By Alain Mucyo
A young Ugandan aspiring to be a legislator has also thought it convenient to jump on the anti-Rwanda bandwagon to advance his political ambition – by use of a lot of assertions that can’t stand scrutiny.
The gentleman named Sam Evidence Orikunda in a complete betrayal of his middle name pens an article whose main purpose seems to be to attract the attention of Museveni (the master of political patronage) but with little resemblance to reality. In doing so he may calculate that it increase his chances of becoming Youth MP for Western Uganda.
In the article published last week under the title: “It’s A Year Since Rwanda Closed Border With Uganda & All Is Well” on Business Focus, one of the many obscure Kampala-based anti-Rwanda blog sites, Orikunda tries to paint a picture that “all is well in Uganda”. He does so in a manner to indicate “Uganda’s wellness” somehow is a triumph over Rwanda.
However this impression is betrayed by the continuous inference that “the border closure “which has lasted one year has not plunged Uganda into darkness”. It is the kind of self-serving propaganda with the aim to distort everything, and to paint a completely misleading picture.
Coming from Western Uganda, the darkness Orikunda speaks of must be one for which he has personal experience, because evidence will show only the activities of his country’s leadership are responsible for that darkness. That part of Uganda has been most affected, according to observers.
This got a reader to ask: “If they (Ugandans) are not on their knees as Orikunda asserts, why would he write an article begging for the border ‘to re-open’ so that Uganda is put out of ‘darkness’ as he calls it?” Orikunda then goes on to claim that Rwandans are suffering food shortages “especially Irish potatoes”.
This as anyone knows is the usual misinformation from Kampala. For one thing southwestern Uganda depended on Rwanda’s volcanoes area for supply of Irish potatoes.
“I’ve seen a story in a certain newspapers saying that Ugandan exports to Burundi have grown by 20 percent and I am sure by the end of this year, this will have doubled,” Orikunda writes.
However an economist laughed this off saying: “Too bad that he did not provide the trade volume with Burundi in absolute figures, but if Burundi’s collapsed economy has become Uganda’s preferred destination, then we wish them both good luck.”
The writer tries to push the same narrative by Museveni’s minions whose line is that “Museveni has seniority” and therefore “he automatically demands to be respected” – that implies even when he oversteps his mandate and tries to meddle into the affairs of other sovereign states.”
This prompts laughter. “The writer’s amateurism has him thinking countries relate on the basis of friendships,” quipped an observer adding, “this Orikunda instead of running for MP, he should ask his “Jajja” for school fees and go to school to learn that states relate on the basis of interests.”
Without giving numbers Orikunda tries to paint a glossy picture of the Ugandan economy claiming it has grown and will continue to grow, but he forgets that numbers do not lie.
To the contrary, different reports including an economic outlook by the Bank of Uganda have shown how the country has been badly hit by the impasse between the two countries. Uganda is directly losing US$ 350m a year in lost exports revenues to Rwanda. Once bustling border communities have been hard hit – all as a direct consequence of the Ugandan regime’s harassment, persecution and mistreatment of Rwandan nationals. That is in addition to its hosting of anti-Rwanda negative forces with the mutual aim to destabilize Rwanda’s security.
The economic situation in places like Kisoro, Kabale, Mirama Hills and all the way to places like Kikuubo in Kampala have felt the difficulties intensely, on ground realities show.
It is seen in the fact the communities of Kabale and Kisoro have been piling pressure on Museveni to find a resolution, and when they gathered recently – after the Katuna/Gatuna Quadripartite Heads of State Meeting – to grill Museveni on why he didn’t manage to get the border opened.
After that meeting, which also was attended by the presidents of Angola and DRC, Museveni was upon his arrival in Kabale swamped by desperate residents demanding answers as to why the border had not been opened. Museveni then conjured up falsehoods blaming the problem on Rwanda.
What he did not tell them was that the meeting obliged him to meet Rwanda’s demands – broadly to stop aiding and abetting anti-Rwanda forces; to hold to account officials responsible for the persecution, torture and other mistreatment of Rwandan nationals; and to release multitudes of Rwandans still languishing in Ugandan prisons and torture dungeons.
Orikunda alleges several times in his article that the Rwandan delegation and the facilitators embarrassed Museveni by arriving late at the Gatuna/Katuna meeting.
But this is a deflection.
“What actually embarrassed his leader is the overwhelming evidence that was tabled before him in the presence of fellow heads of state, pinning him on things he continues to deny,” said one source from the meeting.
Since Uganda has failed to commit to the demands Rwanda put on the table under the auspices of the Luanda MoU, no one will be surprised if Rwanda maintains the restrictions on her side of the border.
One of Orikunda’s many claims is that Rwandans “continue to be suffocated by the border closure”, something that raises some questions: shouldn’t the allegedly suffocated be the one crying? So what explains Orikunda’s tears?
This is yet another Ugandan mystery.