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Museveni Explains His Rwandan Roots

6 Min Read

In 1944, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was born in the lowlands of Ntungamo district that borders with Rwanda, according to his official biography.

“His father was not born in Uganda,” President Milton Obote said when asked why he continuously claimed Museveni was not a Ugandan citizen in an exclusive interview on February 8, 1985.

At that time, Museveni was leading a rebel group in its fourth year towards toppling Obote. Museveni captured power in 1986 as Obote fled to Zambia.

However, in a declassified Birth Certificate of Gen. Muhoozi Keinerugaba, the son to President Museveni, Muhoozi indicates details of his father as Yoseri Tubuhaburwa Rutabasibwa born in Tare Rwanda. [Tare village, Gisiza cell of Rukomo sector in present day Gicumbi district bordering Uganda].

The Tanzanian Coastal Province stamped certificate also indicates that Rutabasibwa was aged 30 working as a State Operative of Uganda State Research Bureau. These are the details that could have been in possession with the Ugandan government at the time, warranting President Obote to hold onto claims on Museveni’s roots.

Looking at the borders of Uganda in 1675, Ntungamo was part of Ndorwa region of Rwanda. Today the Eastern Province of Rwanda is where Ndorwa stretched to. Bufumbira region including Kabale district of Uganda were all within the borders of Rwanda.

The contentious issue of Museveni’s Rwandan roots has resurfaced again from a group of Ugandans on twitter claiming, “Our team is Ugandan by birth, ancestors are Ugandan. Since 1986 we lost dreams. The foreigner Museveni brought tribalism, sectarianism, robbery and murder.”

Museveni responded in a very long thread saying a follower identified as @MwoyoG declares how he is not against Banyankore but only against Banyarwanda like myself.  He is also wondering whether Banyarwanda are an “Official” tribe of Uganda.

“First of all, I am not a Munyarwanda,” Museveni said in a Twitter thread. “I am a Musiita and my mother is Mweene Rukaari and you can go to the beginning of creation, you will not find any Bunyarwandism in me.  However, it would not have mattered if I was a Munyarwanda,” Museveni explained further.

In a thread, Museveni may have taken time to assemble a rebuttal, he said, “at a personal level, I have many Banyarwanda relatives by marriage.  Yes, the Banyarwanda are one of the indigenous tribes of what became Uganda.”

In his defence, Museveni argues that “one reason is that a part of Rwanda, Kisoro, was put in Uganda by the colonial borders.  They are indigenous Ugandans and they are Kinyarwanda speakers (Kifumbira).”

“Secondly, a part of Mpororo, Omutara, was put in Rwanda by the colonial borders.  A number of Bahororo clans actually have their origins in Omutara:  The Bagina from Kichwamba, the Bakimbiri from Rutuungu, etc,” Museveni presented his defence which some historians may dispute depending on which school of thought one presents.

In further defence President Museveni posted that there are other clans like Bakurungu, Baturagara etc, who are said to originate from Omutara; then, the area near Katuna occupied by Abakiga.

Museveni countered those who waste their time trying to find which Samia is from Kenya, which Mukonzo is from Congo, etc… are not part of our Pan-African vision.  Museveni neither denies nor confirms details of his ancestry.

The Ugandan President has thus attracted mixed reactions on his roots posts from his followers on twitter that are seemingly not satisfied by the content.

“You are beating around the bush…… accept you are a Munyarwanda……cause if you are not you wouldn’t bother tweeting all this…cause we are less interested trust me,” King256 twitter handle said. According to another Museveni twitter follower identified as Msemaji wa Siri kali, “So you begin by vehemently denying you are a Munyarwanda then end up talking about Pan-African ism, I find that contradictory.”

“Even if you’re a munyarwanda, I don’t think it’s a crime. If we are to trace they origins of those trying to insist on the issue of tribes, some may fail to find where they belong rather to settle with what they have at the moment,” Gordon Abaho reacted to the ongoing discussion.

For Dalton Twijukye’s comment on Museveni’s roots submission is quite intriguing, “Well Mr. President we would care much less about your origin if only fought the evils in the country. Your failure to do so has put your origin in contention and whether you have interests of Uganda at heart.”