Home Op-ed A tool of Ugandan regime misinformation appropriates the name of an AU...

A tool of Ugandan regime misinformation appropriates the name of an AU commissioner for its dirty propaganda

By Alex Muhumuza

CMI head Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, left, runs an anti-Rwanda propaganda machine as part of President Museveni’s policy of hostility.

A Ugandan regime propaganda website, Commandonepost has published a bizarre article which quotes “a letter” to the African Union (AU) Commissioner of Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, by “a coalition of about 37 Rwandan organizations operating from abroad.”

The “letter”, says Commandonepost, “appeals to the AU Security Commissioner to help and intervene in addressing the deteriorating cases of human rights abuses and security in Rwanda.”

The first noticeable anomaly about the article, published last Friday, is that it looks like a copy-and-paste job full of assertions found in politically motivated “reports” by organizations such as Human Rights Watch.

In fact Commandonepost gives itself away, at one point forgetting it supposedly is quoting a letter by “Rwandan organizations”, and directly quotes from HRW.

The article also extensively echoes the writings of genocide revisionist groups like the Belgian-based Jambo asbl whose purpose is, on the one hand, to whitewash the real perpetrators of crimes in Rwanda, while on the other they constantly try to tarnish Rwanda’s government with none-existent crimes.    

This brings us to the second major anomaly in this Commandonepost article. It purports to quote this supposed letter by “Rwandan organizations”, but does not name a single one of them. Commandonepost – a tool of misinformation whose chief editor is one Bob Atwine; one of the several propagandists on the payroll of Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI – also fails to tell what date the letter supposedly was written.

All this, going by the habits of CMI propaganda, points to one explanation: the “letter” is non-existent. CMI propagandists in their usual shamelessness are using the name of the AU Commissioner in fictions whose aim is to tarnish the administration of Rwanda.

Commandonepost has copied and pasted gross distortions and falsehoods by groups whose overriding goal is to tarnish and discredit the Kigali administration, packaged them into this fictitious “letter”, and used the name of the AU to hoodwink readers that it’s genuine.     

This is standard stuff from CMI, which the Kampala regime, in its policy of anti-Rwanda hostility, has given the additional task of directing, and running the anti-Rwanda propaganda campaign.

Going through the Commandonepost piece, one is struck by how laughable it is for a Ugandan tool of misinformation to accuse any country of “human rights abuses”, however much it is “copy and paste.”

Basically everyone knows CMI is a criminal organization, but in the name of a “state security agency.” Its goons abduct people with no due process. They lock people up for as long as they want with impunity. They torture, maim, and execute extra-judiciary.

Let’s point to just one high-profile example of gross, CMI human rights abuses. Security operatives attached to CMI set upon Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake in April this year and abducted him. They dragged him away and brutally beat him. The torture was so bad that CMI, seeing he was about to die, dumped him at Kiruddu Hospital. There, medical staff worked around the clock to save his life.

His colleague in parliament, and in the opposition, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine tweeted: “Hon. Zaake’s health condition has worsened. He has now been placed on oxygen. The doctors are contemplating taking him into the ICU. A member of parliament is tortured to near death by regime enforcers!”

Wine confirmed that the “regime enforcers” were none other than CMI (with police attached to CMI having conducted the abduction).

Zaake is known to be an outspoken critic of Museveni, which is his right as an MP and a Ugandan.

What was his crime? He was giving food to some needy neighbors in these difficult times of Covid-19. For that he was kidnapped and subjected to torture. Zaake is lucky to be alive. He is a prominent person. Very many not-so-prominent regime critics have entered the gates of Mbuya, never to be heard of again.  

CMI’s torture dungeon at Mbuya Barracks is so feared that even boda boda transporters never agree to drop off anyone near there.

So, if Commandonepost wants to write about human rights abuses, what’s worse than this?

Or what’s worse than Museveni’s security agencies brutally rounding up people power supporters, like they did on 14 the preceding month, dumping them onto trucks, and taking them away? They did this after breaking into the offices of the People Power leader, Kyagulanyi, and confiscating papers with signatures endorsing his candidacy for president.

Another question to ask of Commandonepost is: what about the daily abuses Ugandan security agencies inflict upon hapless Ugandans but which it says nothing about?

Shamelessness is the very definition of the minions of President Museveni’s regime.

“If one were cataloguing the human rights abuses of CMI, or other Ugandan security organs for that matter, SFC, UPDF, even the local criminals called LDUs that President Museveni arms to wreak havoc on civilians that do not support him, the Museveni government is the foremost rights-abusing regime,” political observers in the Ugandan capital assert.

On the other hand the rights record of Rwanda speaks for itself, and the Ugandan regime knows the truth.

Every member of all terrorist organization backed by President Museveni’s regime – RNC, FLN, RUD-Urunana and others – that Rwanda apprehends end up facing fair, lawful trials.

LaForge Fils Bazeye and Theophile Abega of FDLR were apprehended by Congolese authorities on 14 December 2018, coming from a meeting in Kampala how to optimize terror activities against Rwanda, through closer cooperation with Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC – Kampala’s main anti-Rwanda proxy.

But when Congolese authorities extradited the two to Rwanda, no one tortured them. Their rights were respected. They were issued proper court papers, read the accusations against them, and granted legal representation. Everything in contradiction of the HRW or Jambo asbl propaganda that Commandonepost parrots.

Other suspect criminals working with Uganda-sponsored groups such as RNC’s Maj. (rtd) Habib Mudathir and the band of three-dozen fighters captured with him have all received fair trials. They have lawyers, are granted their rights to family visits, and their medical issues are taken care of.

One can compare with the fate of hundreds upon hundreds of Rwandans that have fallen into the clutches of CMI, or UPDF 2nd Division Counterintelligence Mbarara, or SFC.

Countless of those innocent Rwandans – people that would be travelling for any number of innocent reasons: children visiting parents; pregnant women going to visit their husbands; old men visiting their children in Ugandan schools – have suffered harrowing human rights abuses at the hands of Ugandan security agencies.

Many (of the lucky ones to be released) have described to Rwandan media abductions followed by accusations of “espionage”, or “illegal armed weapons” and other things they had zero idea about. “Really, how can an old man of seventy be ‘a spy’?” exclaimed one of the lawyer’s victims last year.

The fact Uganda has arbitrarily arrested so many, detained so many incommunicado, deprived them of consular visits, and even killed others; these crimes show the biggest offender against human rights is the Kampala regime.

The smears by their propaganda media as usual are projection; they accuse Rwanda of the crimes their bosses are guilty of.    

And CMI propaganda always appoints itself spokesperson of any, and all negative forces attempting to tarnish the image of Rwanda.

“Ultimately they will fail of course,” remarked a Rwandan official. 

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