On 01/16/2022, you cryptically tweeted something that sent ripples across the Twitter-sphere and within the security circles.
“This is my uncle, Afande Paul Kagame. Those who fight him are fighting my family. They should all be careful”, you tweeted.
Nobody knows exactly what you, with a gift for enlisting online controversy but which always seems loaded with more than meets the eye, meant with that tweet.
Now it emerges that you are visiting Kigali to see “uncle ” amidst a backdrop of bad blood between our two erstwhile bond ally nations that many observers think may not heal without a full-scale military confrontation breaking out.
If the visit is part of the appeasement strategy that has been preferred by Kampala throughout years of bullying by Kigali, it will end in tears going by former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s take on the principle of appeasement.
Appeasement is the foreign policy tactic of offering specific concessions to an aggressor in order to prevent war. An example of appeasement is the infamous 1938 Munich Agreement, in which Great Britain sought to avoid war with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy by taking no action to prevent Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 or Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938.
This lame duck diplomacy did not help matters as Great Britain subsequently found itself in the deep end of war with raging aggressors who took the concessions as a sign of feebleness and desperation.
Perhaps the best-known example of appeasement took place on September 30, 1938, when leaders of Great Britain, France, and Italy signed the Munich Agreement allowing Nazi Germany to annex the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
German Führer Adolph Hitler had demanded the annexation of the Sudetenland as the only alternative to war.
However, British Conservative Party leader Winston Churchill, opposed the agreement. Alarmed by the rapid spread of fascism across Europe, Churchill argued that no level of diplomatic concession would appease Hitler’s imperialistic appetite.
Working to ensure Britain’s ratification of the Munich Agreement, appeasement supporter, Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, resorted to ordering the British media not to report news of Hitler’s conquests.
Despite growing public outcry against it, Chamberlain confidently announced that the Munich Agreement had ensured “peace in our time,” which, of course, it had not.
“You chose dishonour, and you shall have war? You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war,” Churchill declared after Neville Chamberlain returned from signing the Munich Pact with Hitler.
This quote was made in reference to the German annexation of the Sudetenland.
However, some question whether this remark was made by Churchill.
Nevertheless, whoever made it, it was as relevant then as it is now in the Uganda-Rwanda affair.
“The government had to choose between war and shame. They chose shame. They will get war too.” That was Churchill’s spot-on prediction.
It is not farfetched to compare the Uganda-Rwanda feud with what existed between Great Britain-Nazi Germany.
You are well aware that the armies of our two countries have had live military confrontations before, in Kisangani (I and II). Those clashes left unresolved hangovers that have remained unresolved to-date despite diplomatic pretences over time.
Having failed to defuse tensions for years despite brokering of several rounds of talks by regional players, it is only a matter of time before something serious ignites, and which most of us wouldn’t wish for.
Rwanda has consistently pressed demands on Uganda without the fulfilment of which it will keep the Katuna border shut and maintain an active hostile stance against its former bond ally.
The “uncle” you are dealing with is not a man you “sweeten” yourself around and get sweets from. Biblically, you can offer him a fish and he offers back a serpent.
Amidst the tension and a confusing mix of optimism and pessimism, your extraordinary visit is likely to achieve little or backfire if not fortified with a strong agenda.
Uganda must use the occasion to place her own demands or expect to lose whichever direction the feud takes.
It is anticipated that Rwanda will table a raft of “irreducible minimum” demands on Uganda if it is to relax its side of things.
Anticipated demands include sacking Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, the CMI chief hated so much in Kigali; Brig. CK Asiimwe, closing Ayabatwa Rujugiro’s tobacco factory in Arua, granting leeway to Rwanda to freely kidnap and kill anyone they want in Uganda and for Rwanda to withdraw from DRC. Imagine!
These demands could change in form and number at will to intimidate Uganda into total submission-and a war of conquest.
Uganda should avoid this trap by fielding its own demands which must include;
a demand to Kagame to sack Gen. James Kabareebe and Brig. Dan Munyuza, unconditionally opening the border, a demand to act on the widely reported allegations of support ting ADF and other hostile groups, ceasing paying lobbyists in the West to sanction Ugandan Security officials, stopping hostile propaganda in mainstream and social media and stopping bankrolling the opposition in Uganda.
Failure for Uganda to set its terms and making the mistake of conceding to Rwanda’s demands will with the hope of preventing escalation of their differences surely lead to consequences like the ones Churchill, the very man who dubbed Uganda as the “Pearl of Africa” foretold. He would be very disappointed and Ugandans badly let down.
In your various capacities as a Ugandan, First Son, Senior Presidential Advisor and Commander of Land Forces, you are well placed to prevent your homeland from suffering dishonour and disrepute.
Even your “uncle” will be proud to see you stand up and present a strong case in the interest of peace and security in the region.
On the contrary, pursuing appeasement would surely bring about consequences that we shall all leave to regret.
General, I am not saying you cannot stand like a man and state a strong case. What I am saying is that as Ugandans, we are with you as you dare to rejuvenate and cement the age old bond between our two countries backed by your Chwezi ancestors.