By Alex Muhumuza
On January 25, the French Intelligence journal “The Indian Ocean Newsletter” published an article titled, “Uganda: Philemon Mateka’s Hutu-Tutsi front against Kagame.” This was days after this website had published details of the 14-15 December meeting convened by Uganda’s Ministerof State for Region Affairs, Dr Philemon Mateke, in Kampala aimed at reinforcing the working relationship between the FDLR and the RNC. Indeed, both organisations sent delegations led by Frank Ntwali (for the RNC) and Ignace Nkaka aka LaForge Bazeye Fils (for the FDLR).
While this website had broken the news of the Kampala meeting, it wasn’t until the FDLR representatives were nabbed at the Bunagana border on the way from Kampala and transferred to Kinshasa that details of the Kampala meeting started to emerge, as they began to sing like canaries. Moreover, with unconfirmed reports that they were transferred to Kigali, it was expected that more information regarding their previous visits to Uganda and dealings with the Museveni government would leak. Unsurprisingly, the authorities in Uganda are said to be in trepidation about these developments: The more they sing, the more apprehensive Kampala becomes.
In the past, authorities in Kampala have relied on its propaganda websites – mainly Sarah Kagingo’s Soft Power, Chimp Reports, and other obscure online blogs – to outright deny or spin previous regular meetings over the last two years between senior Ugandan security officers and FDLR and RNC representatives. However, with such high-level FDLR representatives from such a meeting nabbed, these websites have been uncharacteristically silent on the matter of the Kampala meeting from which they were returning.
They have neither tried to deny our detailed reporting on the subject, nor the reports of the French intelligence paper that confirms that indeed this meeting did take place in Kampala on December 14 and 15, including the specifics regarding the commitment of the Ugandan authorities to support both the FDLR and RNC with logistics following the merger of what they presume to be monolithically ethnic rebel groups of Hutus and Tutsis, respectively. Indeed, our reporting noted that the Ugandan leadership had emphasised this point: A willingness to come into the open regarding their support for the rebellion on condition that it is able to present itself as consisting of both ethnic groups.
The rabidly anti-Tutsi genocidal ideology of the FDLR was cause for its reservations to openly enter into such a formal alliance, given its supporters’ radical elements implicated in the genocide against the Tutsi in the 1990s. Mateke, however, reassured FDLR representatives that its interests would be preserved, urging them to focus on the shared goal amongst Uganda’s leadership, the RNC and the FDLR, underscoring that the ideological issues could be sorted later, once the primary goal of destabilizing Rwanda had been achieved.
Mateke offered himself as the guarantor of their ideology, telling the FDLR representatives of his long-standing relationship with President Habyarimana. In other words, he would not sacrifice the cause in which they, himself included, have been invested for decades. He noted he had previously “been active in the UPC in the 1980s, becoming Minister of Education in the Obote 2 government which had expelled thousands of Rwandans during Yoweri Museveni’s Bush War against the regime,” the Newsletter notes.
“Philemon Mateke is coordinating the creation of a Tutsi-Hutu political front,” reported the French Intelligence sources in The Indian Ocean Newsletter. The Newsletter also notes that “the initiative got underway in September 2018.”
Clearly, then, Mateke was not picked to liaise with the FDLR by hazard. Also, having assured the FDLR of his support for their ideology, Mateke was confident when contacting FDLR commander Gen Pacifique Ntawunguka, alias “Omega”, with the news he had a “special message for him,” asking him to send a delegation of senior officers to Kampala to engage with RNC delegation on this matter. It is this delegation –led by the outfit’s chief spokesperson Ignace Nkaka, aka LaForge Bazeye Fils, and including Lt Col Nsekenabo Jean Pierre, alias Abega Kamala, the head of FDLR military intelligence officer, that was intercepted and found itself spilling everything, much to the horror of their Kampala hosts.