The silent human catastrophe in Burundi

The principal cause of conflicts in the Great Lakes region is ethnicity. Minority Tutsi – some ten percent of the total population – are trying to restore domination they enjoyed from the 15th century to 1962 when they were defeated in pre-independence elections of 1962 in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda (Ankole).

Because they are minority they collaborate with foreigners in order to dominate others. In Rujumbura Makobore collaborated with Arab and Swahili slave traders to defeat Bantu people that were subsequently dubbed Bairu (slaves or servants). Makobore then sold members of defeated Bantu groups into slavery (“The [Indian Ocean] coastal traders were also employed in interstate raids for slaves. For example, Makobore, the [Tutsi] king of Rujumbura, employed them in his raids against Butumbi and Kayonza. The important social effect of the coming of the coastal traders on the peoples of south-western Uganda was the arms trade. Weaker societies were raided for slaves while interstate warfare was rampant” (B. A. Ogot 1976). Bantu grazing land was confiscated and Bantu short horn cattle were replaced by Tutsi long horn cattle and Bantu were reduced to cultivators largely for the benefit of Tutsi consumers. That is how Bairu came to be known as cultivators while they were wealthy mixed farmers combined with manufacturing products before interaction with Tutsi.

Troubling developments in the Great Lakes region

It has been difficult to fully understand the nature and causes of conflicts in the Great Lakes region because much information is kept away from public view or distorted in favor of Nilotic Tutsi and against Bantu Hutu.

A combination of geopolitical conflicts over Great Lake’s resources in collaboration with Tutsi, anti-sectarian laws in Uganda and Rwanda and reporting the region largely since 1994 in the wake of Rwanda genocide has left many things unsaid like the fact that Tutsi committed genocide against Hutu in Burundi in 1965, 1972, 1988 and 1993 as recorded by Lemarchand (1994) and reported by Patrick Duport in the undated paper titled “The Sub-regional context of the crises in Rwanda and Burundi”.

Evidence is turning up that RPA (Rwanda Patriotic Army) committed atrocities against Hutu people since 1990 but as Amnesty International has reported “The international community appears to be making excuses for the new Rwandese authorities and turning a blind eye to human rights violations committed by RPA soldiers on the ground that they are not as serious as those committed by its predecessor” (New Africa December 1994).

NRM plans to limit the right to have children in Uganda

Radio Munansi English Program on Jan, 27, 2013.

This is Eric Kashambuzi communicating from New York.

Greetings: fellow Ugandans at home and abroad, friends and well wishers.

By popular demand I have been asked to address the issue of NRM plan to limit population growth by legislation violating the right of Ugandans to have the number of children they need.

The subject was discussed on London-based Ngoma Radio on January 13 but it wasn’t exhaustive.

As a demographer, I have written and spoken a lot about population issues including birth control which is also referred to as family planning or reproductive health. Whichever word you use ultimately family size will decline.

Having children is a human right and coercive methods should not be used to limit it. Instead, information and facilities should be provided to enable couples decide on their own.

Until the story broke, NRM’s position was that Uganda still has plenty of arable land, meaning that more people could be accommodated. The president called on Ugandans to produce as many children as they needed and he would educate them for free. Based on this assurance, some leaders went ahead and expanded maternity wards or built new ones to cater for an increase in the number of pregnant women. Men were urged to do their job. If the law passes they can’t do it freely anymore as their leaders had suggested.

Together we shall succeed

Radio Munansi English Program Jan. 26, 2013.

This is Eric Kashambuzi communicating from New York.

Greetings to you all: fellow Ugandans at home and abroad, friends and well- wishers.

I am glad to be back on Radio Munansi to continue the discussion of issues in Uganda’s political economy under the theme “Together we shall succeed”.

I mentioned political economy to signify that political decisions determine economic direction and economic forces affect politics. Thus, politics and economics are inter-linked.

I also chose the theme “Together we shall succeed” because I honestly believe that by working together we have a better chance of unseating NRM whose record of failure is there for all to see. I have been thrilled to see that the idea of working together has been received warmly by fellow Ugandans on face book among others.

Since the beginning of 2011, I have been active in Uganda politics. I have told you who I am, where I was born and grew up, where I was educated and what I have done in my career. I presented my profile in three parts which are posted at for easy reference.

Another promise about to be broken in Uganda

Press statement

It is reported that the president of Uganda and minister of defense have announced the possibility of a military coup against the constitution and government of Uganda. This has been prompted by the forces of democracy that are gathering speed and demanding answers about NRM wrong doing since before it came to power. Allegations that Museveni’s National Resistance Army (NRA) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Luwero Triangle and Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in Northern and Eastern regions of Uganda together with other wrongdoing in the political and human rights fields are becoming too much for the authorities to handle.

Through civic education conducted by United Democratic Ugandans (UDU), other organizations and the media, the people of Uganda and the rest of the international community are beginning to understand the gravity of wrong doing committed in Uganda by the NRM. The struggle for democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is beginning to bear fruit.

Role of women in changing course of history

For various reasons, women have played key roles in changing the course of world history. In France and Russia women have been particularly effective. In the course of the French Revolution of 1789, besides demonstrations in Paris and other cities, the Parisian women marched twelve miles from Paris to Versailles to demand that the king help them address their difficulties including food shortages and rising prices of bread. The king, his family and bags of grain were moved from the comforts of Versailles Palace to Paris where voices for change were loudest. The National Assembly also relocated to Paris from Versailles. Women also provided places called salons where meetings took place to discuss national and other issues.

Food shortages and rising prices also caused Russian women to help change the course of Russian history. In February 1917, the situation was so serious that women stood in long lines for bread having worked in factories for twelve hours. A police report sheds light on the gravity of the situation.

Soldiers have a responsibility to protect

Soldiers in time and space including those in Uganda have a responsibility to defend the nation against external aggression and to protect the people against internal regime oppression. In protecting the people against regime oppression, soldiers can either remain neutral or join the people against the regime.

Since 1966, the people of Uganda have suffered various degrees of regime oppression. It’s time that Uganda soldiers do something about it by peaceful means in the first instance. Soldiers everywhere have exercised their responsibility to protect the people by either standing neutral while the people battled against an authoritarian regime or joining the people when the government used force to silence the people. For easy reference here are some examples.

1. During the French Revolution of 1789, some sections of the army (the French Guards) joined the Parisian demonstrators because they sympathized with their suffering made worse by unemployment, food shortages, rising prices. When the Third Estate that had converted itself into the National Assembly refused to obey the king’s orders, the king was reluctant to call on soldiers because he suspected they would refuse to carry out his orders. They were on the side of the people. The Bourbon dynasty was removed from power.

Museveni is creating two economic and social systems in Uganda

When I started writing about Museveni’s Uganda, many commentators thought I was either crazy or had an axe to grind against Museveni and Tutsi. The response was quick and acidic in many instances, hoping I would be intimidated and stop writing or move on to other subjects. Friends and relatives also felt I was endangering myself and those related to me and urged me to stop. I didn’t comply and many have since dissociated themselves and don’t want to have anything to do with me.

What I am doing is not for me personally and didn’t jump into it abruptly. I thought long and hard and prayed before I leapt into action. I am doing it to save Uganda from itself because I see trouble ahead. I have studied revolutions and rebellions very carefully. And I see Uganda getting closer to a revolution or rebellion that will not be prevented by AK47s and air force jets or branding Ugandans as idiots and fools.

The president addresses donors to restore aid to Uganda

The president’s speech appealing to the donor community to restore aid suspended as a result of rampant corruption and massive mismanagement of public funds and other ills that have dented NRM image at home and abroad raised important issues many of them with virtually nothing to do with withdrawal of aid. The bulk of the speech gives the impression that he was responding to criticism he has been receiving from opposition groups and individuals. Here are some of these areas.

1. Genocide in the Great Lakes region had been confined to the Rwanda tragedy of 1994. To correct the record, we wrote that genocide in the region goes back to the genocides against Hutu committed by Tutsi in Burundi in 1972, 1988 and 1993. We have also reported on allegations of genocide of Hutu by Tutsi in Eastern DRC contained in UN reports. We give credit to the president for acknowledging that genocide has taken place in Burundi against Hutu by Tutsi.

I have been a leader since grade three

There is consensus that Uganda is suffering a leadership crisis in NRM and opposition parties, causing Uganda to go silent political issues and to decline economically, socially and ecologically. That there wasn’t a public outcry over the mysterious death of a twenty four year old Member of Parliament and death of a pregnant woman at Mulago Hospital signifies a serious leadership deficit. The public is asking where opposition leaders are. This concern was expressed on Ngoma Radio program that ran on January 13, 2013 from 4 to 6 o’clock, London time. There is therefore a search for leadership to lay a foundation for a better Uganda for all citizens. But what constitutes a good leader?

It is recognized that a good leader should at least have discipline and trust; lead by example and ability to bring and keep people together to solve common problems and take care of the interests of all members of society.

Out of concern for the decadence that has engulfed Uganda, I have humbly offered my services to serve because I believe I have something to offer to solve the challenges we face as a nation. I have experience accumulated over many decades. And experience counts a great deal. Let me illustrate.