By Alex Muhumuza
The Kampala based anti-Rwanda tool of misinformation SpyReports – a website sponsored by a lady called Deborah Rwabwogo, the in charge of “special duties” in Uganda’s State House – is now claiming that Rwanda was trying to take control of Uganda’s economy; and that “because Uganda put an end to this, ‘that’s why Kigali decided to close the border.’”
To those that have been observing Uganda’s campaign of misinformation against Rwanda, it is difficult to find a more infantile piece of propaganda than this one, put forth in an article headlined: “How poor Rwandan Government had attempted to capture the Ugandan economy using proxy businessmen.”
SpyReports – whose paymaster Deborah Rwabwogo is the former wife of Col. CK Asiimwe, head of counterterrorism in Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI) and in charge of anti-Rwanda propaganda in the agency – has like all Ugandan media been whining that, “Rwanda unfairly closed the border”.
But now all of a sudden they come up with this ridiculous story that Rwanda as a country has been trying to earn money through such means as “using proxy traders” in places like Kampala’s Kikuubo area, William Street, or Industrial Area!, laughed observers in Kigali.
One can ask: which “journalist” wrote the SpyReports story who does not know that Rwanda has been recording 8.5 percent economic growth per annum, one of the fastest in the world over the past two decades; or that Rwanda is attracting billions of (US) dollars in foreign direct investment into its economy; or that it is on its way to becoming an air transportation hub in the region, with billions of dollars being invested into the air transportation sector, and elsewhere?
For the SpyReports writer to turn around and claim that this is a government hiding behind small businessmen operating in Uganda, to scrounge for Ugandan shillings in Kikuubo or William Street is beyond laughable.
The website does not stop there with its childish claims however. Among other things it alleges that Rwanda “because it has no food”, has resorted to “sending armies of illegal entrants” to work in Ugandan farms. This is “because Ugandan soil is fertile, unlike Rwanda’s which cannot feed its people”, goes the infantile claim.
It goes on that the “Rwandan undercover” farmers have been operating in districts like Kiboga, Mubende, Nakasongola, Kibale, Kabale and others, and that “their government has tasked them to come and buy in large quantities and export to Rwanda” in a bid “to tackle the foot shortages in Rwanda”. Here one has to pause to try to absorb the sheer ineptitude of this propaganda.
Why then is SpyReports – and fellow propaganda websites like the CMI sponsored CommandPost that recycle each other’s articles – still whining that “Rwanda has unfairly closed the border” then? Why are they not happy, and rejoicing that no more Ugandan food (or any other commodity) is going to Rwanda?
Also, it is almost a year since Rwanda put an embargo on Ugandan imports – explaining there can be no free trade with Uganda as long as it still persecutes Rwandan citizens, and the same applies as long as Kampala cavorts with anti-Rwanda forces.
How then do SpyReports and others explain the fact no Rwandan is starving? Their fictions are collapsing under the weight of their contradictions, anyone can easily see.
The SpyReports writer, showing more ineptitude than one thought possible even in a Ugandan propagandist, then turns around to claim that these “Rwandan proxy businessmen, or farmers” in fact also were “sneaking in illegal money to destabilize Uganda with acts like “funding terrorism”, “carrying out assassinations” or “facilitating intelligence gathering on key government ministries and security forces”.
It begs the question: is SpyReports saying the people it alleges Rwanda sent to dig Irish potatoes, bananas and sorghum in Mubende, Kabale and elsewhere somehow would morph into expert spies capable of infiltrating even UPDF? That apparently is what Uganda’s State House now wants people to believe.
Or is it the traders in Kikuubo and William Street that are the expert spies? But these are the very people SpyReports claims Kigali has sent on a mission “to capture the Ugandan economy”; a mission that in fact no country in history has ever pulled off in another.
An analysis of this article shows one thing at least clearly: the Ugandan regime has lost on the “border closure narrative”. It is clear they are floundering around, looking to establish another narrative with which to demonize Rwanda.
What has happened is that when Rwanda made the decision to issue an advisory to her citizens against travel to Uganda – following repeated complaints to Ugandan authorities about Kampala security agencies’ endless, brutal persecution of innocent Rwandan nationals, and detentions with no due process – it hit Ugandan businesses hard.
All of a sudden Uganda was crying loudly. Some like Ugandan Regional Cooperation Minister Philemon Mateke were saying Uganda would petition the East African Community Secretariat.
Ugandan officials were crying even louder because Rwanda also had placed a restriction on all heavy commercial trucks from Uganda. Kigali was emphatic: you cannot torture Rwandans, while at the same time working with RNC, FDLR and every negative force against Rwanda, and expect access to the Rwandan market!
The Ugandan authorities and the media propagandists shouted again and again about “border closure”, but Ugandan businesses were also taking the regime to task: “why can’t you sort your differences with Rwanda!”
Yet for some reason the Kampala regime kept harassing Rwandans – though they’ve tried to hoodwink everyone, including the Luanda MoU process, by releasing just a few – and did nothing to dismantle RNC networks.
In fact others like FDLR, RUD-Urunana or FLN have found a home in Kisoro, courtesy of Regional Cooperation Minister Mateke.
But the economic consequences of Uganda’s reckless actions – i.e. the Rwandan embargo – are biting.
According to Daily Monitor for instance, in the time since Rwanda issued the travel advisory to her people and embargoed Ugandan trade, the Ugandan economy has lost over US$ 400 million. Media like NBS have broadcast documentaries showing how towns bordering Rwanda, like Katuna, Cyanika, Kabale and others have become quasi ghost towns.
Manufacturers in Uganda are operating at 40 percent capacity, and many trucking firms have closed down – all because there is no business with Rwanda, said Gideon Badagawa the executive director of the Uganda Private Sector Foundation.
Small businesses – restaurants, bars, inns and hotels, up to small farmers – all have been hard hit by loss of business from the Rwandan side. That is what Nelson Nshangabasheija the Katuna Town Council Mayor told the media. When one drives on the highway to Kampala they will notice a lot of derelict towns along the way; a lot of derelict service stations that have had to lock up; a lot of eateries, supermarkets and the like.
All have one thing in common: they depended on Rwandan nationals, as well as businesspeople and traders.
All the way to Kampala the consequences have been felt, such as the multitudes of traders that have closed in Kikuubo, and all the places SoftPower mentions in its lies to deflect blame upon Kigali. They all closed because they no longer have Rwandan customers; not because Uganda “chased away” fictitious Rwandan “businesspeople”.
When SoftPower publishes its easily disproven claims about how “Rwanda wanted to control the Ugandan economy”, it is sheer desperation by the Kampala regime. It has no explanations to its nationals, and businesses that have lost so heavily due to the regime’s endless provocations against Rwanda.