By Alex Muhumuza
Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, CMI, in its latest round of anti-Rwanda propaganda has once again wheeled out one “Maj.” Michael Mupende, to throw their mud at President Kagame.
Mupende’s most recent smear, published last Sunday on the Commandonepost website – one of the dozens of blogs and social media accounts run by CMI – was prompted by President Kagame’s speech at the wedding of Teta Gisa, daughter of the late first commander of the RPF Fred Gisa Rwigema. In his speech President Kagame exposed, at length, the duplicity of the Museveni regime, and its long-time attempts at meddling into the affairs of Rwanda – including trying to alienate Rwigema’s family against its own country.
After the President’s speech, Museveni’s people went berserk, dredging up every conceivable lie.
They were stung by the truth. Now they have dictated to Mupende a load of fabrications to try to give all credit for Rwanda’s liberation to Uganda, as they always do.
Their modus operandi, every time, is to try to cancel the role of Banyarwanda fighters in making Museveni who he is. They try to cancel the history of how it actually was Banyarwanda that put Museveni in power. Museveni’s NRA would never have dislodged Obote’s forces even one inch had it not been for the sacrifices of Banyarwanda fighters – including the late Fred, and of course President Kagame who had some very dangerous roles walking endless nights on operations to gather intelligence for the NRA.
The majority of the time Museveni – a person that habitually ascribes upon himself feats of bravery that never hold up to scrutiny – would be in Sweden having a very nice time with his wife.
The interesting thing about Mupende’s most recent article is that this isn’t the first time the Uganda propaganda machine is using him as a tool to smear the Rwandan head of state. In October 2019 Uganda’s state newspaper, the New Vision, published a hit job by Mupende to peddle the lie that “Kagame killed Rwigema.”
Museveni and his CMI have long hit on the strategy to character-assassinate President Kagame with attempts to tie him to Rwigema’s demise, though at the time it happened Kagame was thousands of kilometres away, as a major attending a military course in America.
“Museveni and his cabal are shameless, and clownish enough to try to foist such an unlikely rumor upon the public,” a knowledgeable source in Kigali said when he read Mupende’s article.
Their shamelessness is manifested in other ways such as their claim in Commandonepost that “Mupende is a bush war hero”, probably thinking that will lend further credibility to their fabrications.
Those that have worked with Mupende in Rwanda laugh loudly, knowing the fellow as an “igisambo” that fled to Uganda after getting implicated in theft of soldiers’ Rations and Cash Allowances (RCA), ending up on the payroll of Museveni’s security agencies to spin lies against Rwanda.
Mupende was a midlevel officer in the Rwandan military during the war against the Interahamwe, Ex-FAR in DRC where he was deployed in Kabinda, Kasai Orientale Province, in 2000 to 2001.
Around that time, his dubious character began to reveal itself. During administration and policy meeting, subordinates had begun to question him on management of RCA funds. According to his colleagues at the time, he failed to account for funds amounting to US$ 18,000.
It was later established Mupende had given the money to his wife to run their personal businesses in Kigali. Subsequently the issue was reported to army headquarters. When the soldiers were being recalled to Rwanda, Mupende developed cold feet, fearing that if he stepped back in Kigali he would be questioned and made to account for the money he had embezzled.
That’s when he escaped to the Ugandan border, where Ugandan Intelligence people were waiting for him across.
“Mupende can only be a hero in Ugandan regime circles where all sorts of thieves, right from the top, think they are heroes,” snorted a former colleague of his.
One of Mupende’s frequent lies is that he knows how Rwigema died. But no one even knew Mupende except fellow junior soldiers. He wasn’t even an escort of one of the senior officers. Even in his fabricated stories he invokes second hand sources. In the New Vision article in 2019 for instance he says: “I personally did not see the person who pulled the trigger, but from what Fred’s bodyguards shared with me later, the suspects were among them (bodyguards).”
This childish lie was the basis for the New Vision’s hatchet job, and subsequent repeated CMI smears against President Kagame.
Elsewhere in the Commandonepost piece Mupende’s fictions dwell at length on Uganda’s self-serving propaganda that “UPDF was the liberator of Rwanda”, trying to claim credit for a victory that entirely was the RPA’s.
This propaganda easily falls apart with a simple recollection of a few facts. One is that even after the Banyarwanda fighters had left Uganda and liberated their own country, Museveni would urgently call for their help, to help secure his country against possible foreign attacks.
But the simplest question is this: faced by the RPA in Kisangani in what happened to Museveni’s UPDF in 2000? On three occasions moreover?
Museveni’s propagandists seem to never be aware when they are publicly shooting themselves in the feet.