By Denis Muterahejuru
Iam a hundred percent a munyarwanda, born and raised in Uganda. I needed to profess that, since (of late) anyone with a contrary view to Umubano’s rhetoric, is immediately labelled a non munyarwanda. That said, I have keenly followed and witnessed first hand Umubano’s activities in Uganda, in the decades it has been the dominant Banyarwanda association, prior to the emergence of Council for Banyarwanda, and what is undeniable, is the fact that Umubano is the unofficial Rwanda government outfit in Uganda whose primary function is the advancement of Rwanda government’s strategic interests in Uganda. Through activities such as, organizing and funding Banyarwanda students associations, Banyarwanda fresher’s welcome parties as well Banyarwanda student’s farewell parties etc, Umubano has throughout the years excelled in promoting Rwanda government’s influence among Banyarwanda in Uganda who are often mistakenly regarded to be Rwanda’s diaspora population.
Reliable sources within Umubano intimate that, Umubano’s activities such as, University students mobilization, office rental space for Umubano leaders, are all funded by the Rwandan government while the leadership of Umubano is on the Rwanda government pay roll.
Consequently, it is no accident or coincidence, that for all Umubano’s major functions, the venue is always the Rwanda embassy grounds, besides, it is hardly news, that Umubano has time and again involved itself in fundraising activities for the government of Rwanda, in addition to mobilising Ugandan Banyarwanda to procure Rwanda national Identity cards, as well as mobilising Ugandan Banyarwanda to vote at the Rwandan embassy whenever there are elections in Rwanda.
Against that background and true to the saying that, “He who pays the piper, calls the tune”, it is crystal clear that, despite all the posturing to the contrary, Umubano’s loyalty lies with the government of Rwanda, and not to its stated mission statement and objectives (if any) as an association for Banyarwanda in Uganda. Henceforth, Umubano’s lack of clear-headed focus to the challenges and interests of the Banyarwanda community in Uganda in preference to being a conduit for advancing the interests and influence of the Rwanda government in Uganda, is responsible for Umubano’s lacklustre performance (if not failure) to safeguard the Banyarwanda community’s interests in Uganda.
Against that backdrop therefore, and especially at a time when the relations between Rwanda and Uganda are frosty, Umubano ceases to be relevant to a Ugandan munyarwanda who has no ties to the state of Rwanda, and whose only is that his citizenship rights be upheld and recognised by Ugandan state agencies such as Immigration and NIRA, and that, he/she should not be discriminated against on the basis of his being a munyarwanda, rather should be treated just like any other Ugandan.