Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Letter to #Museveni on EAC Summit comments on #Burundi - @EUAmbSchmidt @USAmbUganda @PNkurunziza

By David Gakunzi
22 May 2017
Letter to Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on Burundi.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda.
Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,
I have just listened to and listened carefully to your speech in Arusha at the recent EAC Summit. The passage on Burundi took me aback: "Burundi is one of us and no action should be taken against her without our input. Our house is our house. With the European Union we have a concern: the European Union has unilaterally imposed sanctions against Burundi when it is one of our members ".  Strange: the impression of hearing a ghost, the impression of hearing the voice of Idi Amin Dada. The same point, the same nationalist demagogue: "Europe! Europe! "Europe accused! Will the Freedom fighter in you eventually be slaughtered by the spirit of the marshal?
The Julius Nyerere, to whom you often refer, would he have seen the way you see the world today?  Would not Idi Amin still be here, enthroned as the head of Uganda?  But you see, Nyerere was human; Nyerere did not say: leave Idi Amin alone; Leave this whole business alone, it is between us people of East Africa; Nyerere said: no, we can not accept barbarism in our borders; No, we can not accept that a tyrant continues to murder, to kill his own people in broad daylight, before our eyes as we remain indifferent.
Nyerere stood up and took his responsibilities. He mobilized the whole world, and Idi Amin was overthrown and, in the wake of it, you came to power. Thanks to the precious and decisive help of the young Rwandese who were exiled in Uganda and the logistical help of a certain Bagaza, then in Bujumbura.
Since that time, you regularly refer to the Mwalimu in your long and insufferable speeches to tell the truth but usually quite the reverse, of what Nyerere would have said or done. As a reminder, in case your memory is now failing, Mwalimu was the champion of sanctions against the apartheid regime; Mwalimu was the apostle of the sanctions against the government of Lagos during the massacre of the Biafra; Mwalimu was the champion of the adoption of the sanctions inflicted on Burundi during the 90's ...
But you, yes, you, what do you say today? Completely the opposite. "That Europe, by sanctioning Burundi, has allowed itself to punish your child, without having consulted you beforehand (a crime against your supreme majesty)." To listen to you, therefore, before the European Union, in accordance with its own principles and values, decided to no longer grant the money of its taxpayers to the regime of the killers of Bujumbura whose hands are dripping with blood Until the end of the nails, it would have been necessary for Europe to hasten to come and see you and beg you to grant her permission to remain faithful and consistent with her own values! What about such remarks?
Let them, in Mwalimu's favorite expression, refer to nonsense; And that they are simply not worthy of the freedom fighter you were in your youth.Mr. Museveni, we are talking of Burundi, and you know very well of many destroyed human lives, tortured youth, raped women, segregation, hate and divisions.  The horrors. Crimes against humanity. Acts of genocide. All these may not be very much in your eyes and likely will probably not stop you choose that they stop.  This is African drama which makes no sense and is so inhumane, irresponsible with total contempt for life.  You trivialize life, allow violence, crush people and destroy lives with no care.
My father, Chief Barnabé Ntunguka, a descendant of Mbibe, the founder of Unaru (African National Union of Ruanda-Urundi), was the first to say, the language of equality before the law, the word Independence in Burundi. And Ntunguka paid the high price: harassment, confiscation of his property, taking away of his land and livestock, imprisoned multiple times... But you see, the colonialists never took his life. Under Nkurunziza, his fate would have been quite different: he would have been assassinated immediately and thrown somewhere in a mass grave.  
Kenyatta in Kenya, Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, Mandela in South Africa, Neto in Angola, Toivo Ya Toivo in Namibia, all were also imprisoned by the colonial powers, and all were released alive. And what do we see today under our famous liberators who commit unfathomable inhumanities? A sad spectacle: the new Kenyatta and Kaunda daily chased, beaten, tortured, murdered. What happened to us? Have we lost sense of the sacredness of human life? The tragic truth in front of us? Mandela like prisoners in many African countries no longer spend twenty-seven years in jail.  Many are assassinated on the first day of their arrest.
Mr Museveni, the old man who you have become speaks today as all the tyrants of the continent speak when they are asked to account for the respect for the lives of their fellow citizens: "Human rights? Democracy? A case of the Wazungus; A matter of whites! Let us solve our own problems. "Sorry, we are not your" own problems "; Sorry our lives are not your properties. And we are really tired of this argument served in okra sauce: national sovereignty, national sovereignty, respect for national sovereignty!
And especially not from your mouth: because when it comes to going to plunder the mineral resources of your neighbors, there is no national sovereignty, It suddenly just becomes faint and evaporates! Borders are crossed, pillage without shame. But when it comes to helping victims who have been persecuted, to all those who are threatened in their tranquility, in their right to existence, in their freedoms, there, then, the argument: national sovereignty gets lifted high as though it was a flag to greet people with! Mr. Yoweri Museveni, you did not, personally, commit any monstrosity in Burundi; You are not the author of the murderer of Nepo and all the others, torture, public calls for rape of women, disappearances, thousands of young people thrown into jails, Of the 500,000 Burundian refugees condemned to exile, but you are responsible.
You have been and still are deeply involved. Because you knew. You know, since that day in January 2015, when Mrs. Zuma, then President of the African Union Commission, came to see you urgently in Kampala, to warn you, to beg you to use your influence with your boyfriend and fowl Nkurunziza in order to prevent the  looming crisis on the horizon in Bujumbura. You then said nothing worthwhile, or anything useful. What do you hope, then, by your silence, by your passivity, by your ultimate support for the power of Bujumbura?  What did you and what do you expect to change? 
Yes, I know that it is more important in your eyes to save the bid for Bechir and Nkurunziza in the name of Pan Africanism than to protect the lives of these young Africans who you consider too free and too uncontrollable.  Do you not think the world does not know what your interest is in all this?  What did you say, at the time when Charles Taylor was slaughtering Liberians? That the mistake committed by the International Community in Liberia was - not to have delayed rescuing the victims - but not letting Charles Taylor win clearly and frankly! And it seems to be  your position lately and you will remember when Yaya Jameh recently tried to hijack the democracy of Gambians.  
As Gaddafi, up to the last minute Idi Amin, you made yourself the ultimate advocate for the tyrant of Banjul, in the name of respect for the national sovereignty of The Gambia! No, Mr. Museveni, your house is not our house. The Africa dreamed of by the Mwalimu and Mandela was not this tormented, tortured house under the rule of the Bechir, the Taylor, the Jameh, and the Nkurunziza. The Africa for which they sacrificed their youth for was not this land burnt by terror, hunger and thirst, rejecting corpses in the dust reddened with blood by intermittent seasons nor by the desire for unlimited power from the weak.
The relief of the afflicted, the healing of the sick, the return of those who are far away, health to those who are close, education as a universal right, shared prosperity, the same law for all, joy and freedom, A flourishing democracy, the equality of men and women; these were the dreams of our past leaders. So Not yet Uhuru? True question posed by Odinga which is still worth saying.
For how can we be free when directed by such disastrous men, men with hearts so cold, without compassion, guided by the sole desire to possess, little boys with cold hearts, inanimate who fear freedom and who are not Bearers of a single political project except to die in power? It is not to you that I shall learn it: no tyranny is eternal; One can lock up, crush a free brain, crush it but no one can destroy the living thought and desire for freedom.
Yes, however long the night is, the day always ends up appearing on the horizon.  One thing for certain: we will not accept, we will never accept that democracy be demolished in Burundi and our lives be battered, trampled and crushed. And no doubt: we will find in us the strength to remain standing, and we will one day save ourselves.  And educated by your example, we will try not to become the next Freedoms fighters clinging to power, locked up in the ivory tower of their past exploits and finishing their reign in their old age having abdicated all consciousness and the founding values from their youth years when they started fighting.
The original letter is in French in the link above.  This translation into English was done by Martha Leah Nangalama who is not a professional translator.  

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