Banyarwanda In Uganda Propose Name-Change To “Abavandimwe” Due To Segregation By Some Authorities

Banyarwanda In Uganda Propose Name-Change To “Abavandimwe” Due To Segregation By Some Authorities

By Norman Isaac Mwambazi

The Council of Banyarwanda, an independent, not for profit and non-partisan organization with a mission of protecting the rights of Banyarwanda born and raised in Uganda has proposed that the Banyarwanda tribe in Uganda change their name to “Abavandimwe.”

The council cites among other things segregation by some Ugandan authorities due to the misconception that they are nationals of Rwanda, yet they have been a part of the Ugandan community from as far as 1900 when their ancestors migrated from Rwanda to Uganda in the late 19th century.

Banyarwanda In Uganda Propose Name-Change To "Abavandimwe" Due To Segregation By Some Authorities
The Council during the press conference.

The Banyarwanda, who are recognised by the 1995 Uganda Constitution as one of the indigenous tribes of Uganda and listed as tribe number 24, say it has become difficult for Ugandans to understand the difference between them and the nationals of Rwanda.

As such, a sizeable of them have been denied some services by the authorities in Uganda like passports and national identification cards.

“Members of our tribe are being denied access to the National Identity Cards and Passports, which are some of the most important documents that every Ugandan should and must have. Unlike our fellow Ugandans, our tribe is being systemically locked out of the economy and public service of this country. Some of us cannot get phone SIM cards, open bank accounts, acquire loans, or even exercise our patriotic duty to join the police or armed forces,” the statement released by the council reads in part.

It adds, “Our research shows that 80% of our young people who have at one point applied for passports to be able to travel and seek jobs (Kyeyo) abroad, go for treatment or for business, have been denied access, despite being citizens of Uganda.”

Banyarwanda In Uganda Propose Name-Change To "Abavandimwe" Due To Segregation By Some Authorities

 

The council says that the mere fact that the name Banyarwanda links them to Rwanda, so many people are mistaken to think they are foreigners. It also notes that there are those, who deliberately use this as a weapon of segregation against them.

To detach themselves from being classified as nationals of Rwanda, the Council has proposed they change the name of their tribe to Abavandimwe and have the constitution amended to reflect this change.

“In order to help Ugandans and the government of Uganda to make a clear and definitive distinction between nationals of Rwanda and our tribe, we believe it is time we rebranded to the community of ‘Abavandimwe’,” the council suggests.

They said they would conduct countrywide consultations among their community members to popularise their proposed name.

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