By Alain Mucyo
The case regarding the mysterious disappearance of RNC man Benjamin Rutabana is becoming more intriguing after Ugandan security services reneged on a court order to produce him. Instead Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI), through it’s propaganda tool Chimpreports was recently concocting a laughable fiction that “Sultan Makenga abducted Rutabana on Rwanda’s behalf”.
Rutabana who has been missing for six months now last communicated to his family back in Belgium while he was in Uganda. He was in the company of agents of RNC, as well as operatives of CMI, and the boss of the Mbarara-based UPDF Second Division Counterintelligence, Maj. Mushambo Kasimoni.
The case emanates from an application by a lawyer of Rutabana family through a writ of habeas corpus (requiring that a person under arrest to be brought before a judge), which was filed in Kampala High Court. The missing fugitive’s family are convinced Ugandan authorities are the ones that have him.
CMI head Brig. Abel Kandiho, is one of the individuals, including Uganda’s Internal Security Organization boss Kaka Bagyenda, that the court ordered to produce Rutabana.
Appearing before court, the Ugandan lawyer, David Gureme Mushabe, submitted that Rutabana was abducted by people from CMI, and that since his disappearance on September 8, 2019 has remained in CMI custody. That is when the Kampala-based High Court ordered CMI and it’s sister organisation ISO to produce Rutabana before the judge on February 19.
They never did. In a show of complete impunity Kandiho, Bagyenda and the others have not answered the court in yet another demonstration that laws do not apply to them in their country. “The two organs have completely refused to produce Rutabana despite overwhelming evidence that they have him,” Mushabe told VOA earlier this week.
He added, “Highly placed sources within CMI told me they know his whereabouts!” Mushabe said that as a lawyer, there is nothing more he can do, adding that Rutabana’s family and friends can pursue other means including political channels to secure his release. On the other hand the lawyer seems pretty certain that Rutabana, whose title in RNC was “commissioner for capacity development”, is in the Ugandans’ custody.
Rutabana’s troubles began when he fell out with the group’s head, Kayumba Nyamwasa, letters and statements from his family have shown. Nyamwasa has been running RNC like a personal fiefdom from South Africa, something that led to Rutabana being at loggerheads with him.
“The way Nyamwasa runs RNC is a corrupt way; and also a nepotistic way whereby he stuffs relatives or close sycophants in the main decision-making positions,” RNC insiders on the many Internet discussion boards say.
Rutabana’s family reported that he went missing last year on 8 September, three days after he arrived at Entebbe on an Emirates flight. At the airport Rutabana, whom his wife disclosed was on an RNC mission, was received by Sam Ruvuma, one of the several Uganda-based RNC big fish. With Ruvuma were two men identified as RNC agents.
When Rutabana called his wife in Brussels to inform her he had arrived safely, he used Ruvuma’s phone. From Entebbe the men drove to Mbarara where they were received by other RNC officials, including “Pastor” Deo Nyirigira, also known as “RNC Uganda Province Chairman.” Maj. Mushambo had joined them.
After a few days Rutabana, who had kept in contact with his wife all that time, “went quiet.” The last call he made to her, again, was with Ruvuma’s phone.
His differences with Nyamwasa is what is at the root of the man’s unknown fate, even his family members have pointed out to the world, through letters leaked on the Internet, and interviews on international radio stations like BBC and VOA.
So, can Kandiho really face the Rwandan dissident’s family and honestly tell them where their person is, instead of foolishly trying to scapegoat Rwanda?, all discontented RNC members want to know.