By Jean Gatera
In continuation of a bizarre pattern whereby Kampala media of misinformation seem to have arrogated themselves the role of speaking for Burundi, Chimpreports, a website that takes its marching orders from Ugandan Military intelligence (CMI), last Saturday published an article purporting to explain Burundi’s absence from a recent regional heads of state summit.
Burundi’s no show during the summit, at the invitation of the Congolese head of state and held by virtual conference, was not surprising. “It is not the first time that Bujumbura fails to participate in summits,” observers commented. Yet Kampala propaganda, to no one’s surprise, is finding away to blame Kigali for Burundi’s own decision.
An important factor to consider when reading Kampala misinformation is that peace and security in the region, one of the major topics to be addressed, have never been in the interest of the Museveni government. The opposite applies: its interest is to see to it that insecurity and instability in DRC are never ending. One of the ways they have long hit upon to achieve this is to incessantly try to whip up anti-Rwanda hostility.
With Burundi, however, Museveni has a willing partner in his project to destabilize Rwanda, something that has long been exposed by UN reports, and the testimonies of arrested officials of FLN, like Callixte Nsabimana, or Maj. (Rtd) Habib Mudathir of RNC.
The fact of Uganda’s freedom to use Burundi in its anti-Rwanda smears explains how Chimpreports – in its article titled “Exclusive: Wary of Rwanda’s plans, Burundi pushes for infrastructure development in DRC’s South Kivu” – can claim that “Burundi is wary of Rwanda.” (Therefore, by insinuation, Rwanda is the bad party!)
In the same vein, they publish the fiction that “Kigali is supporting RED-Tabara rebels”, a group said to be fighting the Burundian government. They just publish things like this with nothing to back them up. In fact in the face of evidence to the contrary – such as when Rwanda recently apprehended RED fighters that had try to cross into Rwanda, notified Burundi, and presented them to regional mechanisms for processing.
The claim that “Burundi did not trust Rwanda enough to answer a video call invitation” makes one wonder again: why didn’t we hear this from any official channels?
That aside, given it is no secret that terrorists of Paul Rusesabagina’s MRCD/FLN have attacked Rwanda from Burundian territory, Rwanda might have been the one to decline meeting Burundi in a summit. Even when it is no secret that RNC, Kampala’s favorite anti-Rwanda proxy, has found safe passage in Burundi.
All that aggression hasn’t kept Kigali from any diplomatic initiatives. Because diplomacy doesn’t work like that.
On the other hand, for reasons already mentioned, the Kampala regime has a deep vested interest in Burundi skipping any regional summit on security and cooperation and an article like that of Chimpreports is one indication of this. Uganda is desperate since its proxy groups like RNC, FDLR, RUD and others have for the past year and a half suffered crushing defeats in eastern DRC, with some completely annihilated.
Kampala has seen its anti-Rwanda plots crumble into the dust with these defeats. Citizens of the DRC have, by all accounts, been overjoyed.
But the Kampala regime seemingly never rests when it comes to fomenting instability in the region.
In Ituri Province of Congo, Uganda is already sponsoring a very dangerous conflict that has claimed hundreds of lives, and displaced thousands of others. To cover up its culpability in the insecurity in Ituri, it wasn’t long before Kampala manufactured misinformation, accusing Rwanda of fomenting it. CMI funded websites have gone as far as accusing Kigali of “attempting to balkanize the Congo.”
This propaganda would be laughable if it weren’t so dangerous, and tragic. How would Rwanda “balkanize” Congo? Under what scenario would such a situation arise? The propagandists supply no answers.
On the other hand, it is Ugandan forces causing instability in Ituri to facilitate looting, or dealing in conflict minerals, as a report by the International Crisis Group showed earlier this year. Uganda’s meddling is visible in the militias it sponsors. Kampala authorities are known to pit Congolese militias against each other, fanning the never-ending conflict from which they gain – through illegal trades in timber and gold.
Kampala has been named as backing actors commanding the Ituri region, including former members of the Congolese Rally for Democracy, the Kisangani Liberation Movement, as well as the Lendu militias of Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) and others.
In Ituri, Kampala pits Hema tribesmen against Lendu militias.
According to reliable sources, such was the case recently when leaders of the Hema community were lured to Kampala on the orders of CMI’s director, Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho with promises that the Ugandan leadership would help them form a militia “for the protection of the Hema from the Lendu.” Sources say three Hema leaders – Ibrahim Bamaraki, Kisembo Bitamara, and Kiswara Pele – showed no doubts about this invitation, and set off with their driver, headed to Kampala.
“The trust they showed in Kandiho’s invitation indicates this isn’t the first time he they have been doing this,” said our source.
Further down the article, Chimpreports claims that, “the Banyamulenge community serves as Burundi’s buffer against armed groups linked to Rwanda.” But no reputable organization has ever said this. “The idea is to just throw any mud at Rwanda, and if some sticks, well and good!” commented a social media analyst.
One noticeable thing about the piece is how it sweet-talks the supposed “bilateral excellent relations Uganda has with Burundi”, and talks in flowery terms of “building infrastructure”, “finding solutions to rebel groups,” and so on.
They are pushing the idea that somehow Burundi has “managed to isolate Rwanda” so as to carry out these good acts with DRC.
There is no limit to the fictions Chimpreports and others can come up with.