By Patience Kirabo
When the fourth meeting of the Ad-Hoc Commission on progress with the implementation of the terms of the Luanda MoU last Thursday ended, one issue still was unresolved. Julienne Kayirere’s, a Rwandan woman that lost her baby in Uganda late in 2018 is yet to be reunited with her. And now Kayirere’s hopes that she will see her baby, a girl she named Joanna, are fading though her heartbreak is as intense as ever.
Even then she isn’t completely losing hope as she knows that despite everything, she can count on the Government of Rwanda to do everything it can to help her. She is heartened that it has not stopped advocating on her behalf to the Ugandan authorities, and that Rwanda has not stopped calling for a proper investigation into Joanna’s case. One thing that Kayirere seems strongly certain of is that her child is alive.
Following the February quadripartite summit held at Gatuna, Rwanda’s sixth demand to Uganda was to allow the mother to be reunited with her baby who was snatched away from her mother by police officers at Kasambya, in Uganda’s Mubende District. That was after they had arbitrarily arrested her.
The Rwandan authorities have presented all the facts of the case to Ugandan counterparts. However, the latter has done nothing to retrieve the baby, yet that is part of what Uganda had to address in the ongoing discussions to restore good relations between the two states.
Kayirere has in the past told this website that the person responsible for taking her child away from her, in the later months of 2018, was the DPC (District Police Commander) of Mubende. She spent a lot of time in Mubende, even after they released her from detention – where they arbitrarily locked her up after snatching away her baby – and she is completely certain it was the DPC.
After a time, she gave up her search and came back home.
Now, she says: “the government here has helped me in every way possible to make sure that I see my child again. From the moment they received my appeal, they continue to follow up on my behalf and are still reaching out, and I am so thankful,” says the tearful mother. Every time I think about my child, I feel like I am losing my mind,” she adds.
Baby Joanna is almost two years old today, wherever she is. “I fought with every energy I had left, but they still grabbed her from me,” Kayirere says, wiping her eyes.
The Rwandan Government, through the Ministry of Justice has communicated to William Byaruhanga, Uganda’s Attorney General, to ensure rigorous investigation in the whereabouts of the baby, and how she can be reunited with her mother.
News like this is what keeps Kayirere’s hopes up.