By Alex Muhumuza
On 6 September 2019, Kayumba Nyamwasa, aka RPF Gakwerere, published a blog with a screaming title, “If Museveni doesn’t hit back he will end up like Habyarimana, Laurent Kabila, Col Karegeya and many more.” As he often does, Kayumba meandered about on things having nothing to do with his sensationalist title.
The only conclusion to draw from it, is that Kayumba and his friends at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) are desperate to incite Museveni. The timing says it all. Their utterances come as the committee to implement the Angola accords between Uganda and Rwanda begins its work.
Why Kayumba and his friends in CMI/ISO would not want to see the accords succeed, to do everything they can to try to sabotage them, is obvious, for those who have been following the course of the crisis. Theogene Rudasingwa, one of the founders of the Uganda-supported Rwanda National Congress (RNC), has written about how Kayumba benefits financially from contributions from “his followers” whom he lies to “that his army in DRC was growing and functional.” Kayumba uses this money to sustain himself, hence Rudasingwa’s call that “Kayumba must account for the loss of Rwandan lives in the DRC,” ever since “Nyamwasa’s recklessly and selfishly steered RNC into adventurous militarism, leading to the loss of Rwandan lives,” in reference to the routing of RNC rebels in the DRC early this year.
But it’s not Kayumba alone who is benefiting. At every level of the security agencies in Uganda, from the top brass to the lowest rank, operatives have made a killing (sometimes literally) off the harassment of Rwandans, which is a major grievance that is to be addressed before Rwanda will ease operations across its northern border, according to officials.
At the very top, officials of ISO and CMI and at times Uganda Police have clashed to prove who is abusing Rwandans in Uganda most, and is therefore most deserving of more budgetary allocation: the more arrests are made the more they can use that as evidence to their boss, Museveni, that he faces an imminent Rwandan threat. These officials are aware that Museveni is highly paranoid and seek to exploit this paranoia. As a result, Gen Kandiho, Col Kaka, Col CK Asiimwe, Gen Tumukunde (when he was minister of security) and now (his successor) Gen Tumwine, have amassed extreme wealth from this venture.
The middle ranks who oversee field operations to harass Rwandans have seen some crumbs fall their way with their demands for more operational funds getting satisfied by the top officials who also benefit from the increased arrests. These include people like Major Mushambo, the UPDF counterintelligence officer for Mbarara, an important RNC hub for recruiting and smuggling of fighters to the DRC. Kandiho’s own brother Moses Mukama Kandiho, is a feared GISO (Government Internal Security Officer) of the Ruborogota Isingiro area. Mushambo and Mukama are only the most well known in this category of officers who number in the hundreds. With their official salaries less than meager, they cannot afford to have the operational funds disappear overnight. They are equally nervous.
Then there are the foot soldiers and informers who are based in the communities, bars and restaurants. They only need to hear someone speak Kinyarwanda and they are ready to pounce. Ordinary Rwandans in Uganda live at the mercy of these agents. Consequently, when they are broke, they look for Rwandans to extract bribes from. Knowing what has befallen others before them, those Rwandans with money are quick to part with it. The agents do this with impunity because they know no one in their chain of command will ask them anything because they too are heavily invested in the scheme. They too cannot afford for this money-making arrangement to end. It would in addition be difficult to control them without this money flow as, no doubt, some would likely go into banditry.
In other words, the entire security apparatus in Uganda cannot afford for peace to return between the two countries. Their livelihoods are depended on perpetuating the crisis.
They know they can incite Museveni by playing to his paranoia. He may just be their latest hijack victim.
In the meantime, Kayumba will do his part to give them enough sensationalised headline rope with which to hang their boss.