By Patience Kirabo
Among the many stories of Rwandan nationals that have fallen victim to violence and abuses in Uganda – just because they are Rwandans – is one Pascaline Nyiramwiza. This woman’s Ugandan husband chopped off her arm during a domestic quarrel, and she almost lost her life. That took place in the country’s Kasese District. But when the police in the area learnt she was Rwandan, they just shrugged their shoulders as if to say, “she deserved it!”
Nyiramwiza, 25, who has been back home, in Gicumbi District, since earlier this year wonders if she will ever get justice.
Her husband, Moses Musinguzi’ on December 23, 2019, at their home in Kasese District attacked her with a machete, hacking off her arm. Crying, Nyiramwiza says she is certain he knew no one would punish him for this crime because of “the bad way the Ugandan government has been treating Banyarwanda, even in Kasese!”
Over the past few years, a policy of anti-Rwanda hostility by Kampala has encouraged all sorts of harassment and mistreatment of Rwandan nationals in the neighboring country. Most Rwandans fall victim to Ugandan security forces, most of all the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), that have been behind the arbitrary arrests, illegal incarcerations in unknown locations, and torture of hundreds of Rwandans. The victims, who are held incommunicado and denied rights like consular visits, have given numerous, harrowing media accounts of the abuses inflicted upon in Uganda.
Nyiramwiza, however, is one of the few victims of abuse by someone other than a Ugandan security agent. Even then, her husband must have been well aware of the anti-Banyarwanda climate and “used it to inflict that inhuman abuse on his wife”, a local authority member in Gicumbi says. Nyiramwiza herself confirms it saying her husband had shouted at her that he would kill her and nothing would be done about it.
“My husband of four years said that I was not the only Munyarwanda who was going to die in Uganda, and that no one would question him if he killed me!” she continued.
When Musinguzi carried out his threat, by cutting her up and dumping her out, good Samaritans from the roadside picked her up. “I was bleeding a lot, and I don’t know how I survived.” Later when she made her way back to Rwanda, local authorities received her in the Rubaya Sector of Gicumbi this January on the First. They rushed her to Rubaya Health Center for emergency care and resuscitation.
She also had deep cuts in the head and chest, in addition to her chopped off hand. Nyiramwiza was overwhelmed with gratitude when government undertook to take charge of all her medical needs. They even got her an artificial arm.
These days she supports herself selling food crops.
“Rwanda took care of me when my life was slipping out of me, I am eternally grateful!”
However, she worries often about the fate and safety of her child, a one-year-old she left back in Kasese, and wonders if the man takes good care of her.