Friday, March 11, 2022

Not so long ago, to be precise at the end of January 2022, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba took a bold step to end the Uganda/ Rwanda standoff that had existed for over three years. This standoff had led to the closure of the borders of the two brotherly countries. The amount of loss between the countries in terms of trade, social cohesion and of course human lives is unquantifiable.

It looked an odious task; remember this conundrum of a standoff had failed to be resolved by presidents in the region and other international diplomats. However,  in a matter of days Gen. Kainerugaba was in Kigali  on the invitation of President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and what followed is now common knowledge i.e borders have been opened and the process of rapprochement seem to be moving to another level of normalization of all our bilateral relationships.

Of course, in all this massive success the role of President Yoweri Museveni who gave Gen. Kainerugaba all the confidence and support to end the standoff has to be lauded in equal measure. Guess what, we are talking about a period of two months and the road to full normalization of relationship is almost complete. 

Why did Gen. Kainerugaba and President Kagame achieve this milestone in such a short time? My take is that the two leaders approached this problem with honesty, commitment and extreme wisdom that is only rare to men and women gifted with certain amount of vision. We celebrate them. 

The celebrations in Kigali and Kampala on the 7th March 2022, when passenger buses were allowed to leave Kigali to Kampala after three years of border closure are a testimony of the milestone the two visionary men had achieved.    

I will not go into what the benefits of the normalization of relationship of the two countries that share a lot in common mean because my assumption is that this is common knowledge to every well meaning Ugandan and Rwandese. We have a lot to lose in conflict but a gazillion benefits when we choose peaceful coexistence.

My big celebration though is that the two countries have ended the ‘capture’ of wrong elements on either side of the two countries that were profiteering in peddling wrong and dangerous information that kept the two great nations apart.     

Scholars in conflict studies refer to such people who espouse such an agenda as selfish Greedy Merchants. Greedy Merchants thrive in conflicts and rebellion purely for purposes of greed. In other words, they are motivated by a desire to better their situation, and perform an informal cost benefit analysis in examining if the rewards of fermenting a rebellion or conflict are greater than no war or conflict. These are extremely dangerous people because they put across their greed and selfishness as the primary driving factor. They care less if nations went into bloody conflicts if only it satisfies their selfish and dangerous greed.

Such people are like vultures who that thrive on feasting on dead carcasses of animals that suffer pandemics or die during dry spells when they lack and water for survival. 

I must admit some of us have witnessed a lot of such criminal minded greedy information merchants on either side of the conflict ie between Rwanda and Uganda. We prayed day and night for this to end such that these lousy and greed merchants are deactivated because they are God forsaken lot whose services will not be required when the two countries are honestly talking to each other .  I know institutions of government can detect their lies through different stages of analysis, but there are some smart criminal merchants who succeed in misleading state actors.

Personally, I have been wrongly rebelled a vitriolic critique of the Rwandan government who hides my identity through the pseudo names of some blogger who identifies himself as RPF Gakwerere.  So sad that I also have no idea about this blogger. I chose not to respond to the several accusations by several trolls in Rwanda because I knew no amount of talk would exonerate me as long as the two countries were still having a standoff.   Thank God the standoff is over and there are now honest conversations between the two governments and the era of greedy information merchants is over. No doubt soon the real Gakwerere will be known.

Finally, Ugandans and Rwandese of good faith must cheers these efforts towards full normalization. We all should honestly work towards ending whatever impediments that had strained the good relationship between the two brotherly countries. We need cheer our leaders on either side such that whatever remaining imponderables are quickly sorted and the citizens of both Rwanda and Uganda enjoy fully the benefits of good neighborliness. May the good lord continue blessing our beloved leaders and citizens of the two countries.    

   The writer works with Uganda Media Centre