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Is Banyarwanda a Tribe in Uganda Constitution?



Why don’t you push for an amendment to the constitution?

You really must have missed out in the whole exercise of the review of the 1995 constitution carried out by the Constitutional Review Commission headed by none other than Prof Alfred Ssempebwa, a mulangira! The views you are expressing were expressed by many others as the Sempebwa report shows under section 11.6.  I am sending you the link to that report: http://www..ugandaonlinelawlibrary.com/files/constitution/Commission_of_Inquiry.PDF

The report’s recommendation on the issue of the Banyarwanda was clear. Sempebwa states:

‘In our view, the existence of the Banyarwanda as an indigenous community in Uganda by 1926 is not in dispute and should be recognised.  It is not for other communities to impose a name on this community.’ [here he was referring to the name ‘Bafumbira’ which was given to the Banyarwanda when Kisoro district was transferred from Belgian to British jurisdiction in 1926]

Note that, Banyarwanda who were left out of the Republic of Rwanda after the post-Berlin partition were named after the volcanic ranges close to which teir community lived.  Those near Mufumbira ranges in present day Uganda were called ‘Bafumbira’, those near Mulenge hills in present day DRC were called ‘Banyamulenge’, those near Masisi hills also in present day DRC were called ‘Banyamasisi’ and those from Rutshuru hills are called ‘Banyarutshuru’.  All those people are BANYARWANDA, the people of the old Rwanda Empire that was cannibalised by the British, Belgians and Germans.  They were named after those hills to give them a new identity in their ‘new’ countries otherwise ETHNICALLY, they are Banyarwanda.  DO NOT confuse them with Banyarwanda that are citizens of Rwanda, i.e., the RWANDESE.  It is the Banyarwanda of Uganda who have sought to make a break by repudiating the derogatory name after some hills and asserted that they are Banyarwanda.  This became particularly urge

The confusion with Banyarwanda is a result of coincidence between the name of their ethnic group and the name of a colony.  That confusion never arises with other ethnic groups that are split between other neighbours just because those neighbouring countries do not share their name with an ethnicity.  For every Alur in Uganda there are 2.5 in DRC (the so-called Lendu), for every 1 Mutoro in Uganda, there are 2 in DRC in Boga. There are Banyoro in NW Tzania, Itesot of Kenya elect Eimormor in Soroti etc.  Imagine if Southern Sudan was called Acholi.  What would have happened with the Acholi in Uganda? Or if Mao engineers a secession of Acholi, what would happen with the Acholis in Parajok and Kit in Equatoria province in Sudan.

They are saying they are Banyarwanda, but not Rwandese.  Additionally, let us not confuse the ethnic group, Banyarwanda,with castes, the Batutsi, Bahutu and Batwa.  Those were just socioeconomic classes just like Buganda has Balangira (equivalent of Tutsi) and Bakopi …the Hutus.  Membership to those castes was not fixed.  If you acquired alot of cattle, you could be dehutuised, and promoted to being a Tutsi, likewise if you were a Tutsi and lost your cattle like used to happen following outbreaks of rinderpest etc, you would be downgraded to a Hutu.  They were not fixed groups like ethnicities tend to be.  It is the Belgians that bastardised them into tribes: because Belgians have Walloons and Flemings as their two tribes, they wanted to recreate that arrangment in Rwanda and Urundi….with disastrous consequences…..

Likewise, in India there are similar castes, the Brahmans (Tutsi), Sudras (farmers..Hutu), the Dalits or Harijan (the untouchables…Batwa).  The caste of Batwa similar meant ‘the to be spat on’ …you know how you spit: ‘Khroo, twa…’

[In India, later on they got the caste called ‘Thugs’ the Hindu word which entered English in 1839…they were violent robbers who murdered their victims according to specific rituals, prescribed by the Hindu goddess ‘Kali’ (from which we got the Swahili word kali or tough)].

So, compatriots, let us broaden our perspectives a bit to avoid interahamweist rhetoric.

Yrs sincerely,

L/Cpl (rtd) Otto Patrick

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