By Peter Ssebulime
Kampala: The executive committee of the council for Banyarwanda, the umbrella association for the Banyarwanda community in Uganda has called upon the Ugandan government to address recent events that they believe have led their fellow Ugandan citizens to turn against them and instigate violence against them. According to statistics, there are over six million Ugandans of Rwandese origin living in Uganda. A good percentage of them work in both private sector and various Gov’t sectors.
In the same vein, the council has implored Ugandans to come together and unify as one nation and desist from violence and act of discrimination that will lead to divisiveness and instability.
Addressing the media held in Kampala on Wednesday, social and Human Rights Activist Frank Gashumba Malingum, who is a co-founder and chairperson of the council said the Banyarwanda community in Uganda has a number of issues to raise and called on the government to address them and handle them with the utmost urgency they deserve to save the now endengered specie.
“It is worth noting that the other new and recently recognized tribes like the Basamia, Bakonjo, Alir, Kakwa, Sabiny, Banyankore and Bahaya enjoy full citizenship rights as Ugandans, unlike the Banyarwanda who were counted a recognized as a tribe in Uganda in the 1900 census, who are discriminated against and denied their full rights and liberties as citizens of this country. There is a silent war that is being waged against the Banyarwanda community in Uganda,” Gashumba asserted.
The council for Banyarwanda organization was established by a group of Banyarwanda born an raised in Uganda whose parents have lived in Uganda for decades with prime objectives of promoting; unity, culture and rights of Banyarwanda.
Gashumba who was flanked by other members of the council including Enock Nkuranga and Paul Ntale insisted that there is a systematic move at sidelining their community and their rights with the end goal to exclude them from all economic social and political sphere of life.
“We all know that you cannot transact business in Uganda without a national Identity Card, but it is becoming practically impossible for a Munyarwanda born in Uganda to acquire this document” he added.
“Africans must change their mindset first,if they are to compete with the rest of the world as they claim. Look here, if my wife got a visa to go and deliver from US but delivers midway in the plane enroute to US, that child is automatically an American. Obama from Kenya here was US president for 8 yrs, how can a Frank Gashumba born, fed and raised in Uganda be sidelined on account of my roots with Rwanda? Gashumba wondered.
Gashumba also wondered why ‘original’ Ugandans don’t complain or segregate while receiving taxes from Banyarwanda born in Uganda but only complain when it comes to other societal issues. “Irumba, I Gashumba, a Munyarwanda pay taxes 50 times morethan the ‘original’ Ugandans, they don’t complain why a munyarwanda is paying taxes but want to sideline us when it comes to other social issues,” he added.
It’s said that Gashumba’s ancestors relocated from Rwanda to Uganda around 1926 and settled in Buddu, Masaka areas.