By MALE H. MABIRIZI K. KIWANUKA
“Dual citizenship creates the possibilities of having citizens of divided loyalties which might be harmful especially when there may be hostilities between the countries of which a person is a citizen. Dual citizens might not be easily trusted, especially in times of war or national crises…dual citizenship could easily compromise the sovereignty of the majority of the people who have only single citizenship. This minority could take over the political and economic control of the country, especially if they are rich investors with strong economic interest abroad…dual citizenship could compromise the security of the state especially in Africa where as a result of poverty, many people would be bribed to support a detrimental system or programme…people could apply for dual citizenship for wrong motives, such as spying or undermining the stability of the country. The case against dual citizenship won the day. There was an overwhelming majority of views against it” Reads pages 211-212; BENJAMIN ODOKI: THE SEARCH FOR A NATIONAL CONSENSUS: THE MAKING OF THE 1995 UGANDA CONSTITUTION.
I revised that part on 2nd August 2021 when Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) confirmed the illegality of arresting Dr. Lawrence Muganga, the Vice Chancellor of Victoria University in a violent manner. Citizen or not, everybody is protected from inhuman and degrading treatment by Articles 24 and 44(a) of Uganda Constitution. UPDF’s mandate under Article 209 does not include making arrests, that is the work of Police under Article 212.
The bigger issue is the status on Dr. Muganga and people with a background in Republic of Rwanda. In a press conference held the next day, Mr. Frank Gashumba, known as Chairman of people from Rwanda, stated that Dr. Muganga is a Ugandan born in Masaka and grew up in Mukono. That people of Rwandan origin came here in 1923 owing to the instability in Rwanda hence should be treated equally with other tribes and that they are named in the Constitution as citizens. On the other hand, UPDF insists that Dr. Muganga is a foreigner illegally working in Uganda and doing espionage.
It’s time we become unambiguous on the legal position of “Banyarwanda” stated No. 24 in the third schedule to our Constitution as an indigenous community, though without any exact place of origin within Uganda, in the face of a sovereign state with “Rwandese” if we are not to fall into the trap stated by Odoki.
Article 10(a) of the Constitution states “The following persons shall be citizens of Uganda by birth— every person born in Uganda one of whose parents or grandparents is or was a member of any of the indigenous communities existing and residing within the borders of Uganda as at the first day of February, 1926, and set out in the Third Schedule to this Constitution” Question is, were Banyarwanda an indigenous community existing and residing within the borders of Uganda as at the first day of February, 1926? The 1923 information given by Mr. Gashumba, which made them 3 years’ Refugees by 1926, leads to a Negative answer hence they ought not to have been included in the schedule but since the politics of the day was in their favour, here we are.
Moving forward, in our Constitutional review, we need to critically think about retaining Banyarwanda or Barundi as indigenous communities. Now, my friends with a Rwanda background have a duty to prove that they are Banyarwanda, as stated in Uganda Constitution and not Rwandese as per Rwanda’s Constitution, if we are to trust them in defending our sovereignty. Why would a person carry a National Identity Card for both Uganda and Rwanda and we trust him/her?
I have no issues with background but with the loyalty to Uganda sovereign state. Many People with different backgrounds have led their countries to glory; Napoleon Bonaparte who made France great had Italian roots, Germany’s Adolf Hitler had roots in Austria, US’s Barrack Obama has roots in Kenya and UK’s Borris Johnson has roots in Turkey. What matters is the loyalty and commitment to a Country.
Let this be taken in good faith.
The Writer is Lawyer & a Civically Active Ugandan.