Who are genocidaires and victims in the Gt. Lakes region?

Museveni and I have disagreed on many issues in Uganda’s political economy discourse. However, we agree fully that to solve a problem we must get to the root cause (Y. K. Museveni 1989). I also agree with the late Samson Kisekka that education and mass media play crucial roles in public debates to take informed decisions (Samson Kisekka undated).

To solve Great Lakes problems in which Uganda is located we must accept that inter-ethnic conflicts are still alive and well. We also have to recognize that Batutsi from time immemorial have conflicted with other groups in Eastern DRC, Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. However, addressing the problem is difficult because any mention of Batutsi wrongdoing leads to automatic accusations of inciting genocide against them by those who want the status quo that has favored them since 1994 be not disturbed.

Since the 1994 genocide in Rwanda Batutsi are seen as victims and others as genocidaires (genocidaire is a French word which means those who commit genocide). Genocide means committing any of the following actions with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group:

1. Killing members of the group;

The burden of silence on Banyankole issue in Uganda

A society that takes things for granted or keeps silent when it is hurting can hardly makes progress. Societies that have progressed including ancient Greece had people like Socrates that questioned the status quo and would not remain or be silenced when unsatisfied about something. They developed a questioning mind and took nothing for granted. They would not budge even under the threat of death. Socrates was advised that he could avoid the death sentence for allegedly corrupting the youth if he paid a small fine and swore to remain silent about politics or went into exile. Socrates refused reasoning that the unexamined life was not worth living.

The political and military environment and laws of Uganda especially the anti-sectarian and anti-terrorism laws have made it very difficult for Ugandans to question the wrong things that have and are happening in our country. The tough anti-terrorism act has a broad definition which describes terrorism as the “use of violence or threat of violence with intent to promote or achieve political, religious, economic and cultural or social ends in an unlawful manner”(Human Rights Watch 2003). What is threat of violence and what is unlawful in the Uganda context? Under this broad definition anything said or done that the NRM government does not like can land any Ugandan in jail for a long time or forever. When you have laws like these there is no democracy, no freedom, no fairness and no dignity. Under these circumstances Uganda cannot claim to be a democracy where people are sovereign with freedom to express themselves. It is a dictatorship, pure and simple, regardless of whether elections are held or not which forces people to stay silent.

Correcting historical distortions is not sectarianism

Those who have benefited from historical distortions such as the Hamitic Myth in the Great Lakes region are trying to use all instruments to maintain the status quo. Batutsi and Bahima – and their Bahororo and Banyamulenge cousins – who have dominated Bahutu and Bairu for over six centuries with the support of Europeans originally from aristocratic families since colonial days have come back to power through the barrel of the gun with external assistance. Their numerical inferiority and unpopularity do not allow them to get and sustain political power by real democratic means – winning elections at gun point and/or banning popular parties under the pretext of being sectarian is not democracy as we understand it in the sense of free and fair electoral processes from registration, to campaigning, casting ballots, counting votes and announcing results in a transparent and inclusive manner.

To hang onto power, they are therefore resorting to military might and expensive intelligence networks, giving quality education to their children at home and abroad at public expense, dividing tactics that have created so many non-economically viable, almost tribal-based districts, controlling strategic ministries, impoverishing the majority ethnic groups by denying them quality education, healthcare, food and nutrition security, character assassination and intimidation and aligning themselves with foreign powers that in turn are using them to advance their interests in the Great Lakes region in ways that are contributing to instability, economic distortions such as focusing on illegal natural resource exploitation and massive abuse of human rights.