By Alain Mucyo
An obscure Kampala-based blog site, Watchdog Uganda last Friday published an article under the headline, “Will former IGP Kayihura’s victims repatriated to Rwanda ever get Justice?” with intention to try to revive the dead lie that former Uganda Police IGP Gen. Kale Kayihura had any links with Rwanda.
Watchdog, one of the many Ugandan intelligence-run propaganda outlets dwells on a so-called “petition” – signed by individuals wanted for criminal offences in Kigali, chief of them Kayumba Rugema a well known agent of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC – sent to the ICC. According to Watchdog’s propaganda, the “petition” called for the prosecution of Gen. Kayihura.
What the propagandist seem to forget is that everybody will be aware that any Tom, Dick and Harry can petition the ICC. It doesn’t mean the court will pay attention to any idler with time on their hands. Kayumba’s “petition” did not pass the smell test, and obviously no one in The Hague had any time for it. The alleged “Kayihura victims” that they were talking about such as Joel Mutabazi were Rwandan fugitives that were wanted for high crimes back in Kigali – just like Rugema or his boss Nyamwasa too are wanted to account for crimes.
When Mutabazi was apprehended in Uganda and handed over to Rwanda Police in 2013 it was through proper, legal channels. RNC and its Ugandan intelligence partners have desperately stoked the lie that “Mutabazi was kidnapped”, but the facts are clear as day. Lt. Joel Mutabazi was extradited and handed over to Rwandan authorities courtesy of a bilateral framework on exchange of suspected criminals between the police forces of the two countries.
As a senior operative of RNC at the time of his extradition, the man was running a terror sleeper cell in the Ugandan capital, and coordinated the spate of grenade attacks in Rwanda. Following his extradition Mutabazi and his co-accused were tried in a public court. Right from his pre-trial hearing, his trial in substance and even on appeal; journalists (local and foreign) diplomats and the general public were present.
When the trial went on appeal, Innocent Kalisa, who was extradited with him from Uganda, having been a fellow member of the RNC Kampala cell, decided to spill the beans after realizing that the continued denial would get him nowhere. Kalisa detailed the role each individual played in the attacks that lasted three years, in which 17 innocent Rwandans were killed and over 400 others maimed.
Kalisa put the last nail in when he showed how Mutabazi was in direct contact with Kayumba Nyamwasa. Yet, five years after the duo were handed over to Kigali (in exchange for wanted Ugandan fugitives among them Shanita Namuyimba aka Bad Black) what was a legal extradition became a ‘kidnap’. High-ranking parties in Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), as well as Henry Tumukunde, Uganda’s minister of internal security at the time were interested in blaming Kayihura for the kidnap!
In addition they wanted to tie Kayihura to Rwanda with that fake narrative that the latter was working for Rwanda. Kayihura inevitably was fired, and eventually arrested. The true story that Ugandan honchos have tried to keep hush hush however is that it actually was the Ugandan first son, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba that ordered police to hand Mutabazi to Rwandan authorities.
Besides Kayihura, whose downfall was orchestrated by CMI, over 26 police officers, many of them senior, were arrested and charged with the same crime of “kidnapping” Mutabazi. How 26 senior police officers “kidnapped” two people will remain a mystery to any sensible human being. It is a lie kept alive because powerful interests withan army of propaganda organs are determined to keep it alive.
When the Ugandan security apparatus launched a state-sanctioned, large-scale campaign to abduct Rwandans in Uganda, this same excuse kept cropping up. When CMI operatives abducted Rwandan businessman Rene Rutagungira in a Kampala bar in 2017 one of the false accusations against him was that he “participated in the kidnap of Mutabazi.”
The charges were proven to be concoctions as Rutagungira’s lawyers kept pointing out, because Ugandan military authorities – who were illegally holding him in violation of his rights as a civilian – could mount no case against him. Rutagungira endured torture at the hands of CMI because its boss Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, as well as Tumukunde, wanted to force him into a confession that he had worked with Kayihura to extradite Mutabazi.
Kandiho wanted to extract a confession from Rutagungira to not only pin Kayihura, but also validate the long-debunked narrative by Uganda that Rwanda was “meddling in Uganda’s security”. Their ploy failed dramatically. Ironically, during the time they were trying to concoct the narrative that Kigali was involved in kidnaps, CMI, and to a lesser extent ISO worked closely with RNC operatives in Uganda to abduct a countless number of Rwandan civilians.
In particular Kayumba Rugema, the initiator of the bogus ICC petition, is oftentimes cited in the kidnap and torture of Rwandans in Uganda. A prominent example is when they abducted an elderly Rwandan businessman Fidele Gatsinzi; whom Rugema together with one Mukombozi, another RNC agent and a CMI operative, accosted outside a shopping mall and forced into a vehicle. That was in December 2017.
Rugema, a nephew to Kayumba Nyamwasa, had a role so central in Gatsinzi’s abduction that the car with which they took him away belonged to his (Rugema) wife Peace. “I’m going to lock you up until you rot in jail, you people that work for Kagame!” Rugema spat at Gatsinzi, wagging a pistol in his face. That is according to an account of events by Gatsinzi himself when they later released him after torturing him in CMI’s Mbuya Military Barracks headquarters for a couple of weeks.
When they dumped him at Gatuna, Gatsinzi couldn’t walk. He was crippled.
It is this very Rugema, his RNC henchmen and their Ugandan handlers and enablers, that stand to be answerable for crimes against humanity, legal analysts that know the terrorist activities of RNC point out.