By Mark Martin Karuhanga
Security authorities in the district of Ntungamo, which borders neighboring Rwanda, are to begin rounding up and deporting “undocumented” Rwandans in the district.
The Resident District Commissioner George Bakunda, who represents President Museveni in Ntungamo district, said the decision has been made “after establishing that many (Rwandans) have become a source of insecurity.”
Therefore, he added, it would be a requirement to register all citizens in the district at LC1 level since, “it has been found out that at many instances people causing insecurity are illegal immigrants from Rwanda who are employed at households as casual laborers.”
According to the reports, among the measures will be the searching of homes employing those immigrants, and those found without work permits and proper immigration documents would be rounded up.”
Mr. Bakunda did not explain the sudden need for this decision. He did not parade any Rwandan suspects and say they were the ones accused of causing insecurity.
The reports note that several Rwandan women work as waitresses in bars and hotels, although one of the issues raised by the RDC was that there had been “an increase in cattle theft”. He did not clarify, however, why government was singling out the Rwandan waitresses, or whether it was suspected they were the ones behind cattle thefts.
Bakunda himself said, “there is an increase in cattle theft and murders”, but added “these are being caused by unknown people.” The RDC did not explain how he decided these “unknown people” actually were Rwandans.
Ntungamo District is predominantly inhabited by Banyankore. But according to facts on the ground there also are many migrants from the rest of Uganda – Baganda, Banyoro, Bakiga and others – that have, and still do migrate to the place to do casual work. There even are migrants from Burundi that go there seeking similar work.
According to our Ntungamo sources, the RDC did not explain why, even when he did not produce a single suspect, he was saying it was Rwandans stealing cows. He presented not a single fact or piece of evidence to justify the accusations.
Neither he nor any member of his district security council, which he chairs, provided any link between the rise in murders in the area to Rwandans. Sources from the meeting say the RDC did not present any statistic saying: The number of Rwandans convicted of murdering people in Ntungamo is this and this.
Uganda has of late been hit by waves of crime especially in the Central region. There have been in recent years several murders of Muslim clerics that the government did not solve. There were many reports of kidnappings for money. And all kinds of violent robberies.
Common knowledge is that these are not areas with significant Banyarwanda populations.
“Why then are they singling out Ntungamo? There must be something,” said a local resident of the district.
“But when one examines parts like Kisoro, Kabale, Ntungamo and other areas bordering Rwanda, simple newspaper reports will show very few incidences of high crimes!” said our source who preferred anonymity.
It has been clear for some time now that President Museveni is determined to make Rwanda and Rwandans the scapegoat for all the problems of insecurity, instability and others caused by his 32 years in power, during which government has been heavily characterized by corruption and embezzlement of public resources, and all the hallmarks of poor governance.
The government of President Museveni, according to numerous reports even in international media like The Standard of Kenya, and others, has gone to great lengths to try to cause instability in Rwanda. Proof has been published President Museveni’s intelligence and security agencies are sponsoring the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) terrorist group that is bent on killing Rwandans, facilitating and giving it free rein in Uganda.
Rwanda has repeatedly raised these issues with our government through diplomatic channels, and with documented proof, as several local and regional media reports have reported.
According to observers, what the latest baseless accusations against Rwandans in Ntungamo tell us is this. Kampala’s representatives in local administrations close to Rwanda’s border have been instructed to step up anti-Rwanda efforts, “perhaps to cleanse the border areas of any eyes and ears of what Kampala is preparing on the common border.”
Uganda has a long sad history of scapegoating Banyarwanda for its internal security problems and forcefully expelling them. Such measures have rarely been beneficial to the governments of the day as that of Obote II ultimately learnt.