From time immemorial when people stand together they win

One thing that is indisputable is that Ugandans including many in the NRM want change preferably by peaceful means. War has no support domestically and in the international community. On the other hand, the ruling clique in the NRM that wants to hang onto power and hand over to their children when they retire is working hard to keep Ugandans divided as illustrated by the creation of over 100 districts that has killed the unity project which was NRM’s flagship at the start of its administration in 1986. History shows unambiguously that when people are divided they fail and when united they succeed in their endeavors. The purpose of studying history which everyone should do at school or through self education besides passing examination is to draw lessons about what to avoid and what to emulate with modifications as appropriate. NRM has definitely mustered the history lesson of keeping Ugandans divided including encouraging them to seek work abroad so that it weakens the middle class that champions agitation for change. The following paragraphs will demonstrate using examples from different parts and different times how unity brings about success.

Intermarriage per se does not justify symbiotic ethnic relationship

Any conversation about the Great Lakes region of Africa is likely to touch on ethnic relations. During my mission (January/February 2010) to DRC, Burundi and Rwanda ethnic issues came up in the three countries. Those who argue that there are no ethnic problems resort to using intermarriage as a justification. While in Burundi, the topic of extensive intermarriage came up at times when it was out of context.

In Uganda senior officials have endorsed the institution of intermarriage as a national unifying factor. And we should applaud that. But we need to examine the kind of intermarriage that has occurred between Batutsi/Bahima and Bahutu/Bairu in the region to be able to determine whether that is the model we should promote.

I will be brief because I have written on the subject several times. Let me stress at the outset that I support the institution of intermarriage but it has to be a two way relationship between ethnic groups to be meaningful and unifying. It also has to be combined with other considerations such as social interaction and equal access to opportunities by all ethnic groups based on merit. A few illustrative examples will be used about intermarriages and other social relations that have taken place so far.