By Alain Mucyo
An article late last week that Daily Monitor published under the headline; “Why Uganda released 9 Rwandans”, makes the average tabloid look decent. In it the Kampala daily purports to explain the reason behind the decision by Uganda to release nine Rwandans – part of multitudes that have been arbitrarily arrested at various times in the recent past and thrown into Ugandan dungeons.
These Rwandans who went through horrendous sessions of torture – some for close to three years – at the hands of Ugandan security agencies, most notably Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, are currently admitted in hospital in Kigali where they are undergoing treatment.
It merely was an act of magnanimity on Uganda’s part, the paper insinuated.
Ugandan foreign minister Sam Kutesa, when he handed the former detainees to Rwanda’s High Commissioner Frank Mugambage before a media gathering, said this was “a gesture of goodwill” but that the men weren’t “blameless”. This seemingly was what the paper was echoing.
This was adding insult to the injuries of people that had been brutally yanked out of their peaceful lives as businessmen by Ugandan intelligence or military operatives, who never produced a single shred of proof.
Monitor never shows any empathy for the suffering the innocent Rwandans (whom Kampala military prosecutors could never mount any half credible case against them despite the long times they had them in brutal custody) endured. The paper instead keeps emphasizing the narrative that the release was “a goodwill decision”, and nothing more.
“Maybe Daily Monitor wants to be remembered merely as a propaganda outlet that is paid to create an alternative reality,” opined one analyst. He pointed out that Uganda was bound to release these, and all other illegally detained Rwandans as per the dictates of the Luanda Agreement, nothing more nothing less.
Rwanda never asked Uganda to deal with these cases politically; not for a single time during all the time they were held. Kigali has been consistent in asking Uganda to either produce these people and charge them in court – if there are cases against them – or release them.
In its piece, Monitor glosses over the case Rwanda has been making in support of her harassed, mistreated and persecuted citizens, and others of supporting negative forces whose aim is to harm Rwanda.
In fact at the press conference where Mugambage received the nine released detainees on behalf of Rwanda, he was clear. This (release) is a positive gesture on the part of Uganda, but it also has to deal with the negative forces against Rwanda.
Daily Monitor conveniently ignores all these facts.
The Kampala paper prefers to keep slandering innocent people that are suffering the physical and psychological trauma of what they went through in CMI custody. The paper for instance claims: “Rutagungira preferred to remain in Uganda rather than being repatriated.”
This absurd inference that is not backed by any form of evidence is something that even the worst gutter press would never publish, said a Kigali media analyst.
The harassment and torture Rutagungira has suffered in Uganda means he is one of the most relieved human beings to leave that country. This man’s name has been drugged in the mud by Ugandan media, relentlessly, calling him a kidnapper. A Ugandan minister, Henry Tumukunde once went to Mbuya Military dungeon to personally torture Rutagungira – kicking and punching the helpless Rwandans, and spitting on him.
According to the lead lawyer of the Rwandans, Eron Kiiza, Tumukunde did this in a bid to make the Rwandan confess to things he knew nothing about.
Yet the Monitor thinks readers will gullibly believe Rutagungira is someone that would want to remain in Rwanda? It is laughably childish, commented the media analyst.
A video from a CCTV feed of Rutagungira being abducted from a bar in Kampala remains in the public domain. That was in 2017.
Since his abduction, beatings, waterboarding and electrocutions, were the order of the day, he disclosed from his hospital bed in Kigali.
Almost three months after he was abducted, he was taken to a military police barracks in Makindye.
“I was put in a soundproof room where they used all sorts of torture. They cover your face while you are restrained and the torture sessions are conducted.”
Just why would a man that went through all that be “reluctant” to go back to his country; as far away as possible from his tormentors?
Only Daily Monitor knows.