By Alex Muhumuza
Ugandan propaganda has repeated the claim that the country’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, CMI, in May this year arrested seven members of Ugandan security forces who are “collaborators of Rwanda.”
Once again this claim is backed by nothing beyond mere verbal assertions, none of which stand a moment’s scrutiny. We will get to that.
The allegations are contained in a long article posted this Tuesday on the Chimpreports website (well-known as a Kampala propaganda tool whose chief editor Giles Muhame is on the payroll of CMI), which begins that “on Friday May 1, 2020, CMI launched a secret operation aimed at busting what was considered a cell of collaborators of Rwanda within UPDF.”
Reports of this particular CMI “operation” first surfaced earlier this month, on the 11th, not only on Kampala’s propaganda websites and blogs, but also in major mainstream media like The New Vision, Daily Monitor, Observer and others in what was an apparently coordinated campaign.
It looks to still be ongoing.
The arrested men – 2nd Lt. Phillip Ankunda, a pilot attached to Special Forces Command, 2nd Lt. Alex Kasamula of UPDF regular forces, ASP Benon Akandwanaho, ASP Frank Sabiiti, both policemen, and Privates Samuel Ndwane, Moses Asiimwe Makobore, and Godfrey Mugabi, these three attached to Nakasongola Airforce Wing – all are Ugandan.
A big problem for some of them, however, is that they are Ugandans of Rwandan origin.
According to the allegations of CMI, “investigators retrieved photos of Private Ndwane ‘in Rwandan army uniform’, and that it was from ‘way back when Ndwane attended the Ingando Program in which youths with Rwandan heritage are given cadreship courses.’” CMI further alleges that Ndwane “also was found with Rwandan national identity card.” Allegedly others who have been in the same WhatsApp chat group as Ndwane too had Rwandan IDs.
This story rings false in so many ways.
For instance, Ingando – youth solidarity camps – are for secondary school children. They get to put on army uniforms and play games. Ingando has never been about military, or “espionage” training. “Only someone willfully misinforming the public would claim such a thing,” a reader commented.
Also, assuming Ndwane and others indeed were “spies”, which real spy would keep such incriminating evidence as the national ID of the country he or she supposedly spies for?
The truth most likely is the seven men only are the latest victims of a campaign targeting Rwandans, or Ugandans of Rwandan origin by Museveni’s security services. In these years of the Museveni regime, to be a Rwandan, especially one that does not bad-mouth the Kigali administration, is to be suspect. “The most probable reason the seven are in trouble is they must have refused to join in denigration of Rwanda!” a Kigali-based reporter on security matters commented.
Further revealing the shallow excuses behind the men’s arrests and subsequent efforts to falsely link them to Rwanda, CMI alleges: “the suspects secretly released confidential security information to Rwanda, hence jeopardizing Uganda’s national security. Ankunda and his colleagues worked with Rwanda to infiltrate and compromise the unit that manages Uganda’s war jets.”
Yet everything one would need to know about this so-called super secret jet can be found with a Google search. CMI’s games are further exposed.
The article continues that, “Uganda’s Su-30MK2 multi-role fighter aircraft boasts enhanced combat capabilities against aerial, ground, and sea-based targets.”
According to the article, the so-called “super secret aircraft” allegedly gives Uganda “an edge in a potential military conflict with Rwanda.”
Informed Rwandan observers read such things with hilarity. “Uganda having an edge over Rwanda in a military conflict?!” exclaimed one. “In which world do these deluded propagandists live? The only edge Museveni has is over helpless, unarmed People Power members, or Kiiza Besigye – but never over Rwanda, under any circumstance!”
Further down the article, there is the dubious claim that “between February and May 2020, the accused persons and others still at large in various places within Kampala city shared information to agents of Rwandan authorities with intention to prejudice the security of the defense forces of the Government of Uganda.”
This is where CMI allegations are to be exposed as fabrications.
Who are the Rwandan authorities and why don’t they name them?
If they can name their own security officers, the next natural thing would be to name whomever Rwandan agents they allegedly collaborated with. In the past CMI has arbitrarily arrested, and quickly paraded Rwandans before the media with accusations “they were Rwandan spies.” In August 2017 for instance they abducted Rene Rutagungira, quickly and publicly proclaiming that “he was the head of a sleeper spy cell in Uganda.”
They illegally detained the civilian, a businessman, in military dungeons where he suffered torture for over two years. It turned out Rutagungira was innocent.
His attorney in Kampala, Eron Kiiza, kept challenging CMI to show one shred of evidence proving they had a case. CMI did no such thing. They only victimized Rutagungira because Uganda had embarked on a hostile policy against its southern neighbor, with Ugandan security forces granted permission to hunt down Rwandans with impunity.
“So, are we to believe these are the kind of people to fail to arrest supposed Rwandan agents that allegedly were receiving secrets from members of the Ugandan military and police?” asked a security analyst that we interviewed for this article. “Museveni’s people are beyond laughable at this stage!”
By now every reader must be used to the Ugandan regime’s unending claims of “Rwandan spies in Uganda.”
Every sensible reader has been wondering about all the alleged Rwandan spies arrested in Uganda none of whom actually has ever been proven to be a “spy”.
Also, people long ago began to wonder: “what is this thing that Museveni is so scared of that has driven him paranoid, to the extent he sees ‘Rwandan spies’ everywhere?”
Ugandan security forces have harassed hundreds of Rwandan nationals. The pattern is always the same. The victims are abducted, and detained illegally and incommunicado. Many have suffered torture resulting into permanent physical and psychological scars. It got so ridiculous that they were even arresting teenage children going back to school in Uganda, old men, and even pregnant women. It was always on charges of “espionage”, “kidnapping”, “illegal weapons possession”, or “illegal entry” for which no one is ever tried.
Now, it seems, with no more Rwandans crossing to Uganda – following last year’s advisory by Kigali to its citizens to avoid it – the likes of CMI now have resorted to targeting Ugandans who happen to have Rwandan roots.
“One reason for these victimization games is that the likes of CMI now are on a mission to invent fake stories, and keep up the false pretense that ‘Rwanda must be doing something wrong against Uganda,’” our source said. “The game is to maintain a false equivalence!”
For the past three years and over, Kigali repeatedly has exposed the complicity of Kampala in endless acts of anti-Rwanda subversion.
Kigali does not make empty accusations, however. It produces concrete evidence.
From the start it has named the groups Uganda works with in their mutual goal of destabilizing the security of Rwanda. It (Kigali) has communicated its grievances to Uganda through diplomatic channels, on matters such as the RNC terrorist group sourcing recruits from Ugandan territory, with the full complicity and facilitation of CMI.
Kigali has exposed so many things like that. For instance how a senior Ugandan official like Philemon Mateke coordinated the attack (last year in October in Kinigi District) by terrorists of the RUD-Urunana group who killed 14 civilians before Rwandan security forces foiled the attack. It is a well-known story how evidence collected from the scene of the attack – including phone handsets, and testimonies by five captured terrorists – implicated Mateke, and Uganda.
Such things drive them (Ugandan regime) crazy, so they keep inventing these stories of “Rwandan spies” and so on, observers remark.