We want to thank the international community including African Union and the United Nations as well as some governments for the efforts to end the invasion of DRC by M23. While this effort is appreciated, it must be recognized that it won’t by itself bring about lasting peace and security for all unless the root cause of the conflict which is Nilotic Tutsi domination of Bantu people is recognized and solved so that the two ethnic groups live together in peace and security.
Batutsi have deceptively presented themselves to the world since the 1994 Rwanda genocide as victims in a hostile environment and must defend themselves by eliminating ‘enemies’ and occupying more territory under the pretext of correcting the wrongs of a colonial system of borders that robbed them of land, not realizing or ignoring that they too took land from somewhere else such as 5 thousand square kilometers that Rwanda and Burundi gained from then Tanganyika in 1923.
In my attempt to identify the root cause of the problem, I have touched on sensitive areas previously regarded as taboo that have made some people uncomfortable and forced them to hit back hard without supporting evidence.
Since I joined Uganda politics I have been disturbed by the high propensity for war. It appears that Ugandans are eager to solve every problem through war. If you advocate peaceful means you are quickly called a coward. There are commentators who habitually dismiss peaceful change of regime in Uganda without explaining why war is a better alternative. You wonder whether these are saboteurs or genuine citizens. A large part of what we read and hear about Uganda is war mongering. There are Ugandans who are now getting ready to start war once the Syrian one is over because they believe it is Uganda’s turn. I believe war should be resorted to in self-defense. We therefore need Plan A (peaceful change of regime) and Plan B (military means for self-defense). Preparation for both should take place concurrently.
In the beginning
Bantu people are believed to have left Nigeria/Cameroon border on massive and gradual migration about the time of Christ (R. W. July 1998). They entered the great lakes region about 2-3000 years ago. They entered Uganda through south west and/ or western corner. So they are the indigenous occupants of Rujumbura County (remnants of Bambuti are believed by some researchers to be Bantu people who adapted to a forest environment).
Bantu people brought with them short horn cattle, goats, sheep, poultry, crops and knowledge of iron technology (R. O. Collins 2006 & R. Oliver and G. Mathew vol. I 1963). They settled in good areas endowed with fertile and grazing land and iron ore. With iron technology (axes, machetes and hoes), they cleared land and grew a wide range of crops including bananas, grazed animals and manufactured a wide range of products based on resource endowment. They supplemented cultivated foodstuffs with plentiful wild game and fish, fruits and vegetables.
A teacher determines the popularity of a topic by the number of questions asked, comments made and clarifications sought during and after the class. I have written over four hundred articles on Uganda and other states in the Great Lakes region. These articles are posted on www.kashambuzi.com which I urge you to visit free of charge. The article on Bahororo has been the most popular in terms of questions asked, clarifications sought and comments made. Some readers including Ahmed Katerega have asked me to write more on the subject. My focus has been and hopefully will continue to be about the behavior and not the individuals as such. Since Bahororo have been in power for 25 years try and compare what I am writing with what you are observing on the ground and let us compare notes as and when appropriate. I come from Rujumbura where Bantu/Bairu people have interacted with Nilotic Bahororo people for 210 years – since 1800.
Whatever justification is advanced for birth control, such as eradication of maternal and infant mortality, the ultimate outcome is reduction in population size at family, community, tribal and national level. Because of cultural, ethnic and religious sensitivity associated with birth control, different terms have been used such as family planning and reproductive health and rights. However, they all end up in reducing population size.
The common message conveyed by Malthus and his heirs is that poor people (regardless of how they got trapped into poverty) wherever they live produce more children than they are able to support. Therefore they must reduce the size of their families through family planning.
In Rwanda and Uganda, a combination of wars, endemic diseases and AIDS pandemic has raised mortality rates. In Uganda, for example, life expectancy declined from 47.0 years in 1980-85 to 41.0 years in 1990-95. At the same time, thanks to western donations, the economies of Rwanda and Uganda are growing faster than population growth. Consequently, birth control should not be a priority needing urgent implementation.
Just as Ethiopia participated in the scramble for and colonization of Africa with European nations, Rwanda is participating in the scramble for and re-colonization of DRC with Western nations. During the scramble for Africa European nations were particularly interested in raw materials. Ethiopia which was originally a small territory (Abyssinia) wanted in particular to expand its territory. Western nations are interested in DRC for its raw materials. Rwanda which is a small country is interested in DRC in particular to expand its territory like Ethiopia did during the first scramble of the 19th century.
Western arguments for breaking up DRC and steps being taken
During a mission to DRC in January/February 2010, meetings were held with representatives of some European embassies, United Nations and International NGO organizations and Congolese from all walks of life. All foreigners contacted complained that DRC is ungovernable because it is too big. If one goes by that criterion alone, then the order of breaking up large African states should start with Sudan, the largest (2,505, 813 sq. km) followed by Algeria, the second largest (2,381,741 sq. km) and then DRC the third (2,344,885 sq. km). Right now there are some voices in favor of keeping Sudan together. I have not heard talk about breaking up Algeria.
First let us recall the definition of genocide. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948. The Convention entered into force on January 12, 1951.
Article II of the Convention states “In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group (Human Rights Volume I (Second Part) Universal Instruments United Nations 2002).
The targeted killing or genocide of moderate Hutu and Tutsi that took place in Rwanda in 1994 shocked the world. There is ‘guilt of omission’ to act. The international community did nothing to prevent the genocide when sufficient advance warning had been made available (Mary Robinson A Voice for Human Rights 2006: 222).
I have read, listened to debates and conversed with many people in Burundi, DRC, Rwanda, Uganda and the United Nations in New York to find out why Rwanda authorities – government and armed forces – are not held accountable for the atrocities they are reported to have committed since 1990 when RPF (Rwanda Patriotic Front) invaded Rwanda and are still committing in Eastern DRC and Rwanda itself.
In January/February 2010, I spent thirty days in Burundi, DRC and Rwanda and conversed with many people from all walks of life. I got a lot of information mostly from informal and anonymous conversations. The following information is what I have collected before, during and after the mission. I am making this contribution in an effort to find a durable solution to the challenges not only in Rwanda but in the Great Lakes region as a whole.
Some developments have emboldened Rwanda government (and its army) to do what it wants with impunity. Here are some of them.