By Jackson Mutabazi
Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) this Monday, 28 January, arrested a Rwandan couple and mother and father of three little tots, aged 9, 6 and 3 years respectively. Darius Kayobera and his wife Claudene Uwineza were picked up at towards midnight from their business premises on Musajjalumba Road in Kampala.
According to information reaching this news website, Kayobera has been doing business in the neighboring country the last seven years, and owns a string of saloons in Rubaga, where he also has a commercial building.
As has now become customary whenever CMI pick Rwandans, information we have is that its agents picked up the couple on fabricated allegations that they are “spies of Rwanda”.
It now an established modus operandi of CMI the last few years to abduct Rwandans or to dispense with all legal procedures while arresting them. Our news team has over the past almost two years reported on dozens of cases whereby CMI or the Internal Security Orgsnisation (ISO), and Uganda Police move onto any Rwandan travelling to, or resident in Uganda.
The CMI, or ISO agents, or the police, then just tell the Rwandan victims to “get into the car!” They do that with no arrest warrant; no reading of charges against whoever is arrested, and so on. Many times those ‘arrested’ are physically bundled into the vehicle with the ‘arresting’ agents just pulling out their guns on the victim but declining to identify themselves. Often, the victim is then blindfolded before the vehicle sets off, driving all over town before alighting with the detainee in various ungazzetted ‘detention centres’ (the notorious ‘safe houses’). In many of the cases and almost as a matter of routine, these abducted Rwandans have been tortured, “on the basis of nothing”, said one Munyarwanda victim of CMI torture.
In most of these cases, they will abduct the victim to throw him or her into one of the CMI “safe houses” or other places of sequestration. Yet, according to all researchable cases, in none of them have the Ugandan operatives proven anything against a single Rwandan – fathers visiting children, traders, businessmen who happen to be transiting through Uganda, bus conductors and others. Ugandan security agencies have never produced in court or convicted any Rwandan of anything. Including the charge of spying for which Ugandan security operatives are victimising Rwandans as a matter of routine.
Yet, the harassment of innocent Rwandans just continues, unabated. Darius and Claudine are merely the latest victims.
It is now beginning to sink into ordinary Ugandans and Rwandans that have previously doubted it whenever told that the goal of Ugandan security agencies basically is to just harass Rwandans that this is indeed the reality. “How is it possible that of all the people they have arrested, interrogated and tortured, they have not come out to try anyone publicly in court, so everyone can see the truth for themselves,” said a Ugandan analyst in a phone interview.
As Darius and Claudine are incarcerated, it is imperative that the Ugandan authorities understand the safety and welfare of the couple’s three young children they have separated from the care and love of their parents must be paramount. They must provide Rwandan consular officials full access to both these children and their parents.