HomeMain StoriesHow Museveni, Mateke are playing fast and loose with Ugandan national IDs

How Museveni, Mateke are playing fast and loose with Ugandan national IDs

By Jackson Mutabazi

Ugandan president Museveni and his Minister of State for Regional Cooperation Philemon Mateke (right).

When agents of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence dragged away eight people in the Ugandan capital late last month – including four students of Kampala International University – as usual CMI did not tell them what offense they were supposed to have committed. They only bundled them into vehicles and drove them to unknown places of detention.

However in a method that’s long become familiar, Kampala’s propaganda media the next day was claiming that, “the students were part of a Rwandan spy ring in Uganda”. First with the unproven allegations was Softpower – an organ run by Sarah Kagingo a principle Kampala regime propagandist – with an alarmist headline: “INVESTIGATION, unmasking Rwandan intelligence cells’ use of students as link for Ugandan IDs.” Not to be outdone, Chimpreports jumped onto the bandwagon, as did Daily Monitor and Spyreports.

Read: Mateke cries more than the victims of his Boss’s sponsored terrorism

All were pinning the students – Joram Rwamwojo, Living Kagaara, Emmanuel Namanya and Andrew Mugisha – convincing their readers that these indeed were “dangerous spies”. One of the claims to back the allegation was that the students were in possession of Ugandan national identity cards.

But according to family members the young men, though they are of Rwandan origin, are Ugandan by nationality. “Some of them have never even set foot in Rwanda since they were born!” a friend of one said. CMI had violated their rights in abducting them on grounds they possessed Ugandan IDs. They too are Ugandans. Banyarwanda are one of the recognized tribes of Uganda.

But only a week later the students were out of custody. It was apparent they had done nothing wrong. But none of the media that had rushed to slander them retracted their articles. They were quick to tarnish people against whom no charges had been brought, and even ruin their reputations. But when the students were released none of Softpower, Monitor, Chimpreports and others did the ethical thing, to write about their innocence.

An investigation by this website has unearthed a scheme by the Ugandan leadership whereby Banyarwanda in Uganda deemed to be “hostile” to Museveni’s pro-RNC schemes – and therefore also deemed unsympathetic to Museveni and NRM – are being deprived of their national IDs.

Read: Uganda and Burundi plotting against Rwanda

Uganda has for the past several years been a hotbed of activities of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC as a group bent on destabilizing Rwanda. Organs like CMI have been implicated in recruitment, facilitating, and transportation of rebel fighters for RNC. Even the UN has detailed it in reports.

One of the main reasons CMI and RNC agents in Uganda abduct Rwandan civilians is to force them into joining RNC as fighters, with torture as one method to “persuade” them. The recruitment effort however has mainly targeted those Banyarwanda already in Uganda, many of them Ugandan nationals.

Our reports over the years have revealed through extensive interviews how when one is approached by CMI and RNC recruiters but refuses, saying he or she can never be part of plans to fight Rwanda, that person is deemed “an enemy”. To refuse to join, and become part of anti-Rwanda plans is to be “marked”, and targeted for harassment.

Read: Kisoro Police station is “kwa Kayumba,” recently dumped Rwandan reveals

The only good Rwandan in Uganda, according to this logic, is the one that professes hate; and actively shows hate for the Rwandan government.

Being deprived of one’s national identity card now has become a strategy by the Museveni regime to further make life a hell for those Banyarwanda that refuse to play any part in anti-Rwanda schemes. Examples of the areas in Uganda where this kind of victimization is taking place include Kibale, Mubende and Nakivale districts.

According to sources like influential Rwandan-Ugandan blogger Maxon Lukyamuzi, for the past six years most Ugandans of Rwandan origin that happen to visit Rwanda have had their IDs confiscated at the border. The blogger says this has been a well-coordinated action, “to cause fear within us to stop us from associating with our friends and relatives in Rwanda.”

Now worried Ugandan Banyarwanda say confiscating their identity cards further exposes them to serious danger. Those deprived of their documents now are more susceptible to being abducted, and slapped with concocted charges – “espionage” or “illegal entry” – after which the feared detentions follow.

Read: In adding the extra assignment to Mateke’s Day job Museveni knew he was getting value for his money

However the Museveni regime’s depriving targeted Ugandans of Rwandan origins of their documents also has to do with the presidential vote of 2021, according to highly reliable sources. “Those Rwandan-Ugandans identified as ‘not supportive enough of Museveni or NRM interests’ are very likely to lose their IDs for that reason,” the sources say.

On the other hand whoever is seen as being “pro-Museveni” retains their national IDs. Those Rwandans committed to working with RNC, even though they are not in fact Ugandans are quickly facilitated to get IDs, eyewitness have long reported.

According to sources, no less a figure than Uganda’s State Minister for Regional Affairs Philemon Mateke is one of those individuals instrumental in facilitating any Rwandan recruited into anti-Kigali activities, to get IDs. Mateke has been implicated, with evidence, in terror attacks against Rwanda, aw well as other anti-Rwanda plotting.

Read: After years of denying, Uganda releases illegally detained Rwandans; Kayumba admits working with Museveni

“Many Rwandese come to Uganda on Mateke’s invitation posing as Congolese refugees, as well as those evading justice in Rwanda for whatever crimes they may have committed,” wrote Theinspiration20.com, a blog site that specializes in Kisoro issues.

In article published on 17 this month, it says: “these people will never at any one time get branded as illegal immigrants because under Mateke’s care they get Ugandan national IDs, ‘which even true Ugandans sweat to get!’” The piece goes on to detail that these discriminatory acts against Ugandans “whose names associate with Rwanda” are rife in districts like Kisoro, Kabale, Masaka, Mubende and Kiboga.

However, as if to kill two birds with one stone those “pseudo Ugandans” whom Mateke has facilitated to get national IDs – in addition to their purposes as cogs in the wider anti-Rwanda plot – also will vote Museveni and NRM come 2021, according to highly reliable sources.

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