Mr Kagame (centre L) and Mr Museveni chat as First Ladies Jeanette and Janet lead the way at State House at the weekend. Photo by S. Wandera

President Museveni has offered to reconcile Rwandans living in Uganda fighting for leadership positions. Addressing a joint news conference with his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame at State House, Nakasero, on Friday, Mr Museveni said he would get time and meet the warring Banyarwanda groups to help them resolve their differences.

“I have heard of these wrangles for leadership among the Banyarwanda. I was supposed to have met them but I have been busy with my foreign visitors,” Mr Museveni said. “But now I have time. These are small issues, instead Africa needs insurance after decades of colonialism. The only way to insure Africa is empower our people economically.”

As President Museveni moved in to end the conflicts among the Banyarwanda leaders, Mr Kagame asked them to drop petty issues and focus on the bigger picture – development in the two countries.

“Whether they are living in Uganda or Rwanda, they should live in harmony. You should not focus on such small issues but work for development of the two sister countries,” Mr Kagame said. President Kagame was last week in Uganda to receive heroes’ accolades during NRM’s 26th Liberation Day cerebrations.

What is happening?
A group led by Dr Ephraim Kamuhangire was voted into leadership of Umubano that unites Banyarwanda in Uganda on July 10, 2010. But his leadership is being contested by Mr Donat Kananura’s group.

Mr Faustine Ntambara, Mr Kamuhangire’s deputy, says the members of Umubano are not Rwandans, an argument that Mr Kananura disputes. He also accuses his rivals of stealing the Umubano certificate.

“This group led by Kananura are using the association to extort money from President Kagame under the disguise of helping some 5,000 Rwandans living in Uganda,” Mr Ntambara said. “On Friday, they ferried Bayarwanda in Uganda from upcountry, disguising as Rwandans living in Diaspora to meet Kagame at Serena Hotel. Umubano is for Ugandans and it should not be used to serve foreign interests.”

However, Mr Kananura told Daily Monitor that he was the officially elected chairperson of the Bwanyarwanda in the country. “Kamuhangire’s group has no power over Umubano. The assembly overwhelmingly voted me to head the new leadership and had the powers to call a meeting with President Kagame. And in any case, a Rwandan is and will always remain a Rwandan,” Mr Kananura said.

By Stephen Wandera, Daily Monitor

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