By Jean Gatera
Ugandan Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), through its online propaganda outlets like the Softpower website, managed by Sarah Kagingo, has continued with its attempts to create false equivalences between Rwanda and Uganda, though only the Ugandan regime has been abusing the rights of Rwandan nationals living in Uganda. Softpower together with Chimpreports – which has become notorious for the sheer fictions against Rwanda – now have turned Ugandan smugglers into traders, and illegal immigrants into lawful residents.
In their latest piece of propaganda, titled: “Rwanda deports more Ugandans in less than a week, declares them prohibited immigrants”, Softpower issues a string of fabricated claims around 6 Ugandans lawfully deported from Rwanda. Two of them, Byamukama Alex and Himbisa Duncan were casual laborers that had been sneaking into Rwanda from Kabale, and four were said to be teachers.
The Ugandans were caught sneaking out of Rwanda illegally. The CMI propaganda outlets deliberately omitted the fact that the Ugandan High Commission is organizing repatriation for Ugandan nationals in convoys. Why would some sneak out instead of traveling in a legally organized convoy, free of charge?, one wonders.
In addition to the propaganda that Ugandans are being persecuted in Rwanda, Commandonepost laced its narrative with a series of other claims that do not add up. For instance, quoting from the illegal immigrants caught sneaking out, they claim that, “for a Ugandan to comfortably work in Rwanda, you are required to speak ill of the Uganda government, and of President Museveni. ”The website then claims that “maybe Kigali is no longer interested in seeing Ugandans work in Rwanda.” Kigali has always been clear on this point: any Ugandan lawfully in Rwanda can live and work in Rwanda. The same applies for any Ugandan that wants to do business in Rwanda. As long as they go through the lawful channels, use gazetted border crossings, (rather than sneaking in through porous border points in the night), they will be welcome.
Commandonepost and Chimpreports are distorting facts to fit the narrative of their masters in CMI, and State House Kampala.
On the other hand, unlike the thousands of innocent Rwandans dumped by Ugandan authorities at the border withno due process, the 6 cases of deported Ugandans that Softpower talks of in fact were all lawfully processed. Immigration officials issued letters explaining to the concerned what violations the Ugandans committed and what sanctions followed.
But in its determination to mudsling Rwanda, Softpower even resurrects an older case hoping to mislead its readers about their deportations.
In April, Birungi Monique and Kansiime Lillian, for example, were caught sneaking into Rwanda and were lawfully deported. But no country with rule of law would tolerate blatant violations of its national laws, yet that’s what CMI propaganda is advocating in the case of Rwanda.
Earlier in 2019 in was Kampala’sunending harassment and persecution of Rwandan citizens in Uganda that led to Kigali issuing an advisory against its nationals crossing to Uganda. Continued harassment against Rwandans in the form of arbitrary arrests, illegal detention, incommunicado, torture and other abuses mainly by CMI is what ledto thebreakdown of trade between Rwanda and Uganda. Hit with economic hardship, Ugandans resulted to smuggling to survive, on the advise of Museveni himself.
This advice of the Ugandan ruler to his own citizens to resort to criminality or illegal means of doing things clearly has been heeded by a number of Ugandans, smugglers, those looking to cross into Rwanda illegally, and the like.
“But when Rwanda takes lawful measures to curtail the illegality, suddenly you get theses fictitious articles in Softpower, Chimpreports, and others,” a Rwandan official said on request of anonymity.