Why northern Uganda wants to disentangle itself from the ‘Banyarwanda’
There are renewed calls by prominent leaders from northern Uganda for the region to secede from Uganda owing to a deliberate policy by the Museveni regime to isolate it. The current calls have been sparked off by the ongoing lifting of presidential age limit and extension of the five-year term from five to seven.
The armed struggle to dislodge Iddi Amin from power in the 1970s was dominated by the people of northern Uganda (Acholi and Langi) who consequently became the major victims of his regime’s brutalities. In Tanzania, which was the centre of resistance, Museveni moved to weaken the main opposition group led by former President Obote by forming a briefcase Bantu liberation group that he called FRONASA. That was the begging of the North/South divide that we are witnessing today. Upon crossing into Uganda in 1978/79, Museveni embarked on swelling his FRONASA ranks with Banyarwanda refugees and Bantu from Western Uganda.
The race between the Bantu and Nilotes of northern Uganda was set in motion. This is what the so-called Bush War was about. The taking of power by Museveni in 1986 was a victory against the ‘Acholi’, ‘Anyanya’ and ‘Northerners’. In return, the Northerners called the victorious NRA as Nyarwanda in reference to the NRA dominated Banyarwanda. The state sanctioned violence by the victorious NRA against the defeated Northerners gave rise to the over 20 years of the northern Uganda insurgency. Much as the rebellion has been associated with the so-called rogue and possessed militias led by Joseph Kony, it was a rebellion by the same people of northern Uganda and Acholi in particular.
That is what Minister Echweru alluded to when he made this reckless statement on the floor of parliament; “…. you tried and failed and we will make you fail again. I am on record having defeated a group that wanted to secede, we will defeat you again”. Minister Echweru was a rebel with the Teso based UPA of Peter Otai. When he surrendered to the NRA he was brought into government but more so elevated on recommendation of by Gen. Aronda whom he met during the CA.
The war crimes that were committed by the Museveni regime security forces against the northerners during the insurgency left the region socially, economically and politically lagging. The targeting of northerners by the NRA depleted the region of its intellectual human resource. Many highly educated northerners were harassed into exile, army officers systematically decimated, public servants systematically laid off, property looted and destroyed, and economic livelihoods disrupted. The systemic destruction of northern Uganda culminated into the hoarding of millions into Internally Displaced Camps (IDPs).
The appallingly and dehumanizing conditions in the IDPs helped Museveni in subduing the northerners. With the declaration of by the LRA as a terrorist organization, northerners cut links with the LRA – a development Museveni terms as “defeat of LRA”. Still with the end of the insurgency over a decade ago the Museveni regime has undermined all efforts to socially and economically reconstruct northern Uganda. Trillions of aid money meant for that purpose have been deliberately swindled and diverted under Museveni’s nose. The motive is simple; keep them in abject poverty so that they can easily be manipulated. That way they also find no value in their land thus placing the region on top of the target list for the ongoing land grabbing.
A recently released report by the parliamentary committee clearly reveals that the region has suffered at the hands of a deliberate policy of economic and political exclusion. When the northerners raised alarm in the late 1980s over what they termed at ‘Nyarwanda” occupation, the rest of the country sided with Museveni in condemning them. Now it is an open secret that the whole country is dissenting the state capture by a small clique of “Banyarwanda”. May be if Ugandan had paid attention to the alarm bells and cries from northern Uganda as early as the late 1980s, we would not have gone this far. Therefore, the threats of secession by northern Uganda is aimed at disentangling itself from the claws of the ‘Banyarwanda’. Otherwise, the people of northern Uganda love all Ugandans, have sacrificed a lot for the unity of Uganda but are frustrated by a small clique that is holding the country hostage.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND ‘HITTING ON THE HEAD’ IS THE WAY TO GO.
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