By Alex Muhumuza
In the usual bid to ramp up anti-Rwanda hate, SoftPower – a website run by Sarah Kagingo, one of the prominent Kampala regime propaganda and misinformation specialists – has published yet another series of falsehoods and outright distortions.
In a piece published yesterday, Tuesday 21 under the screaming headline, “RWANDA BLOCKS 133 UGANDAN CATTLE IN TRANSIT TO BURUNDI”, SoftPower seems to operate on the premise that anything Ugandans choose to do in Rwanda; even when against the law, Rwandan authorities should just keep quiet. And do nothing.
The website claims that, “authorities in Rwanda have blocked cattle destined to Bujumbura from transiting through Rwandan territory.” It states that, “the incident happened on Sunday when Uganda Revenue Authority’s Customs and Excise Department cleared the exportation of the 133 cows to Burundi in transit through Kagitumba Border point, only for Rwandan authorities to deny them transit.”
The website then goes on to slander Rwandan authorities – claiming from obviously fictitious “sources” that Rwanda first cleared documents for the cows to transit to Burundi and allowed them through, “before shifting positions as though the officers were getting fresh orders from other top officials in Rwanda.”
There are many dubious things about this article and the first is that it doesn’t mention this Ugandan who was exporting cows to Burundi. Why does SoftPower want to conceal his identity, unless he was involved in something fishy?
Our own investigation has revealed that the Ugandan in question is one Kangwa Godwin, a resident of Kikyenkye Sub-county in the country’s Ibanda District. A copy of an Inter-state animal transfer document, signed in Ibanda shows that Kangwa’s 113 cows were vaccinated against Lumpy skin disease, and “screened against Brucellosis”.
But it turns out that the exporter did not fulfill all the requirements to permit transit of such a big number of animals through the territory of another state.
When the animals arrived in Rwanda the authorities wrote to their transporter, this Monday informing him, “there was no indication that the animals were from areas free from transboundary diseases such as Foot and Mouth or Rift Valley Fever, or if the cattle were vaccinated against these specific diseases.”
This, says the letter from Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board, is mandatory according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) regulations and standards regarding animal movement.
The fact SoftPower is mentioning nothing of this makes one wonder: what interest do they have in seeing that cows not vaccinated as required by international laws just enter Rwanda?
Another thing the propagandist website fails to mention is that Rwandan authorities escorted the cows to Nemba Border at Burundi border, which was an act of good neighborliness as these cows were not fully vaccinated. Authorities in Rwanda were left wondering: why does Uganda not adhere to international standards?
It seems like SoftPower is rushing to create issues where none should be, one reader thought.
Further analysis of the article shows Kampala propaganda organs are as ever employing the tactic of projection. This is a favored misinformation method whereby the perpetrator of an offence brazenly accuses his or her victim of that very offence. There are many examples of this, in this one SoftPower article alone.
The projection begins with the website making the following observation: “EAC partner states including Rwanda signed the Common Market Protocol in November 2009, and it came into force on 1 July 2010. Its main objective is to progressively transform into a single market that allows for free movement of goods, persons, services, labor and capital while guaranteeing right to residence and establishment as well as ensuring the smooth operation of the EAC Common Market.”
SoftPower then goes on to accuse Kigali of undermining the EAC treaty “by this development” (denying the cows passage through Rwanda), and that “it violates the principle of free trade and movement of goods across countries.”
Kagingo and her organ are accusing Rwanda of infractions Ugandan authorities in fact have committed against Rwandan businesses, and not very long ago.
In August 2018 the Ugandans seized two trucks carrying a combined 40 tonnes of coltan and tin belonging to a Rwandan company, Mineral Supply Africa. The company executives were shocked and couldn’t understand this act as all their paperwork was in order.
Yet the Ugandans held the minerals for three months on the pretext the documents weren’t in order. Then after three months they released the minerals, finally admitting that the documents were legitimate. They did not say what made them think they were out of order in the first place. Mineral Supply Africa incurred serious losses but never was compensated.
In the same year, Ugandan authorities stopped and held consignments of Rwandan milk in trucks that were enroute to Kenya. By the time the time the milk was released, it had gone bad. And with that a patiently negotiated export market for Rwandan milk prematurely ended.
In both incidents it looked like someone in Kampala was engaged in acts of deliberate economic sabotage against Rwanda.
One wonders where Sarah Kagingo and SoftPower were that time, as they said completely nothing about “EAC Protocols” when Rwandan commerce was being sabotaged in Uganda. Or do they only speak up when it is convenient to level accusations against Rwanda (though in fact Rwanda has legitimate reasons for what it did, and has no intentions of sabotage)?
In a show of ultimate shamelessness, SoftPower further projects upon Rwanda the crimes their own security organs have been perpetrating against innocent Rwandans. This false equivalency seeks to equate the plight of hundreds of Rwandans illegally arrested, tortured, and others killed by Ugandan security agencies, with the few Ugandan smugglers that have lost their lives after attacking Rwandan patrols – at night in illegal crossings despite repeated warnings.
“SoftPower and its owners will have to try harder to convince anyone, for they have completely lost credibility,” said Rwanda social media personality Mwene Kalinda.