By John Kabagambe
KAMPALA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: The country is witnessing a political whirlwind in which Muhoozi Kainerugaba (first son and commander land forces) has captured people’s imagination. In his own words, “Uganda is on fire” and I can’t agree more because MK is the fastest growing brand that is gaining popularity and becoming a household name seemingly overnight, in the most strategically vital demographic, the youth and youthful adults. How did we get here? In case you ask.
You see, the thing is, Muhoozi pulled off the single most strategically important “diplomatic coup”, when he helped to restore the relations between Uganda and Rwanda. By any stretch of imagination that is no mean achievement and it’s worth a toast. Here’s why.
Mending broken ties between the two sister countries, averted the possibility of an outbreak of war between the two countries with disastrous consequences. There was mutual suspicion, negative vibes, an unhealthy military atmosphere, and the tension could have gotten out of hand and spiralled out of control. That was nipped in the bud thanks to Muhoozi.
Secondly, restoring the broken ties came with border reopening and with it, bolstering cross border economic trade that had stalled for more than two years! That Muhoozi helped to solve the long standing feud and impasse is quite significant because previous diplomatic efforts by well meaning regional leaders had not yielded much, however in the blink of an eye (or so it seemed) we now have cordial and thriving relations and frosty relations are a thing of the past.
Aside from the restoration of cross border trade between the two countries, is the all important factor of free movement of people across East African countries. Border closure not only hampered regional trade, it impeded free movement of people which is one of the central pillars of the East African community. So, in a way, the very idea of a political federation of the East African community had started developing serious cracks and fault lines by the fact that Uganda & Rwanda seemed set for a military conflict and had their common border closed. It therefore has far reaching implications in terms of the positive linkages that the two countries and the entire region could benefit from, such as food security, security and intelligence cooperation in operations such as Shuja, as well as good prospects for resumption of stalled projects such as the standard gauge railway interlink between Kampala, Kigali and beyond.
Furthermore, the easing of tensions has helped to reduce the burden on Ugandan Banyarwanda who were bearing the full blunt of the security apparatus that often arrested, held incommunicado (for long periods without trial) scores of innocent Ugandan Banyarwanda on trumped up charges.
Therefore, in the midst of all that, when the MK@48 birthday celebrations started, Ugandans & Rwandans joined in because Muhoozi had given the entire region something worth celebrating him for.
Of great significance are the words of Rwandan President Paul Kagame who celebrated Muhoozi by stating thus:
“A great general is he who wins the peace, not he who wins the war. Thank you for linking our 2 countries” those words essentially capture the aspirations of Rwandans and Ugandans; all they want is peace, stability, economic growth and development of the region, and with President Museveni soon clocking 4 decades in power, and Muhoozi being a great general who won the peace, perhaps the political momentum he is gaining lately (among Ugandans) and the endorsement from his uncle Paul, could get him the much coveted seat of commander in chief when his father retires.
John Kabagambe is a lawyer, Writer, Artist.
Do you want to share a story, comment or opinion regarding this story or others, Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Tel/WhatsApp........0726054858