By Alain Mucyo.
When this Wednesday Ugandan officials were handed the body of a smuggler, who had turned violent on Rwandan security patrols resulting in his getting shot, SoftPower a Kampala tool of misinformation decided to use the occasion to smear Rwanda.
This wasn’t surprising since SoftPower is run by Sarah Kagingo – a prominent misinformation specialist that consistently peddles virulently anti-Rwanda content. Kagingo is one of a phalanx of propagandists in the pay of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), under the direction of agency’s head, Brig. Abel Kandiho.
In the article titled, “Rwanda hands over body of Ugandan who was shot and killed by Rwandan security”, the website publishes nothing that’s factual.
It instead tries to peddle a (false) version of events concocted by the Ugandan intelligence community, in a bid to sanitize hardcore smugglers while demonizing and ramping up anti-Rwanda hate.
The narrative they push is that the Ugandan who was shot was “a few meters in Rwanda, having escorted his cousins that had been to Uganda to visit him.” This is a debunked narrative as news reports have proved. The deceased Ugandan smuggler, Theogene Ndagijimana was escorting no cousins. They were on a smuggling mission in the middle of the night with two accomplices.
“They are a well-known gang of smugglers whom the border communities from either side knew very well; they share no blood relation other than the habit of smuggling Kanyanga and other illicit products from Uganda into Rwanda,” said a border resident in Burera District.
Our source added that the smugglers were known to abuse the same lethal gin they smuggled, and other drugs. It is said this made them very aggressive and dangerous.
Reports are that when security patrols on the Rwandan side apprehended the men, they began brandishing spears.
The SoftPower spin however goes on to quote fictitious sources to create the impression that, “Ugandan citizens along the border live in fear and cannot go to their gardens, because they may inadvertently cross into Rwanda and get shot”.
The record shows that this is a completely fabricated scenario.
First of all the shootings have been isolated and have happened deep into the night. Who goes out to their garden to dig at those hours? SoftPower offers no explanation.
Also, Ugandans cross into Rwanda daily, whether at Cyanika, Gatuna, Kagitumba, and all the other official border posts. And they cross back home as they please.
These are the orderly people; the citizens that are committing no crimes, or anything illegal.
But SoftPower is not interested in facts. For propaganda purposes, it is only misinforming people who live far away from the border communities. Another lie the website is peddling is that “several Ugandans have been arrested and are being kept in custody in Rwanda”.
Rwandan authorities that we interviewed scoffed at this particular lie, making it clear that anyone who is arrested is duly processed. “I challenge them to name any Ugandan that has been arrested and is being kept in custody,” he said.
Observers will notice that SoftPower again is engaging in projection. The offences it accuses Rwanda exactly are what Ugandan security agencies have been doing to Rwandan nationals.
By now everyone in this region knows about how agencies like Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence – one of those that funds the virulent anti-Rwanda smears – has been abducting and torturing Rwandans. CMI, and others like Internal Security Organization have been illegally jailing Rwandans, whom they arrest with no due process.
With zero proof they accuse the Rwandan nationals of “espionage”, “illegal gun possession”, and other concocted charges.
Up to now, hundreds of Rwandans remain incarcerated in dungeons operated by CMI. Others remain in Ugandan prisons, charged with nothing, yet doing quasi-slave labor.
On their part, Rwandan authorities assert that they will not relax against smuggling, especially against dangerous drugs, more so in the night.
The authorities’ advice to members of communities on both sides of the border is to always use official, gazetted border crossings.