A section of Banyarwanda living in Uganda has asked local authorities to change their tribe name to Abavandimwe, translated as “brethren,” a move they say will reduce segregation among the respective communities they live in.
Addressing the media in Kampala today Monday, March 15, 2021, the Abavandimwe (Banyarwanda) Council chair, Dr Lawrence Muganga, said they have systematically been locked out of the Ugandan economy and public service related job opportunities.
According to him, right from the 1900 National Census done by the British Colonial Government, the Banyarwanda have always been part of this country’s [Uganda] indigenous tribes.
“This fact is indeed not known to so many people. By the mere fact that the name of our tribe, links us with the neighbouring country, to so many people; they are mistaken to think we are foreigners. However, there are those, who deliberately use this as a weapon of segregation,” Dr Muganga said.
He said, overtime, this has caused them, under the flagship of the name ‘Banyarwanda’ to be segregated and treated like non-Ugandans.
“Much as this country is with no contention, globally acclaimed for welcoming foreigners and refugees, making it a country with the second largest concentration of refugees in the world, this should not in anyway, make some people de-alienate its own fellow citizens, thinking they are foreigners,” they said in a briefing.
In the same briefing, those Banyarwanda proposed to the fellow Banyarwanda to kindly consider re-naming their tribe as “Abavandimwe”.
“We will come to you for consultation, on this matter. We will today explain in detail why we are making this appeal, for the betterment of these 11 million Ugandans, who are currently known to be of the Banyarwanda tribe, as per our Ugandan Constitution. Abavandimwe is the name we propose since it is steeped in the rich tradition of ‘Ubuvandimwe’, which celebrates the bond of brethren,” Dr Muganga added.
Under their newly established council of Abavandimwe, the group claims that their tribe has been confused with the Rwandan nationals and many have been denied social services including National Identity Cards and passports as contained in their brief.
“Members of our tribe are being denied access to the National Identity Cards and Passports, which are some of the most important documents that every Ugandan should and must have.
Unlike our fellow Ugandans, our tribe is being systemically locked out of the economy and public service of this country. Some of us cannot get phone SIM cards, open bank accounts, acquire loans or even exercise our patriotic duty to join the police or armed forces”.
Citing Godfrey Rutagengwa, of Kasiso Village in Kitale Parish, Namuganga Sub-county in Nakifuma County, Mukono District, the brief says he has a National Identity Card, and he recently voted in Uganda’s General Elections at Kajjansi B in Kitende; where he owns a property but he has however been denied a passport and as a businessman, this has frustrated his businesses.
The brief adds that “in relation to all such issues; we recently, had an engagement with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, and he expressed dismay that some of his fellow citizens in this country, can still be treated in such a manner by some wrong elements in Government. He promised to have this matter resolved with immediate effect”.
About the council for Abavandimwe
The Council for Abavandimwe is an independent, not for profit and non-partisan organisation with a mission of protecting the rights of Banyarwanda born and raised in Uganda, preserving their culture and promoting their economic empowerment. The organization is inspired by and grounded in the Banyarwanda tradition of ‘Ubuvandimwe’.
Currently, the Council for Abavandimwe commands an active membership of more than 260,000 who are self-identifying Banyarwanda, spread across the country and abroad. Additionally, the Council for Abavandimwe has grown to have several chapters in different higher institutions of learning in the country with respective coordinators.