Ex-minister Kirunda Kivejinja and H.E. Wendy Swartz, the SA High Commissioner to Uganda disagree over the genesis of the recent xenophobic attacks.
By Nicholas Wassajja & David Lumu
Uganda's former internal affairs minister Kirunda Kivejinja and H.E Wendy Swartz, acting South African High Commissioner to Uganda have fundamentally disagreed over the genesis of the recent xenophobic attacks on black foreigners in South Africa.
Kivejinja argues that South Africa was cut off from the rest of Africa, a trend that explains the dismissal understanding of Pan Africanism by many South Africans.
Speaking during a Pan-African club dialogue, Kivejinja said that the limited interface between South Africans and Africa coupled with social-economic imbalances have caused the never-ending violence against black foreigners.
“Africans see blacks as their sisters and brothers but South Africans were cut off from Africa. South Africans were not born criminals but the situation has made them to be criminals,” he said.
Kirunda Kivejinja speaks as South African diplomat Swartz Wendy (far left) looks on. (Photo credit: Ramadhan Abbey)
Kivejinja also blamed the South African Government for neglecting the lower class people and constructing an economy that is commanded by a few people.
“The economy in South Africa is in the hands of a few people. Yet the majority has the votes but they don’t have a stake in the economy. They have no Pan-African ideology. Poverty and disparity has resulted into class contestations that are happening now,” he said.
But Wendy dismissed Kivejinja’s allegation that South Africans are not grounded in Pan-Africanism ideology.
Wendy said that what is happening in South Africa is not rooted in Kivejinja’s allegation that they are cut off from the rest of Africa but it is an action of a small group of criminals.
“South Africans are so much inter-related with Africa. They even have children from with African from various states. Every south African is annoyed with what this small group of criminals is doing,” she said.
Wendy said that the power to resolve the matter is within Africa.
“We can't afford looking on because the acts may spread," she said.
This month, irate South African descended on foreign blacks and also burnt businesses of immigrants in a series of attacks that have claimed lives of seven people and left scores injured. In 2008, there were similar attacks on immigrants in South Africa.
"Xenophobia is against what our liberators stood for that's why we need solutions from you to preserve what they fought for," Wendy said.
Other discussants such as UPC’s David Pulkol and Prof. Edward Kakonge urged the South African Government to address the inequality issues and also called for the African unity spirit to be revived within South Africa.
Kivejinja clashes with SA diplomat over xenophobic attacks