The Great Lakes region (defined to include southwest Uganda, eastern DRC, Rwanda and Burundi) conflict will not be solved unless and until it has been understood as an ethnic conflict between Nilotic Tutsi and Bantu Hutu/Bairu people. Geopolitical conflict is taking advantage of ethnic conflict using the minority Tutsi to suppress majority Hutu/Bairu people who have been erroneously dubbed “bad guys” by biased western commentators.
Since the two ethnic groups (Bantu and Nilotic) met in the 15th century, Nilotic Tutsi (whose Nilotic Luo-speakers ancestors entered the Great Lakes region from Bahr el Ghazal in South Sudan, not Ethiopia)because of their militaristic character (cattle people always fight for scarce pasture and water points) and collaboration with foreigners beginning with Arab and Swahili slave traders and later Europeans, dominated, dispossessed, exploited and humiliated Bantu people (whom Tutsi dubbed Hutu and Bairu meaning slaves or servants) who were wealthy, healthy and peaceful with advanced civilization including Bachwezi civilization (Bachwezi were a Bantu aristocracy [B.A. Ogot 1999]).
For example, in Rwanda Tutsi dispossessed Hutu of their land and property. Bantu short-horn cattle were replaced by Tutsi long horn cattle. Hutu were reduced to laboring for Tutsi in return for so-called protection. When paid for their labor, they were given an infertile cow or a bull or a calf about to die. Or when a Tutsi cow died Hutu and Bairu would be paid in meat even when Hutu/Bairu didn’t want meat. A Nyamulenge Tutsi described Bantu Babembe as good only for heavy (agricultural) labor in exchange for a calf close to death (Johan Pottier 2002).
In southwest Uganda Tutsi gave Bairu infertile cows or bulls, the idea being to prevent them from accumulating wealth. Thus, Hutu and Bairu were not allowed to own productive cattle and accumulate wealth. Because much of food produced by Hutu and Bairu was consumed by Tutsi, Hutu and Bairu were under-nourished, contributing to their short stature. The children of Hutu and Bairu who eat adequate and balanced meals are taller than their parents who were starved by Tutsi. Carry out a survey if in doubt.
As mentioned elsewhere, Tutsi women are expected to remain virgin until they marry but Tutsi men are expected to be experienced in matters of sex when they marry. So Tutsi young men practiced on Hutu women, often producing children they were not responsible for. This also happened in southwest Uganda. Children produced this way are called Abambari.
In Rwanda when a Hutu raped a Tutsi woman the sentence was death but when a Hutu raped a Tutsi woman the matter was resolved by compensation, if compensation was awarded at all.
Although Hutu and Bairu prepared food for Tutsi, Hutu and Bairu would not eat together because it was beneath Tutsi dignity. Or when Tutsi chief and his entourage visited a village at harvest time, Hutu and Bairu women would prepare food and sleep with Hutu women. Meanwhile all Hutu and Bairu men would be out of site. And when serving food Hutu women would not look in Tutsi face. Here is a short story of a Hutu woman who rebelled. “She [Hutu] had to accompany a young Tutsi woman back to her family. Once there, she refused to eat for three days because she was forced to eat alone after the members of the family had finished their meal. She was not allowed to look at the mouths of her ‘masters’ while they were eating. She did not understand how a poor Tutsi could treat he with such contempt when her own family was quite well off. On the way back she refused to help her ‘mistress’ carry the gifts she had received from her family” (M.B.Umutesi 2000). This in a nutshell is what Tutsi want to restore in the Great Lakes region of Africa. They are approaching it in subtle, measured and silent manner with quiet support of western powers and corporations who are using Tutsi in regional geopolitics to control natural resources of the regioin.
After independence, Hutu and Bairu gained political power because of majority vote. Correspondingly Tutsi lost hegemony. The 1959 social revolution in Rwanda initiated by Tutsi youth when they assaulted a newly appointed Hutu local chief led to many Tutsi fleeing to neighboring countries including Uganda. There Tutsi who lost power in Ankole and refugees from Rwanda began plotting to recapture power in the Great Lakes region under the leadership of Museveni, Rwigyema and Kagame. In Burundi the moderate Tutsi and eldest son of the king (Ganwa or Prince Louis Rwagasore) who had even married a Hutu woman was elected prime minister. Conservative Tutsi who lost the election arranged for his elimination by a hired Greek assassin, throwing Burundi into political turmoil and genocides on unprecedented scale since the holocaust. Tutsi in Burundi have carried out genocide against Hutu in 1965, 1972, 1988 and 1993, hardly reported locally and internationally in contrast to the Rwanda genocide of 1994.
In eastern DRC, then Zaire, Tutsi joined Mobutu in crashing the rebels during the 1960s civil war and were rewarded with indigenous people land including plantations by Belgian farmers, businesses and high and strategic positions in government and politics including Mobutu’s chief of staff.
The war in Rwanda that began in 1990 with Tutsi invading Rwanda from Uganda has seen many Hutu murdered inside Rwanda and outside especially in eastern DRC where allegations of Tutsi committing genocide against Hutu are well documented with virtually no action by the international community. With help of western satellite facilities Tutsi chased Hutu in DRC forests and murdered them en masse. Kagame himself boasted while attending a Commonwealth Summit in Uganda that his troops massacred Interahamwe. But how did Tutsi identify Interahamwe from the rest of Hutu refugees since they stayed together, look alike and wore the same clothes?
Nobody has questioned Kagame statement. Instead Rwanda was elected member of Security Council for 2013-2014 period, presumably as reward for good behavior, causing people to question UN justice system. One prominent Rwsandese wrote that election of Rwanda to the Security Council be cancelled. It is not clear whether he even got a reply. If he did we would ask him to publish it to see what was said since Rwanda is still in the Security Council.
Museveni and Kagame are determined to regain hegemony in the Great Lakes region by creating a Tutsi Empire including by military means and Bantu are resisting – hence unending conflict. As soon as RPF-Tutsi led government regained power in Rwanda the government immediately called for revisiting national borders in the region because colonial borders made Rwanda lose territory which they want back (but they haven’t returned a part of Tanzania – then Tanganyika – that Rwanda received in 1923). According to Jackson and Roseberg (1994), “Five thousand square kilometers was transferred from Tanganyika to Rwanda-Urundi in 1923”.
If Museveni and Kagame don’t get what they want (Tutsi Empire and regain domination of Bantu) by military means they plan to get it through East African political federation, or by piecemeal approach like annex eastern DRC using M23. In southwest Uganda, they have already written Mpororo on Uganda maps waiting for the right moment to declare it Mpororo kingdom (a short-lived Mpororo kingdom of Tutsi who called themselves Bahororo, hence Tutsi/Bahororo of Uganda also found in Rwanda).
In doing all these things they have presented themselves as minority victims in the Great Lakes and seeking western support in building military capability to defend themselves in a hostile environment which apparently they have created in pursuit of dominating Bantu.
What they are doing in actual fact is to reintroduce minority tyranny in the region. Since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda the international community has seen Tutsi as victims and Hutu as aggressors but even in the genocide of Rwanda some information is surfacing as to who did what to whom, calling for further investigations. Some Tutsi are wondering how Tutsi could kill their fellow Tutsi. A short article was published about a 30 year “War of the Roses” in the 15th century where two royal families nearly exterminated each other in pursuit of gaining the monarchy and controlling parliament. In fact wars in the Great Lakes region were between warring Tutsi families struggling for power. So it is difficult to understand why Tutsi familiar with the region should be surprised that Refugee Tutsi could have participated in eliminating Tutsi that remained in Rwanda after independence and collaborated with Hutu. More investigative work is needed to establish the truth.
We appeal to the United Nations Security Council and United Nations General Assembly as well as Western and North Americans to revisit the situation in the Great Lakes region with different lenses going back to the fifteenth century to be able to understand who the aggressor and victim are. You will perhaps get a shock to find that minority Tutsi have been aggressors all along.
Realizing that the world is beginning to understand the nature of conflict in the Great Lakes, Tutsi under Museveni and Kagame are getting seats on UN and AU Security Councils and UN Human Rights Council to protect themselves against exposure. We hear the next president of the UN General Assembly is likely to come from Uganda. That is part of Tutsi strategy but events are catching up with them. Eric