In light of the current hostile relations between Rwanda and Uganda, it is perhaps worth suggesting that, it does not really help at all to keep speaking of/about and referring to both countries as ‘sister’ countries which, in effect, assumes and thus implies the existence of a father/mother/parental figure for/to both countries somewhere.
This, of course, then raises a curious but fundamental question: who and where is that [parental] figure and in which of the two countries is it, does it live and can it be found?
This obvious patronising language, although the intention and purpose of which is clearly to appeal to and/or arouse people’s emotions, must be consciously avoided as it does absolutely nothing valuable to allay the political issues at the heart of the current standoff; that may well gradually degenerate into an all-out military confrontation. An unfortunate and undesirable eventuality if things – particularly the kind of incendiary political rhetoric thrown back and forth – carry on at the same level of intensity for both countries as the cost of a military confrontation and war will be enormous to both countries.
Matters of politics are hardly, if ever at all, about and based on and/or defined by blood relations, more so, between countries. International politics and relations is purely about interests, nothing more, nothing less.
It does not need any measure of intelligence to know and understand that. It simply requires the ability to ask:
a) what is in it for me?
b) how will it likely affect me?
c) what are my present and likely future interests?
d) how does my present action and/or reaction likely to impact on my future interests?
So, clearly, the current issue between Rwanda and Uganda is not and therefore cannot be roundly reduced to a blood relations of ‘sister‘ countries.
The issue is, indeed, one of national interests and sovereignty irrespective of the historic relations – blood relations or otherwise – inevitably between the two countries.
Governments from both countries, each feels that its national sovereignty is being violated by the actions of each and the other and therefore, each of both, rightly so, feels the need to act in what appears as in defense of their national sovereignty and national interests.
In that view, none of the two countries is wrong; what is however of more concern is the veracity and magnitude of the serious claims and accusations each makes and heaps against the other and subsequently being traded between the two countries as justification for each other’s, frankly, outrageous actions and reactions.
Whether or not, each other’s actions and reactions warrant the behaviour thus from and by both countries is one thing, but what is without a doubt clear and is at stake, is national sovereignty and interests.
It goes without saying that I feel historically sympathetic to Rwanda and its cause and therefore, historically biased in this matter. But one thing and finally, the claim of ‘sister‘ countries won’t wash!