By Alex Muhumuza
In an attempt to absolve Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) of responsibility for the disappearance of Rwanda National Congress’s Benjamin Rutabana, Kampala-based propaganda website Chimpreports has this Thursday published an article with more distortions or falsehoods about Rwanda than usual.
As anyone familiar with Chimpreports will see, the first laughable thing about the article – titled, “Investigation: Inside Rwandan dissident Ben Rutabana’s disappearance” – is that it is on a website owned, and funded by CMI itself.
Chimpreports’ chief editor Giles Muhame works under the control of CMI Deputy Director in Charge of Counterterrorism, Brig. CK Asiimwe. “Basically when Chimpreports claims CMI is not behind the disappearance of Rutabana, it is CMI absolving itself of blame! What would one expect?” a Kigali reader laughed.
The article has come out specifically following an independent report by an American organization, the International Relief and Human Rights Initiative, IRHRI, which pins the disappearance of Rutabana on CMI. The report, which was released on 25 this June, and which has been circulating on the Internet, presents many well-supported points that show it is CMI – and no one else – that knows what happened to Rutabana.
According to knowledgeable sources, “Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho the head of CMI is in a panic; and it is out of that panic that he has instructed Chimpreports to publish an article with the aim to deflect blame upon others!”
As usual with CMI, they turn to Rwanda, as the main scapegoat.
With the sort of convoluted logic to be found only in Kampala’s anti-Rwanda websites and propaganda platforms, Chimpreports blames Rwanda for Rutabana’s disappearance, by quoting Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC. “RNC says Kigali’s intelligence used (Congolese rebel) Sultan Makenga to lure Rutabana into DRC where he was arrested together with his entire force.”
But leave alone the childish ploy of asking a terrorist organization bent on violently destabilizing Rwanda to say something to incriminate Rwanda; it is even more risible when one knows that in fact when CMI abducted Rutabana, it was working with agents of RNC.
“So now CMI is ganging up with its close partner RNC, to manufacture stories to publish in Chimpreports, a CMI publication,” our source burst out laughing.
It becomes even more childish when one gets to know more about the other angle to their lie – that “Rwanda used Sultan Makenga to lure Rutabana to DRC.”
How would Rwanda use Sultan Makenga if the man isn’t in Rwanda, but in Uganda?, one would ask. When Makenga fled Congo in late 2013 he went to Uganda with his 200 men, via the Mgahinga National Park. That is a matter of record that one will find even on Wikipedia. Also, in early 2017, with the backing of Kampala, Makenga tried to start a guerrilla war in DRC, but failed. After that, CMI even hired some of Makenga’s militants, to crush Ugandans protesting the Museveni regime.
“To see Ugandan propagandists are trying to blame Rutabana’s disappearance on Makenga with the lie that Rwanda used the Congolese is a clear sign that Kandiho is so panicked by the American report, and the accuracy of the report, that he can’t think logically,” laughed a security analyst.
As if to confirm this assessment, Chimpreports then writes: “it is yet to be established if at this point anyone knew if Rutabana or Nyirigira were knowingly being run by Kigali intelligence or not.” A reader of these bizarre claims said: “I won’t be surprised if next Chimpreports writes that Kayumba Nyamwasa is working for Kigali.” Nyirigira is the head of “RNC Uganda Province”; how is he being run by Rwandan intelligence?, the reader wondered.
The further the truth get’s exposed, the more fear it sows in CMI, said a knowledgeable sources. And there is plenty in the report to give the boss of CMI, Uganda’s most notorious security agency – often compared to Idi Amin’s State Bureau by the elderly – sleepless nights.
Greg Smith Heavens, CEO and founder president IRHRI, says they were able to establish that Mr. Rutabana, using passport number 16DA52086, left Brussels, Belgium, on September 4, 2019 on an Emirates flight, had a stopover at Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates, before proceeding and landing at Entebbe in Uganda on September 5, 2019. He stayed in regular contact with his wife Diane Rutabana between September 5 and 8, 2019, but never again since then.”
Heavens continues: “IRHRI learnt that a few days after his arrival in Uganda, Mr. Rutabana was arrested and held at Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) offices in Mbuya…”
This is consistent with the words of Diane Rutabana who, upon realizing that her husband had gone missing, penned a letter – signed on 02 October 2019 together with several family members – that expressed certainty Rutabana had been abducted in Uganda, and that linked his disappearance to senior members of RNC: meaning Kayumba Nyamwasa, and the latter’s brother in law Frank Ntwari.
As investigations have revealed, when Rutabana, who was RNC’s “commissioner for capacity development” arrived at Entebbe he was received by one Dr. Sam Ruvuma, who was together with some officers of CMI. Ruvuma is a prominent RNC operative in Uganda, and it was his phone that Rutabana used to inform his wife he had arrived in Uganda.
All the men left Entebbe together. They travelled together to Mbarara where they linked up with other senior RNC officials such as Pastor Deo Nyirigira, and Maj. Mushambo, Head of Counterintelligence, UPDF Second Division, Mbarara. “As the RNC officials were mixing with Ugandan intelligence operatives, they knew better the business they were up to,” a security analyst source says.
But when Rutabana disappeared, the motive slowly started to filter out. It was in the interests of Kayumba Nyamwasa; and in the interests of family members of Kayumba Nyamwasa, specifically his brother in law Frank Ntwari, for Rutabana to disappear. And in ordering the abduction, Kandiho was acting in the interests of Nyamwasa – the main proxy of Kampala in their mutual, long-term plots to destabilize Rwanda’s security.
In radio interviews on BBC and VoA, Diane Rutabana mentioned Frank Ntwari, the RNC “head of the youth commission” as someone that had been very threatening to her husband. “Ben told me he had serious problems with Ntwari, and that he was worried about him,” Diane told BBC in an interview aired on 7 October last year.
Information from different sources converges on the fact there had been fierce wrangles within RNC, pitting “Nyamwasa’s clique” – made up of him, his brother in law Ntwari, and one Sande Mugisha – against Rutabana. For one thing, the latter had been questioning why Nyamwasa was turning RNC leadership into “a family affair”; and why he was centralizing decisions too much around himself; or why Nyamwasa put Ntwari and Sande “in charge of all RNC important operations”, yet these, in Rutabana’s view, were “mere juniors”.
Rutabana, according to RNC Internet forums, openly accused Nyamwasa of “embezzlement and mismanaging of members’ contributions.”
These accusations further confirmed suspicions within RNC circles that its leader was using the group’s funds to invest them in his, and his wife’s businesses in southern Africa, and to fund a lavish personal lifestyle.
“RNC officials began to clamor for accountability, asking Nyamwasa and his clique ever more difficult questions; issues that were bringing into question Kayumba’s very leadership of RNC,” a Diaspora source told this website last year. “You can be a hundred percent sure the enmity of Nyamwasa and his close clique for Rutabana became lethal at that point,” added the source.
“From that point, if Rutabana stepped in Uganda he was going to be in problems.”
But now, with the truth closing, Rutabana has become Kandiho’s problem.
The advice many are giving the CMI boss is, “You have to produce Rutabana!”
“Both Kandiho and Nyamwasa have to produce Rutabana!” relatives assert.