By Lawrence Kazooba
President Museveni’s foreign policy has for the past three decades been pan Africanist.
Some of us have over the years even wondered what Uganda stands to gain in Museveni’s commitment to the rest of Africa at the expense of Uganda. Our men and women have paid with blood in South Sudan, Central African republic, DR Congo, Rwanda, Somalia to name but a few. We have hosted refugees from South Africa to Eritrea in the excess of one million people. All these at the expense of Uganda.
However, we have a neighbor we have done everything for it. It is called Rwanda. I should say, however that this is a very ungrateful neighbor.
Uganda has since before independence opened its borders to Rwandans and Rwandese. They were offered a home, land, education, healthcare, jobs, even leadership positions. Finally Rwandans in exile used this country as a frontline to return home in the 1990s. When France was after President Paul Kagame, the leadership in Kampala helped Kigali move into Commonwealth, welcomed Rwanda into the East African community brotherhood etc. Uganda has always stood with Rwanda.
But there is a problem. Rwanda is too touchy. In fact, even this small article can upset its leaders and some citizens. They never admit wrong doing. A few years ago, Kigali rhetoric was bashing DRC leaders, then Tanzanian, then Burundi now Uganda.
President Kagame has been dodging several meetings of the EAC. Before we knew it they had locked Ugandans out of jobs in Kigali and forced to return home. But there are more Rwandans out in the world than in Rwanda, many employed. What makes Kigali leadership think they can kick anyone non Rwandan out of Jobs in their country!
Now there is a diplomatic rift between Rwanda and Uganda which cause is not so clear. We have heard that it springs from Rwanda kidnapping refugees from Uganda when Uganda’s diplomatic front is appraised on its refugee policy which has been lauded through out the world. Rwanda’s activities are spoiling this. No Ugandan should allow this and Mr Museveni is right to take a stand.
Instead of Kigali owning up to this mistake and rectify it’s relations with the good neighbor, they mount propaganda to make leaders in Kampala look bad. This is absurd.
It is get worse when Mr Kagame who knows what he owes Uganda more than anyone else, leads the park of sulking over matters he should be sorry for.
Uganda certainly doesn’t need Rwanda. But it is good to have friendly neighbors. I am sure that’s the spirit Museveni has always gone back to settling differences with the Kigali leadership.
So for Museveni to snub the African union summit for whatever reason, is a patriotic act. He wins our respect. Kagame has done nothing for Uganda in appreciation for what Uganda has done for him and his country, apart from causing trouble. I believe he and his Generals should calm down and appeal to reason. It does not help being an island.
Lastly, there is doubt that Mr Museveni is a pan Africanist. He has reached out to people who disagree with him, including sworn enemy Sudan-Khartoum’s Al Bashir. But it takes two to tangle. We need a peaceful region. Mr Kagame should stop being an itching stone in the regional shoe.