Home Main Stories A grossly misleading headline in Uganda’s state newspaper

A grossly misleading headline in Uganda’s state newspaper

By Alex Muhumuza

The New Vision newspaper, which has morphed into the leading anti-Rwanda publication in the region, yesterday Sunday 16, published a story with a completely misleading headline. “Trader narrates Rwanda ordeal”, said the paper.

The “trader” The New Vision was talking about is none other than Emmanuel Sebuzuru, the (Uganda) Horizon Bus Company manager in Kisoro whom Rwandan authorities detained briefly earlier this month in relation to an investigation, then released him.

There are a number of inaccuracies, misrepresentations and falsehoods in the article. The first misrepresentation lies in usage of the word “ordeal” in the headline. Anyone that followed the story of Sebuzuru when Rwandan investigative authorities held him on the Fifth this month will know that the man suffered no ordeal.

Sebuzuru himself told Ugandan media upon his release, and when he was back in his country: “while in detention I was treated as a diplomat because nobody harmed me or took away any of my belongings. I was driven in a (Rwanda) Police vehicle to Gatuna Border with instructions to the border security personnel to help me cross to Uganda without being harmed or disturbed by anybody.”

The man obviously was telling the truth because he was back home in Kisoro, therefore under no pressure. Even the Monitor, which has – like almost all other Ugandan media houses – taken on a virulent anti-Rwanda tone, quoted Sebuzuru saying exactly those words. Sebuzuru said Rwandan investigators are professionals that do their work in a courteous, professional, manner.

The man’s words sharply contradict the New Vision – something that indicates the paper has sunk into a lack of professional ethics that it keeps digging deeper into where Rwanda is concerned.

Rwandan investigators took Sebuzuru in for questioning in relation to a large sum of money he was carrying, according to sources. When Ugandan media learnt of it they rushed to print allegations that “a Horizon Bus Manager had been kidnapped in Rwanda.”

This prompted a Rwandan analyst to remark, “Ugandans, perhaps because they are used to the criminality of their own security organs such as Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, think other countries also behave like that!”

By now the victimization of innocent Rwandan citizens by the Museveni regime security operatives has become everyday news. There are a lot of accounts of the Ugandan regime harassment of Rwandans travelling to Uganda or those already living there. There have been many accounts of Rwandans that have been pulled off buses enroute to Kampala, accused either of “espionage” or “illegal entry”, then abducted and taken to cells or unknown locations.

Over a thousand Rwandans that have been kidnapped languish in Ugandan prisons, some as long as two years. There are the hair-raising stories of torture that Rwandans, unfortunate to fall into the hands of CMI, suffer. Some Rwandans have come out of the clutches of CMI crippled and unable to walk, and dumped at the border.

These and similar gross violations of the human rights of Rwandans have become the norm since the Museveni regime declared its enmity against Rwanda by working with, and facilitating, the RNC and FDLR – groups bent on destabilizing Rwanda.

“The New Vision obviously is trying to insinuate that Rwanda is doing to Ugandans the same inhuman things that the Kampala regime perpetrates on Rwandans, which is completely laughable,” said an observer.

Everyone knows, just as Sebuzuru now knows, that when Rwandan security authorities arrest a Ugandan it is done within the law and according to international norms. The suspects are informed what they are being arrested for. No one will take them to unknown locations to inflict torture, and no one harasses Ugandans – or other nationals – in Rwanda.

That is exactly what Sebuzuru personally saw.

The interesting thing with The New Vision’s article is that after they had difficulty finding anything negative to fabricate about Rwandan security, they tried to alarm their readers by insinuating, “Rwanda wanted to pin Sebuzuru on receiving money to recruit for RNC”, but that ‘Rwanda’s security agencies failed to pin him.”

The fact is that after a professional interrogation, carried out in a courteous, professional atmosphere, Rwandan authorities determined Sebuzuru was clear of any wrongdoing. They subsequently transported him to the border – as he himself described. The paper goes on with other lies such as one that “Sebuzuru was released because of Ugandan pressure”.

It is as if this propaganda organ just can’t accept that Rwandan security organs do their work professionally and aren’t in the habit of harassing, torturing or wrongly detaining people, a Ugandan independent journalist commented on request of anonymity. You can feel they want the world to believe Rwandans are the same thugs as CMI, but it just can’t work, he added.

The propaganda newspaper resorts to other desperate ploys such as claiming, “Rwandan security agencies confiscated Sebuzuru’s, and his sister’s money”. But even the writer is left no choice but to truthfully quote Sebuzuru who says the money was handed back to them, “all of it,” he said.

“This is yet another big fail in the Museveni regime propaganda efforts to tarnish Rwanda,” said a Rwandan reader.

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