‘Rwigemists’ of the 25th hour…


I saw the article on Late Fred Gisa Rwigema in Uganda’s New Vision, again… 

 The pettiness in the Ugandan polity is amazing, they instrumentalize Rwandan heroes to sinister political ends. Whenever they do something wrong to Rwanda, they glorify Late Maj. Gen. Fred Gisa Rwigema, at times pitting him against our current President to stir bad atmosphere among Rwandans. 

Their president also pays publicized visits to Rwandan families and claims affinity to Rwandans – not out of kindness, but to sow what Rwandans call ‘amacakubiri’.

Each time the Rwandan army defeats Ugandans at battle, The Ugandans promote the ranks of their beaten soldiers. 

In reality, we see what they are doing; we see through them. Fred Rwigema was a Rwandan who helped Ugandans. They should have been thankful to have had him. Instead, they rejected Fred in his lifetime and now suddenly he is their Gandhi, whom they decorate and redecorate – posthumously – each time they have a conflict with Rwanda…

He delivered Kampala to them, but he and Rwandan refugees were the ones immediately sent to fight rebels in the north, as Ugandans in the NRA stayed in the capital, Kampala to enjoy the spoils of war. So many young Rwandans coming from Burundi to join the NRM were sent to die in those battles of the late 80’s

Rwandans saved the NRM from removal from power at several occasions. That Ugandan rebel Alice Lakwena and her militia the Holy Spirit Movement had reached the gates of Jinja and Rwandans pushed her back. A few years after we had returned to Rwanda, the Rwanda Defense Force sent its troops to guard the Ugandan statehouse. These are the people who are now supporting FDLR and other anti-Rwanda rebels. But we aren’t surprised by their betrayal:

Fred won the war for Ugandans, but he was soon relieved of all official duties due to cries that he was Rwandan, by the very people who are glorifying him today – this after serving as second only to President Museveni. They have no moral ground to cry him after his death and those are crocodile tears…

That Pecos man they quote in the New Vision article as a ‘connoisseur’ of late Fred, they forgot to quote him also as an anti-Rwandans hanged-up. He felt inferior to them; in the army and in everything else, that – as elders told me – he typically refused to salute any officer that he perceived to be Rwandan – albeit senior to him. Today he is narrating Late Fred’s feelings; What a hypocrite!

Fred is our hero whom we celebrate, we are grateful to him. He has a family living their private lives and would like to stay private. Ugandans wanted to co-opt them and, of course, failed.  We see Fred – not in Ugandans, but in Rwandans – his people who never rejected him. We see him in our current President. Salim Saleh may claim to have been his friend, but our President was his actual brother. He and our president knew statelessness together, they lived in refugee camps together, went through the same Rwandan upbringing; most importantly: Rwandans and Ugandans in the NRM were fighting for two entirely different missions…

Gisa and Kagame were just passing through Uganda on their way to fulfilling their greater goal: To liberate their country: Rwanda. Had Ugandans known that they were in the presence of greatness, they wouldn’t have squandered their chances like Jews did theirs with Jesus.

Gisa is gone but Kagame is here. If anyone is to tell Gisa’s story it isn’t Ugandans, it isn’t Saleh, it certainly isn’t the Pecos guy, it is our current President, who shared the calling with him, like Moses and Aron in the Bible started the journey together, but only one of them finished it, and one was good enough: for so were the plans of the almighty God.

‘Having Ugandans tell Fred’s story is like having Egyptians tell Moses’s or Babylonians tell Daniel’s’– to keep biblical parallels.

Let me conclude with this: We have many stories on Ugandan leaders, we spare them simply because Rwandan culture teaches us ‘Ikinyabupfura’: Decency.  

We in Rwanda genuinely love Late Gisa Rwigema. We are not like ‘Houphouëtists’ in Cote d’Ivoire, ‘Lumumbists’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo or ‘Gaullists’ in France: All political opportunists who ride on names of late great men for self-promotion, while their deeds and policies have nothing in common with those once held by the said great men.

Now it looks like the entire Ugandan leadership wants to be ‘Rwigemists of the 25th hour’. Unlike them, their self-appropriated ‘benefactor’, Late Fred Rwigema wasn’t an intriguing man.

So let me advise them: The NRM leadership doesn’t seem to see it, but the opposition and the entire population of Uganda respects them because they know Rwandans might come to their rescue someday – as we always have. In fact, when I speak to Rwandan elders I find that we harbor no ill will against Ugandans – on the contrary.

Now, young people who are growing up to lead Rwanda do not have any affinity with Uganda or the NRM, nor do they have any businesses in Uganda. That possibility to come to their rescue whenever they need us may not always be there – especially if they continue to annoy us. So I suggest they don’t squander their chances a second time like they did when they had Gisa and Kagame in their midst.

But that isn’t my intention, I wish we can just be friendly neighbors…

For more on this subject, watch Gatete’s interview with the Voice of America on this link: http://bit.ly/2o8r9Ha