By Jackson Mutabazi
Uganda is sending conflicting signals to Rwanda regarding restoring relations between the two countries. On the one hand Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba is busy with overtures that suggest Uganda is ready to turn the page and embrace good relations with Rwanda. On the other, Maj Gen Abel Kandiho is busy undermining everything Muhoozi is doing by continuing to harass Rwandans and sponsoring media outlets to spew hostile propaganda towards Rwanda. One wonders whether the two generals work for the same Commander in Chief, President Yoweri Museveni.
On May 14 Gen. Kainerugaba extended the olive branch on Twitter, “The relationship between Uganda and Rwanda is beyond normal state to state relations. We are one family! No one can break the historical bonds because they are from Almighty God! We shall always be brothers and sisters. Our two great leaders shall repair the relationship,” he tweeted, attaching a photo of the two First Families in past cordial times. This was the most recent of a number of tweets that suggest he is a man on a mission.
Muhoozi’s statements also come after a significant reduction in articles on mainstream platforms, The New Vision and The Daily Monitor, as well as a noticeable silence from some of the tens of Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI-funded websites like Sarah Kagingo’s Soft Power News, Giles Muhame’s Chimpreports, Spy Reports’ Bob Atwine, and others. All this is positive and signals that there may indeed be hope for a return to normal interstate relations, especially since the Angola MoU requires that both parties desist from hostile propaganda and start building mutual trust.
On the other hand is Abel Kandiho who has turned to different proxies that he recruited to bolster anti-Rwanda propaganda. For instance, as Muhoozi makes his ostensibly friendly public signals to Kigali, one Obed Katureebe posts daily on Facebook as Robert Patrick Fati (RPF) Gakwerere, attacking and smearing Rwanda’s leadership. Meanwhile, it isn’t lost on anyone that Katureebe is on the Uganda government payroll as an employee of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). Even as that goes on, noted Rwanda National Congress agents Sulah Nuwamanya and Prossy Boonabana lead a shell NGO, the Self-Worth Initiative (SWI). In reality SWI is a recruiting front for RNC whose boss as everyone knows is Kayumba Nyamwasa, a fugitive from justice in Rwanda.
Nuwamanya has continued to insult Rwanda’s leadership on Facebook and remains on the Uganda government payroll through the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence. He continues his propaganda from his Ugandan base, despite the Luanda MoU providing that neither country can host individuals that actively work to undermine relations, which is exactly what Sulah does on a daily basis.
Also integrated in this anti-Rwanda propaganda web as proxies are Belgium-based Titus Seruga, New York-based Charles Kambanda and David Himbara in Toronto. Himbara is the publicist for Tribert Ayabatwa Rujugiro, the proceeds of whose investments in Uganda are used to fund different activities that seek to destabilize Rwanda and undermine Rwanda-Uganda relations.
As if to underscore just how closely Ugandan intelligence is intertwined with Nyamwasa’s organization, CMI also houses Nuwamanya and Bonabaana in safe houses in Mutungo, a neighborhood in the Ugandan capital. These are really safe, well guarded houses – not to be confused with the so-called “safe houses” in which security agencies are said to torture people.
Also none other than Uganda’s Special Forces Command – which in Uganda provides protection for very, very important people VVIPs – guards the house where rogue former Rwandan soldier (Rtd) Maj. Robert Higiro turned RNC member and commander, another of the negative anti-Rwanda elements in Uganda, lives: in Bbunga, Kampala. Another anti-Kigali element housed in a similar manner is Lt. Ntindifa Gerald, in the Bukoto suburb.
The Ugandan government in fact, contrary to any show of acting in good faith to normalize relations, runs, facilitates and accommodates a whole network of officials and recruiters for its anti-Rwanda proxies. In addition to RNC, these are RUD-Urunana and FDLR. Our investigations reveal that Ugandan State Minister for Regional Cooperation Philemon Mateke, working with CMI run the following RUD-Urunana networks in Uganda:
There is Ntabanganyimana Jean Marie Vianney, a Kampala-based RUD-Urunana operative that also accommodates the wife of “Captain” Nshimiye, aka Gavana. The latter is notorious for being the leader of the terrorist attack in Kinigi in October last year, of which Mateke was pinned – with evidence – as being the coordinator. Also based in Kampala is RUD-Urunana agent Nishimwe Florence. Mateke additionally runs the Mbarara-based Mutabaruka Francois, who also operates in Kampala. Whenever Gavana is in the Ugandan capital, they always are together with Mutabaruka.
It doesn’t end there. In the Kyaka Refugee camp there is one Murenzi, said to be very close to Mateke, who is in charge of recruitment in the camp. In Kakumiro refugee camp is Habamahirwe Vincent, yet another recruiter. In Masindi and Kiryandongo, the man in charge of coordination and recruitment for RUD is one Manibaruta Jeremy. His counterpart in Kiboga and Kyenkwanzi is a certain Tugiramahoro Alphonse. While in Hoima, the man in charge of coordination and mobilization for RUD-Urunana is called Bahangijambo Emmanuel. Nkuriyingoma Celeste, the FDLR Liaison Officer and a personal friend of Minister Mateke, lives in Kampala and frequents the DRC for duty.
Kandiho is busy still harassing Rwandans in Uganda. Just last week on Friday May 15 yet another innocent businessman, Gasangwa Maurice, was nabbed in Kampala and detained without cause. He remains detained along with hundreds of innocent Rwandans who continue to suffer at the hands of Kandiho.
Therefore, Muhoozi’s overtures – while positive – will only have meaning if Uganda’s leadership brings Kandiho to order and reign in those proxies, which have continued to spread hostile propaganda, belying any thawing in relations. Indeed, Muhoozi’s overtures will bear fruit only if they are perceived in Kigali as being genuine rather than public relations gimmicks. Which is exactly what they would be if Kigali continues to be the target of Uganda sponsored proxy attacks, regardless of Muhoozi’s claims about restoring “historical bonds” involving “brothers and sisters.”
Rwanda would certainly welcome real positive steps towards normalizing relations in accordance with Muhoozi’s pronouncements. However, to make friendly declarations on one hand while on the other all these anti-Rwanda activities still are taking place on Ugandan soil is not what will restore the “normal state to state” relations that he alludes to in his tweet.
Such mixed – in fact schizophrenic – signals only makes one wonder at the game Ugandan decision-makers are playing. Otherwise, the suggestion is that Muhoozi and Kandiho serve different bosses, which is difficult to accept.