Home Op-ed Why Museveni fears stepping foot in Goma summit

Why Museveni fears stepping foot in Goma summit

By Jean Gatera

Ugandan President Museveni has strong fears of going to Goma as he might face tough questions.

Commandonepost, one of the websites run by Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI) in misinformation warfare against Rwanda is in damage control mode after the Ugandan ruler earlier last week decided to dodge the peace summit that was to be held in Goma (DRC Congo). The website initially published that “President Museveni would not travel to the venue fearing that his security was not guaranteed in Goma”.

But barely a week after, they decided to spin their fears with claims that “it is the Rwandan President who is not at ease with the venue.” As usual, they were projecting their transgressions upon Rwanda.

They obviously did not like the “Museveni is scared” story, and they had to write a new article fabricated to blame Rwanda.

To understand why Museveni would be scared of traveling to Goma, a good place to begin would be a recent UNGOE (UN Group of Experts) report, and also an International Court of Justice ruling which awarded $10 Billion to Congo against Uganda for crimes of looting, and human rights atrocities in DRC. Uganda appealed the case and lost, and is supposed to pay US$ 10 Billion in damages, plus interest accrued since the ruling, but to date hasn’t done so. One of Commandonepost’s claims was that “the President of Rwanda would be met by protests in Goma.”

This is another case of projection. The protests actually would be against Museveni, because of the atrocities the people of eastern parts of the country have suffered – including looting, plundering and killing of civilians – which led to the ICJ issuing the huge 10 billion dollar fine against Kampala.  

Also, research shows that Uganda has been pinned by numerous UN reports for supporting various terrorist militias operating in East Congo. Kampala, Arua and Entebbe are regularly cited as trafficking hubs that sends arms to DR Congo in exchange for illicit minerals.

Commandonepost also tries to mislead readers that “an agreement had been reached to address the Ugandan president’s security concerns.” The website claims that Uganda had been authorized to “take over” Goma and its airspace to secure the visit. But knowledgeable experts in matters of protocol pointed out what a fictitious claim this was. “The summit would have brought together four foreign Heads of States,” one expert said. “Besides that, what powers does Museveni have ‘to take over Goma’? This is just another absurd claim by the regime’s peddlers of misinformation.”

But unlike Museveni who fears to travel to DRC (one reason being that he would be confronted with issues of accountability – such as the billions owed to DRC) the Rwandan President does travel there.

The Rwandan Head of State also traveled to Goma in 2009 for a summit with the then President Kabila. In 2019, President Kagame of Rwanda traveled to Kinshasa to attend the funeral of Etienne Tshisekedi —Father of the Current DR Congo President— and attended the packed stadium event. On both occasions he was welcomed with rapturous applause.

Another reason for Museveni’s fears of going to Goma, observers point out, is that the summit would have convened signatories of the quadripartite Luanda Memorandum of Understanding between Rwanda and Uganda. With Angola, DR Congo, Uganda and Rwanda at one venue, questions about the Luanda MoU were bound to surface. For years, Ugandan security had been kidnapping and detaining Rwandans illegally in a bid to force them to support anti-Rwanda militia groups. Rwandans that refused to join the macabre anti-Rwanda project would usually be held on trumped up charges of espionage, illegal entry or other crimes but never taken to court. Uganda that had initially denied the practice, eventually released hundreds but categorically refused to release others held incommunicado in various ‘safe’ houses and military prisons.

In the previous quadripartite meeting held at Gatuna, Katuna in February Uganda said it would free all illegally detained Rwandans and that it would stop all support to subversive Rwandan groups as part of ongoing discussions to implement MoU. “But Uganda has not implemented its obligations beyond releasing some illegally detained Rwandans while many more languish in unknown places of detention. On top of that, Kampala has not moved to dismantle networks of negative anti-Rwanda groups, some of which – such as RNC agents Sulah Nuwamanya and Prossy Boonabana – openly continue with their anti-Rwanda subversion from the Ugandan capital.

They are known to operate recruitment cells, mobilization, and other activities with the assistance of CMI.

As of writing this, it is reported that the Goma mini summit will be held virtually, on Friday this week.

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