The biggest thing that disturbs most Ugandans is how small sized Rwanda effectively does things that are exceptional, making its northern neighbour look ridiculously dysfunctional.
Just like districts wait for handouts from the central government presided over by “the only Ugandan with a vision”, who has defined Uganda’s relationship with Rwanda in the same way and thinks it is a district in his visionary mind.
Uganda does not believe how in just one day Rwanda closes the gate and suddenly says no to Mukwano cooking oil, Uganda Waragi, Rwenzori water and most disturbingly a big no to Hima cement.
Rwanda has other neighbours, and gates to those neighbours have always remained open 24 hours.
When Gatuna was closed, more Tanzanian products doubled through Rusumo One-stop border post.
In Rwandan shops these days, one finds all sorts of Swahili branded products such as, Jambo, Safi, Habari, Simba cement and Konyagi liquor.
In March 2019, when Gatuna border was closed, Ugandan traders reported to have incurred a loss of Shs180billion.
A week later, Tanzanian traders swang in and doubled their earnings above what they were getting.
Before we help a certain Kakaire Wanume, a Ugandan Musoga by tribe, to understand ‘At What Cost Could Rwanda Make It Costly For Her Enemies?’, it is important to first take him through the cost Uganda incurred when it risked throwing stones inside Kenya.
Just one year after Yoweri Museveni had captured Kampala and struggling to fit in as a head of state from leader of a rebel group, he had leftist leaning views and distasted anything of Capitalism and by default would not be attractive to Kenyans.
That was 1987.
In Museveni’s mind, Kenya was enemy number one because of Western-oriented, capitalist government.
A week to Christmas of 1987, tensions between Kenya and Uganda had worsened as Uganda amassed troops at the border and dug trenches.
The “only visionary Ugandan” has undermined the wisdom and insights of an elderly counterpart.
President Daniel Arap Moi expelled Uganda’s two diplomats and shut down the Libyan embassy for colluding with Museveni to grossly interfere in Kenya’s internal matters.
In simple terms, Uganda and Libya were plotting to overthrow President Daniel Moi because of his pro-Western government.
Basically Museveni wanted all his neighbours to think and act in a leftist manner and to him, he was willing to use force and change Kenya.
Uganda paid later paid a heavy price.
Uganda had been accused of everything from spying to abducting Kenyans to cattle rustling on the border.
Museveni was also being accused of financing Mwakenya, a communist inspired group to sabotage Moi’s government.
This group was crashed in a nationwide crackdown.
In one of the encounters, at the border, Kenya sent in its paramilitary General Service Unit and killed at least 47 Ugandan soldiers who had been fresh from war.
Moi held Uganda by the neck. He banned Uganda exports and pushed the country into an economic stress mode. Museveni had to figure out other painful options and subjected Ugandans to an unnecessary austerity.
Museveni did not learn a lesson. He reportedly said after all Rwanda was at his disposal. Indeed it was, until recently, but since this scenario, no Ugandan undermines Kenya.
Ugandan planners have lost memory about human and economic losses from Kenya for having shut the door in 1987 and continued to mind their own business.
In 1979, Tanzania refused to take threats and foolish adventures by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.
The wakombozi rolled tanks and massive foot soldiers into Uganda and removed the tyrant who fled and died in exile.
We wonder why Mr Kakaire, failed to ask why Museveni applies the might of the gun to fix the loose ends that can be neatly fixed by a phone call, a letter or an email?
Did Museveni have to shoot Kenyans to turn them into communists?
Now, this is how cheap it can be for Rwanda to raise the bill of those who don’t agree with Kigali, for those who failed to read President Kagame’s recent warnings against the enemies of the state.
Rwanda has changed enormously in strategic fronts; politically, geographically, economically and even socially.
As early as 1960, Rwandans in exile were already organised, mobilised and had built secretive networks across the globe and conducted several attacks against the governments of Gregoire Kayibanda and later Juvenal Habyarimana.
The same Rwandans had created a very powerful diplomac stature, which altered Uganda’s foreign policy with Rwanda.
To claim that Rwanda’s existence is modeled on the National Resistance Movement ideology, as it has been sang by many Ugandan bigots, is an empty claim lacking reason because the struggle for Rwanda’s liberation started before NRA existed.
Liberationist ideas of Rwandans were very instrumental in the final molding of the NRA ideology and creation of its Military wing.
Museveni knows too well what NRA would have been without Rwandans.
Because of this historical fact, Museveni is not the right person to counsel Rwandans because they made him and thanked him and walked away without even taking anything belonging to Uganda.
Those intimately close to Museveni are aware of his sentiments about this historical fact.
Rwanda’s policy dictates creation of no opponents to tear gas innocent civilians. Rwanda does beleive in war as a means to extort it’s way out, unless pushed beyond limit.
On the other hand, Museveni and his cronies beleive in the power of gun. He pursues every rat in the bush with guns blazing, even when they pose no significant threat. He is not in the business of restrain until a bullet is fired. He goes after any perceived enemies, despite having no track record for defeating any country on any battlefield.
Post genocide Rwanda has largely been defined by addressing the consequences of the genocide against the Tutsi in 1994 that claimed over a million lives.
Genocide engulfed the country. It brought it down to its knees. Only a handful Tutsis survived. Why would then Rwanda get advice from a country that openly goes to bed with genocidaires and terrorists with intentions to “finish the job”?
All we know is that they were defeated and neutralized while they were at their best.
Ugandans, like Mr Kakaire, should by now have understood that Rwanda is not their piece of candy to walk around licking from one side of their cheek.
Rwanda’ home grown solutions have significantly solved Rwandan challenges. For example Ugandans can borrow Gacaca communal courts and avoid mob justice.
Taking stock of how much Umuganda has contributed to Rwanda, one would definitely denounce NRA government because every last Saturday of the month, Rwandans build classrooms, plant trees, treat the sick, clean streets and fix community issues by their own. Is that possible under NRA?
Nearly all Rwandans are insured under the universal health cover and first world countries have openly commended this thoughtful choice and they always admit that in their countries it has been difficult to implement.
Dysfunctional Uganda would not care injecting children with expired polio vaccines and distributing contaminated condoms to adults. Where does Museveni’s Uganda get the courtesy to lecture Rwanda on anything?
Whereas Rwandans donate money to the state through Agaciro Sovereign fund to shield themselves against any foreign manipulations, public servants of Uganda that steal from state are seen as heroes.
To avoid future plagiarism, Rwanda has patented a long list of these home grown solutions and because of high demand from sister countries in Africa; the country has established Rwanda Cooperation Initiative to handle this contribution.
Women in Rwanda can walk safely and freely at night. Similarly, spolingly as it sounds, robberies are now spoken about in historical terms. It is not a trend as is in Uganda. Rwandans take all these for granted. Dare you do the same on the streets of Kampla.
Rwanda is the second business friendly destination in Africa, according to the World Bank, and the first in East Africa.
Global Universities such as Carnegie Mellon have set up campuses in Rwanda. Global firms such as Volkswagen, Dubai Portland World, have set up shop in Kigali due to strategic importance that Rwanda serves them with for African market expansion.
The country is ranked the second conference destination in Africa after South Africa, fetching millions of dollars hosting dozens of events annually.
A threat to this progress can undoubtedly be matched with a punitive price. Asking what cost Rwanda can inflict on its enemies in a lack of judgment. Rwanda has never run out of price tags for its enemies, be it an individual or a set of countries.
A mere border closure alone is costing Uganda over US$600million. Crudely, Uganda is retaliating with kidnaping, torturing and locking up innocent Rwandans in it’s dungeons.
Therefore, denigrating Rwanda thinking that it is small in everything, Uganda should remember the cost it incurred in the two incidents of Kisangani, 20 years ago when it interfered with Rwanda’s interest.
Meanwhile, Uganda also has to clear $10billion owed to DRC for illegally occupying and looting its resources.
Still, Museveni doesn’t learn a lesson from his antagonistic behaviour, instead, he hides behind his rhetorical regional integration old song which he has undermined in all forms.