By Sam Akaki
We congratulate Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba for demonstrating the courage of his conviction and concern for our common humanity, when he posted on his twitter account, “I don’t know why my brothers in Ethiopia are fighting me? It makes me sad. Tigrayans are part of us. God is the one who protects us!” (20th September 2021).
No wonder Ugandan and international Bazukulu are showering Gen Kainerugaba with praise on social media! Some want him to be the next president of Uganda.
We also give credit to Gen Museveni, who went further than all African leaders, who attended the recent event marking the inauguration of Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed for a new five-year term, and warned Ethiopians that politics of identity “had led to the emergence of many failed states in post-independence Africa. (Museveni tells Ethiopia to move past politics of ethnicity, Nile Post 5th October 2021).
We appreciate that protocol could not allow Museveni to go beyond these diplomatic words.
Now that he is back at home, he should urgently liaise with like-minded leaders in the region to call what is happening in Tigray by its real name – genocide.
Article II of the 1951 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, ratified by 149 States including Uganda, defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.”
Six million people in Tigray, including children have been subjected to all the above since Mr Abiy Ali declared his so-called “law enforcement operations” almost a year ago on 4th November 2020.
They have been ethnically-profiled, blockaded, bombarded from air and ground, starved, denied access to humanitarian assistance and subjected to rape as a weapon of war, according to UN and international aid agencies.
That is not all. Ethiopian and Eritrean troops deliberately targeted and destroyed or looted social and economic infrastructures including schools, health facilities, communication network, electricity and banking.
To ensure the complete destruction Tigrayans as a people, Ethiopia has recently expelled seven UN officials, a move the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has condemned as illegal under international law.
Despite these inhuman and degrading actions, the African Union, which was quick to issue a statement that “strongly condemns the murder of George Floyd that occurred in the United States of America at the hands of law enforcement officers”, has been noticeable by its deafening silence on Tigray Genocide, claiming it is Ethiopia’s internal affair.
How can it be an internal affair, when Eritrean troops have been fighting side by side with Ethiopian national army and associated tribal militias since the beginning of the war?
And how can it be an internal affair, when mutilated Tigrayan bodies are floating along river Tekeze into neighbouring Sudan?
The African Union, which claims its aims are to promote peace, security, and stability on the continent…promote and protect human and peoples rights” is sleeping on the job, leaving Tigray genocide to become an intolerable embarrassment to Africa.
It justifies the claim by a few racists in the west, that Africans cannot rule themselves.
The biggest question is, how many more Tigrayan children and old women must be raped and or starved to death before Museveni, a renowned liberator of Africans, says enough is enough?
Lest Uganda is seen to be condoning the genocide, Museveni should urgently form a committee of concerned African leaders who will speak up and speak out, and offer whatever assistance is necessary including opening humanitarian corridor to Tigray region through the Sudan.
This is precisely what some regional countries would have done for ordinary Ugandans if Obote or Museveni himself had been foolish enough to blockade Luwero Triangle or Northern Uganda and Teso region during our own tribal wars.
In fact, Ethiopia had offered materials and a training ground for Obote’s supporters during the early stages of NRA/M revolution.