By Alex Muhumuza
In their tireless work concocting fictions about Rwanda and its officials, Commandonepost, one of the several Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI) controlled outlets of misinformation has come up with misinformation that outgoing Rwandan High Commissioner to Uganda Amb Frank Mugambage wants “to retire in Uganda, in Jinja”.
In an article published earlier this week the website, whose chief editor Bob Atwine gets his marching orders from the CMI leadership, throws around claims that “the reasons why Mugambage wants to retire in Uganda” is because he allegedly is in trouble with his bosses in Kigali.
The fictitious picture they paint is that the ambassador is “in trouble” for the reason that “Kigali is angry because he “failed to kidnap Ugandans, and Rwandans living in Uganda.”
Looked at another way, this is the usual Ugandan regime’s games of projection: to smear Rwanda with crimes which they actually have been the ones committing. The number of Rwandan nationals, or Ugandans of Rwandan origin that Ugandan security agencies have since 2017 harassed with arbitrary arrests, illegal imprisonment and torture would fill a ten-carriage train. They number in the hundreds upon hundreds.
Those that have been following media reports have seen stories whereby Rwandans just in Uganda for social functions, or merely to visit relatives; or others going to school; even grandfathers going to visit children have been abducted from buses in Uganda, or from houses, or from shops, banks and everywhere else. Each time the Ugandan security operatives, most notoriously CMI claim they are arresting them for “espionage”, or “illegal possession of weapons,” and other concocted charges.
Media reports have detailed how none of these people are ever afforded the chance to defend themselves in court. The lucky ones have gotten out alive. A number have died of torture; some like the unfortunate late Mageza – whose case even Ugandan media reported upon for how inhuman the torture was – lost his mind and they took him to Butabika mental health hospital where he died.
“CMI is just a criminal enterprise in the guise of an ‘intelligence organ,’” many have observed. One of CMI’s briefs is to run an anti-Rwanda propaganda campaign, which is how they are smearing Rwanda, that its ambassador was supposed to engage in crimes, though there isn’t a single Ugandan that ever reported problems with Mugambage, or with the Government of Rwanda.
In fact for the past three years Mugambage has been at the forefront in the fight to liberate Rwandans that were kidnapped and tortured by the Ugandan intelligence. His office received hundreds of innocents Rwandans’ families desperately searching for their loved ones. The ambassador wrote countless diplomatic notes in an attempt to secure visits for arbitrarily arrested Rwandan nationals held incommunicado in the Ugandan regime’s torture dungeons. The Rwandan embassy fought hard for the release of its innocent citizens, and Mugambage witnessed firsthand the sorry state of those lucky enough to be released. Some were released with physical and mental trauma.
Another thing that Mugambage did which has earned him the enmity of Kampala is that he was unrelenting in reporting, and protesting with diplomatic notes verbale Uganda’s acts of anti-Rwanda hostility. When Uganda began aiding and facilitating the activities of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC in many different ways in Uganda: recruiting, mobilizing for funds, even helping RNC’s chief financiers open big businesses in Uganda, Mugambage communicated Rwanda’s awareness of these activities. He pointed out how contrary to good relations activities to destabilize a neighbor was.
When a bunch of RNC recruits was intercepted at Kikagati on the border with Tanzania, enroute to terrorist training camps in eastern DRC, the High Commissioner, Mugambage, communicated Rwanda’s displeasure with this. When CMI tortured Rwandans as part of a recruitment drive, it was Mugambage’s work as high commissioner to protest this.
As a result of all the acts of bad-neighborliness by Kampala, Rwanda made the decision to advise her nationals against travel to Uganda. The reason was that with Uganda so openly hostile to her nationals, their safety and security could no longer be guaranteed once in Uganda. Kampala then began claiming “Rwanda had closed the border”, giving birth to a false narrative that accused Rwanda, yet the causes were directly the doing of the Ugandan regime.
Now, in their transparent ways, Ugandan propagandists are attacking Mugambage with fake news, obviously just because he did his job.
But, as a reader pointed out: Mugambage is a patriot that’s served his country a long time in different capacities. He has everything in his own country. Why would he choose to retire in a country like Uganda, with all the anti-Rwanda enmity of the regime there?