By Obed K Katureebe
Veteran Journalist turned politician Wafula Oguttu surprised most us he mentored in the profession when attacked senior journalist Bernard Tabaire for his views about Museveni and on how he has handled the refugee crisis In Uganda.
(See, No Mr Tabaire, you are wrong on Museveni, Daily Monitor July, 5.2017)
Tabaire had observed that the UN and indeed the Secretary General Antonio Guterres need to find a lasting solution to the refugee crisis in the Great Lakes region.
Tabaire observed that President Museveni’s charitable attitude towards the over 1.2 million refugees was not a permanent solution because the next leader after him might be less charitable in which case they might be thrown out.
In brief, Tabaire was just calling on the UN to have a permanent solution to the refugee crisis in the region and not relying on the magnanimity of individual leaders.
Tabaire’s comments were after Museveni and the UN Secretary General hosted a successful a solidarity summit on refugees in Uganda from the June 20-23, 2017.
The summit was primarily meant to showcase Uganda’s rare hospitality on refuges but at the time drum up financial support from the rest of the world to be able to feed the ever rising numbers of refugees especially those that are flocking in from the DR Congo and South Sudan
Waf, as he is commonly known in the journalism fraternity unleashed a stinging rebuttal accusing Tabaire of misinforming Ugandans and being a Museveni apologist.
Waf’s raving were not in any way connected with the single point Tabaire put across in his Sunday Monitor column “ Reasons why Uganda’s good refugee policy could change”, of June 25, 2017.
Instead, Waf had his own imagined issues he thought Tabaire were promoting. It is sad.
The accusation that it is Museveni who caused the refugee crisis in the region was farfetched.
Waf went into the usual tired accusation by the opposition politicians that Museveni is the sole cause of any conflict in neighboring countries.
Waf accused Museveni for having caused the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Really.
I guess Waf brings in Museveni in the Rwanda Genocide just because he supported Tutsi Rwandan refugees who had lived in exile in Uganda for more than 30 years.
These people decided to use force of arms to regain their identity in 1990 after all efforts to convince the Kigali regime to accept them back peacefully had failed.
Waf knows more than anyone else the continued dehumanization Rwandan refugees suffered in Uganda especially during the Obote 11 regime in 1982?
Therefore, the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi was meant to happen for as long as the Hutu regime in Kigali felt that the Tutsi had no right to return home.
It was a matter of time before Tutsi forcefully returned home and the ideologically bankrupt Hutu regime would do what they did.
I believe any Pan African worth his name would have given Rwandese refugees a shot in the back to regain their identity.
Similarly, Museveni’s support to Salvir Kiir and the late Garang in S. Sudan was purely PanAfrican.
This was to liberate a community that had been enslaved by the dominant Arab north.
Besides, it is not only Museveni that supported the SPLA freedom fighters alone. The US, EU, UK, Canada and all other civilized nations across the world supported them.
Their secondary problems which brought fallout between President Salvar Kiir and his Vice Reich Machar are more like what Waf and his fellow 1979 liberators suffered when they had removed Idd Amin.
I wonder if Waf would blame the late President Julius Nyerere for the chaos and death that followed the removal of Amin of which he championed.
As a result, the UPDF entered Juba in 2013 to stop the bloodletting that had begun as halted.
The rest of the world was watching and did nothing.
The UN whose mandate primarily to curtail such conflict and find a lasting solution was as usual making pointless statements urging the conflicting parties to end the bloody war. In fact, some of the UN skeleton team in S. Sudan was not spared. Some got killed in the ensuing conflict.
Uganda received all sorts of condemnation by some quarters in the UN who reasoned that Uganda’s presence in S. Sudan was funning the conflict.
They urged Uganda to leave S. Sudan without a clear agenda on how to fill the vacuum that the UPDF was going to leave.
Indeed, when the UPDF left in 2015 it did not take even a year before Juba was up in flames. Since then the guns in S.Sudan have never gone silent and the influx of refugees to Uganda has never stopped.
The most unfortunate accusation is that Museveni invaded DR Congo caused death of more than 4 million people and influx of refugees amounting to 200.00 people.
This untrue because UNHCR can prove it that the DR Congo refugees to Uganda began around 2011 when President Joseph Kabila won a contested election.
DR Congo refugees continue to pour in Uganda following the political stalemate they are currently in.
Finally, I would want to know what Waf would have done supposing he was the one in the seat of presidency. Uganda was under attack by ADF terrorists and was fully sponsored by the regime of then president Mobutu Seseko.
I guess Waf still remembers the Kichwamba Massacre in 1998 where hundreds students of Kichwamba Technical Institute were burnt alive while sleeping in their halls of residencies.
The writer works with Uganda Media Centre- Ministry of ICT