By Alain Mucyo
Kampala regime propaganda outlet SoftPower – run by Sarah Kagingo, a prominent misinformation specialist that gets her funding straight from Entebbe State House – has this Thursday published another propagandist piece with the title: “Trade with “Rwanda Remains Low Since Katuna Border Closure – URA”.
In the article, the outlet labors to paint a picture that the economic challenges currently biting in Uganda are caused by Rwanda. But several commentators have also punched holes in their (Softpower and Uganda’s political class) obsession with the “border closure” narrative. They are clinging onto this discredited narrative because it serves the purpose of smearing Rwanda with.
A statement by SoftPower itself in the same article comically disproves the “border closure” claims that itself repeats. “Prior to the closure, the border (Gatuna/Katuna) handled at least 4,800 trucks and small cars in a month, but this number fell to 700 after the route was closed by Rwandan authorities.” So if the border was closed, where are the 700 trucks they refer too are passing? one was left wondering.
The truth they do not want to state is that only Rwandan nationals no longer cross into Uganda, having heeded their government’s advisory against doing so since their safety couldn’t be guaranteed once across. The truth SoftPower and all the other misinformation specialists on the payroll of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence won’t mention is that what they call “border closure” actually is a restriction by Kigali on Ugandan imports into Rwanda – on the grounds Kigali has made very clear: “you cannot have free trade, without free movement of peoples”.
President Kagame has himself on more than one occasion including in Luanda, Angola in August last year, pronounced himself on the issue: “When you create a problem for people to move across the border from one side to another, then you have closed the border to people and goods,”
“If there are difficulties going on by trade not going on across the border…when you have people who get arrested when they cross the border, that affects the movement of people, of goods and trade,” President Kagame added.
In other words if Ugandan security agencies think they can go on arbitrarily arresting, harassing, and illegally jailing, and torturing Rwandan nationals, why would they expect to send their goods onto the Rwandan market? This is a question the Ugandan regime evidently has been trying to obfuscate with incessant claims that “Rwanda closed the border”. The Kampala propagandists, by design, rarely mention the hundreds of Rwandans that have been abducted by Ugandan security organs and ended up illegally in the country’s prisons doing slave labor, and others in CMI, of Internal Security Organization (ISO) dungeons and torture houses.
According to the SoftPower article, Uganda has been losing US$ 16 million every month since the relations with Rwanda hit rock-bottom in February last year.
This is the kind of consequence when one country is in bed with negative forces determined to destabilize the security of the other. A major grievance of Kigali’s against Uganda is the fact even after the two heads of state signed the Luanda MoU in August last year, the Kampala regime has done nothing to dismantle the Kayumba Nyamwasa RNC networks in Uganda; including its open recruitment centers in Mbarara where the “Chairman of the RNC Uganda Province”, Nyirigira runs this recruitment center in the guise of a church.
In addition, elements of the terrorist FDLR – the offshoot of the ex FAR and Interahamwe militia that were the main perpetrators of the Genocide against the Tutsi – too have found a home in Uganda.
FDLR uses Ugandan Regional Cooperation Minister Philemon Mateke’s hotel facilities in Kisoro as they plan their anti-Rwanda activities. Mateke and his minions in Kisoro are turning the area into a hotbed of FDLR activity – notably after the latter have been completely besieged, and thoroughly clobbered in eastern DRC.
But SoftPower won’t mention a single word about the Ugandan regime’s complicity into all these anti-Rwanda activities, and how such acts are what have led to Kigali putting its embargo onto Ugandan commerce. As a prominent Kigali-based Twitter personality put it: “If Uganda is so committed to torturing Rwandan nationals; and if it is so devoted to RNC and FDLR, let Uganda trade with RNC and FDLR!”
An observer familiar with Kampala propaganda says Softpower instead of accusing Rwanda for Uganda’s economic woes should instead be holding their government accountable. “The solution, to unlock Uganda’s economy lies solidly in Uganda’s hands; it is only Uganda that can disentangle itself from its self-inflicted harm. To look elsewhere, including futilely hectoring Rwanda to ‘open the border’, is just diversionary!” he said.