not always be there”.
Earlier before 2009, the Belgians in Rwanda had notified their British counterparts in Uganda about a planned exodus of Tutsi from Rwanda to Uganda.
The British colonialists passed Legal Notice No. 311 of 1959 declaring any such people unwelcome and illegal in Uganda. The Governor, Sir Charles Hartwell addressed the LEGCO (Parliament) thus
“…there was no political persecution in Rwanda. The Tutsi who are fleeing Rwanda were either misinformed about the situation in Rwanda or were political criminals.”
Members of the LEGCO from the areas where the fleeing Tutsi were settling, Ankole and Kigezi, the likes of Hon. Bikangaga, Hon Katiiti and Hon Babiiha supported the protectorate government. However, the LEGCO members from the north and eastern regions like Hon. Milton Obote, Hon. Obwangor, and Hon. Nadiope vehemently opposed the protectorate government.
On 29th February 1960, Dr. Milton Obote moved a motion on the floor of LEGCO calling for the revocation of Tutsi Immigration Rule, thus;
“…. the rule of terror was so bad that the people of Rwanda wanted to seek safety somewhere. A number of them wanted to be refugees in Uganda. But I wish the house to know that they did not come as ordinary immigrants. They were running away from acts of violence which were the order of the day in their country. Indeed, these people are kinsmen of the people of Ankole of Uganda and the only thing that anyone of them could do was to go to his fellow brother to seek for his safety. I am pleading for the whole of the Batutsi tribe who came to Uganda to seek for safety. I am pleading for the case of a people who are now being ruled by another race. I am pleading for the principle of offering asylum to those who need it.”
Those against, argued that
“…….it was impossible to accommodate such a big number of illegal immigrants with their cattle anywhere in the country, especially since western Uganda was already overstocked, overgrazed, lacked water, and the cattle the Tutsi brought with them were diseased and would spread disease in the country.” The motion was defeated.
In 1961 the UN supervised elections in Rwanda were won by the Hutu party, PARPEHUTU. Violent ethnic clashes ensued and more refugees fled to Uganda, Tanzania, Congo and Burundi.
Around that time, the British in Uganda were also grappling with political violence and instability in some parts of Buganda, Bukedi, Bugisu, and Tooro. However, Refugee Reception Centres were set up at Kamweezi in Kigezi and Kizinga in Rwampara.
Some refugees dodged these reception centres by simply going straight to their relatives who had arrived much earlier and settled in Ankole and Kigezi.
In 1960 the Uganda government put in place a law, Control of Alien Refugee Act 1960 which prevented these refugees from accessing citizenship by naturalization.
S.18 stipulated that;
“No period spent in Uganda as a refugee shall be deemed to be a qualification for being a resident of Uganda.”
In Rwanda, the Tutsi King, Kigeri was deposed and he fled to Uganda where he was a guest of the Kabaka of Buganda, Muteesa who at that time was the President of Uganda.
In July 1961 Tutsi refugees in Uganda under the umbrella organisation, INYENZI attacked Rwanda but were repulsed. They attacked again in May 1962 and were repulsed again. The Uganda government warned the refugees against using Uganda as a base to attack Rwanda.
In all the attacks, the Tutsi inside Rwanda were left vulnerable to reprisal attacks and hence more were fleeing.
In 1962 the government set up the first refugee camps at Nakivaale in Ankole. The deposed Rwanda King’s loyalists, ABADAHEMUKA linked with the Kabaka’s party, KY (Kabaka Yeka) at a time when there was friction between Buganda and the central government over lost counties.
In March 1963, Prime Minister, Milton Obote warned refugees against incursions into Rwanda thus;
“If hospitality is abused, we have no alternative but to withdraw the protection we granted to these people.”
In late 1963, the then Minister of Community Development, Kalule Ssetalla told Parliament that thousands of Tutsi refugees had been continuing to pour into Uganda with tens of thousands of their heads of cattle.
During the same year, government set up Oruchinga and Ibuga refugee camps in Ankole and Kasese, respectively. The following year, in 1964, four more camps were set up at Kahunge, Rwamwanja and Kyaka in Tooro and Kyangwali in Bunyoro.
With the fall out between the central government and Buganda Kingdom, the UPC government under Prime Minister Obote expelled the Tutsi King Kigeri who relocated to Kenya. The pressure had also come from Hutu refugees for the government to prevail over Tutsi invasion of Rwanda.
The law of refugees was also amended to prohibit anyone from keeping refugees without permission from government. Refugees were also required to stay in designated refugee settlements. The Director of Refugees was also given powers to deport any refugee who violated the law and those who did not meet the asylum criteria.
In setting up the camps, the government had anticipated that the refugees would stay for a short time and return to Rwanda.
Between 1960 and 1964, half of an estimated 120,000 Tutsi who fled Rwanda came to Uganda. Some 40,000 went to Burundi, 60,000 went to Congo, 35,000 came to Uganda and 15,000 went to Tanzania. By 1967 about 300,000 Tutsi and a few Hutu elites had fled Rwanda. In 1968 Oxfam International appealed to the International community for a special fund to help in the repatriation of Banyarwanda refugees.
The refugees did not show any interest of repatriating and the government got convinced that they were bent on remaining in Uganda. The then Information Minister, Adoko Nekyon, told the OAU summit in Lagos, “……Uganda has no alternative but to send these people away, unless Uganda receives help.” He added that the same refugees were selling off government assistance to buy arms and to raise money for King Kigeri’s upkeep in Kenya.
The hospitality and generosity by locals also ran out due to a number of factors. In Buganda, the peasants called on government to expel Banyarwanda whom they accused of taking their land.
In Ankole, the rivalry was based on the ethnic connection between the low caste, Baitu/Hutu and the high caste Hima/Tutsi alliances.
The predominantly Catholic DP (Democratic Party) alliance with the predominantly Catholic Banyarwanda refugees against the predominantly Protestant UPC was another factor.
The UPC government banned Banyarwanda refugees from having ID cards and taking on government jobs. UPC also planned for a countrywide census of indigenous Banyarwanda but before it could be implemented, Iddi Amin overthrew the UPC government in 1971.
The violent political crisis in Rwanda triggered a fresh exodus of Tutsi refugees from Rwanda. Between 500,000 – 600,000 Banyarwanda Tutsi refugees were spread throughout the Great Lakes region but not all of them were registered under the UNHCR. Uganda had only 82,000 registered refugees.
Iddi Amin invited, welcomed, and hosted King Kigeri from Kenya and settled him in Kampala. Banyarwanda refugees were allowed to join the public service, the security forces including the dreaded Public Safety Unit (PSU) and State Research Bureau (SRB) where a number of Banyarwanda was dominant. It is a fact that the Banyarwanda spies under the Iddi Amin regime helped in containing the activities of the anti-Iddi Amin dissidents and in particular the 1972 invasion from Tanzania.
Note: The forward base of the Tanzania based dissidents had been Kagera region which is another Banyarwanda stronghold. The Banyarwanda refugees in the security agencies terrorised and murdered perceived regime opponents. It’s during the Iddi Amin regime that a number of Banyarwanda refugees managed to get out of refugee settlements and acquire land, jobs and business enterprises and guns.
In 1978, Iddi Amin blamed the Banyarwanda refugees for sabotaging government’s political and economic policies. He reverted to the 1971 order by deposed President Obote for all refugees to register with government and to be confined in settlement camps. As had been the case with Obote in 1971, even before Iddi Amin could implement this directive, he was overthrown in April 1979.
Meanwhile, Museveni who had been involved in anti-Amin campaigns had managed to recruit a Munyarwanda refugee, Fred Rwigyema in 1976 from Mbarara High School whom he took to Tanzania as part of his 28 man FRONASA that he claims to have got training in Mozambique. In 1978 when the Tanzanian troops crossed the Uganda/Tanzania border against Iddi Amin, Museveni recruited a number of Banyarwanda refugees from the refugee settlements of Nakivaale and Oruchinga. By the time the war against Iddi Amin ended, Museveni’s FRONASA had a sizeable number of Hima and Banyarwanda refugees.
During the process of reconstructing the new post Iddi Amin Uganda army, it was agreed that Banyarwanda refugees should be eliminated on account of their being non-citizens. Consequently, a number of Banyarwanda refugees including Fred Rwigyema were dropped.
Paul Kagame survived because at that time he was attending a military intelligence course. But still a sizeable number of Banyarwanda refugees remained in the UNLA because it was difficult to accurately tell a Munyarwanda Tutsi from a Munyankole Hima. Museveni who was the Minister of Defence retained these rejected Banyarwanda refugee soldiers as his private army. . . .
The 1980 and Museveni’s refuge revenge-bush war recruitment. Read part two Wednesday. Museveni and refuge agenda
By Nangalama .. . .The article first appeared at The perilofafrica.com