By Mark Martin Karuhanga
In a sensationalist bid to further tarnish Rwanda – as part of a wider agenda to turn it (Rwanda) into “the bad neighbor” – Chimpreports, a Kampala CMI-sponsored website has pounced on a series of tweets by one Rama Isibo, using them as a weapon to beat Rwanda with.
In an article published this Sunday, 13 January, Chimpreports begins: “Rama Isibo, an independent minded Rwandan intellectual has tasked his government ‘to pick up the phone and talk to Kampala’ about the worsening relations between Rwanda and Uganda.’”
But what would one expect of Chimpreports, which after all is merely one of the several Museveni-regime misinformation outlets? Just look at how they already are turning this Rama Isibo into “a public intellectual”! Wonders never cease!
So now to become an intellectual all you have to do is write some tweets, and a blogpost? I have searched to see what books, or academic papers the so-called intellectual has written, and I can’t find any. Only ranting tweets, and equally ranting blogposts on something called Igiceri.
Maybe Chimpreports will revise the definition of intellectual. Just kidding, they know exactly what they are doing – which is trying to lend credibility to an obscure “Tweep”, in their tireless efforts to tarnish Rwanda.
Isibo makes a series of mind-boggling claims in his tweets, amongst them that: GoR (Government of Rwanda) “needs to do more to help Rwandans imprisoned and tortured in Uganda”; that “we need to pick up the phone and ‘talk to Kampala about this’”; that “sending hidden messages in the press will not do, nor do we need military escalation or war games to start another round of tension.”
Continuing in that vein, Rama tweets claims that GoR does not mind more Rwandans being arrested, “‘coz (sic) it confirms our beliefs and gives us cause to go to war’, “so please TALK with our neighbors, no more ‘cold war’”. Notice the emphasis?
This man’s tweets are pure gold for any pro-Museveni propagandist news organ, or social media users in the pay of that regime.
Which brings us back to Chimpreports that has skillfully exploited the clueless Isibo’s utterances, in effect to say: “You see! Even “Rwandan intellectuals are saying that Kagame and his government are the real trouble causers!”
But lets leave Rama’s misinformed rants and Chimp’s propaganda use of them to look at the facts. How many times has the government of Rwanda, through its diplomatic mission in Uganda, “picked up the phone” to intercede on behalf of Rwandans arrested by Museveni’s dreaded CMI or ISO, and held incommunicado?
Too many times, and if one wants the facts. They are are there in plain sight. In 2017 in the Kampala neighborhood of Bukasa, CMI picked and detained three Rwandans: Bayingana James, Nsekanabo Lando Ali and Byaruhanga Nduwamungu Ali. CMI took them to Mbuya where they interrogated and tortured them for three months.
During all that time the Rwanda High Commissioner to Uganda endlessly rang Ugandan authorities, and the Foreign Affairs Ministry inquiring about the Rwandan citizens – how they were, what their offence was and so on. To no avail.
Perhaps Chimpreports would like to ask the head of the Rwandan Diplomatic Mission in Kampala. But establishing the facts isn’t what they want.
Very many Rwandans have suffered a fate similar to these three Rwandans. Yet however many calls Rwandan High Commissioner to Uganda Frank Mugambage has made, that has not saved the CMI and ISO victims.
Perhaps Isibo wants Mugambage to go with his phone to Museveni, kneel down, call and ask the Ugandan leader to save Rwandans from CMI and ISO. Who knows?
Just last Thursday, one Rogers Donne Kayibanda, a Rwandan that travelled from Kigali to attend his brother’s civil wedding ceremony was abducted and taken away by people said to be from CMI operatives. That happened in the Kisaasi neighborhood of the Ugandan capital.
Rogers’ family says the Rwandan ambassador has already intervened on their behalf, just like he has done so many times before when Rwandans have been unlawfully arrested. He has written a “note verbale” to the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
One wonders, if the Ugandan authorities choose to ignore him again, what would those who claim that “Rwanda is not lifting the phone to help Rwandans” expect Mugambage (therefore Rwanda) to do? Kneel down to the Ugandan authorities? Somehow, I doubt whether even that would work!
At this juncture, one begins to wonder: why is Rama, and those echoing him, not asking why Museveni’s operatives are abducting, arresting, harassing, torturing, and locking up so many Rwandans – including women, fathers going to visit their children in Ugandan schools, and so on?
Instead of Chimpreports doing it’s supposed journalistic duty to look at both sides of the story, they have instead seen an occasion to repeat the lie that the Rwandans arrested in Uganda are suspected of spying for Kigali.
Really? A father that goes to visit his child in a secondary school is a spy in what way?
A businessman that’s only transiting through Kampala to Nairobi – such as Patrick Niyigena whom CMI abducted from Kampala bus park in October last year as he was waiting to board his bus to the Kenyan capital – is a spy in what way? Yet even after Niyigena showed them his ticket, and business documents proving he was going to purchase refrigerator parts, they still abducted him, took him to a safe house and tortured him. They also took his money, US$ 2400 and didn’t return it.
Perhaps the CMI fellows saw him with the dollars and “decided” he was “a spy”? Who knows?
Maybe Rama Isibo would have made a magical phone call and sorted that injustice. Other than that, how do normal humans deal reasonably with CMI or ISO?
But even if CMI or ISO in fact were looking for spies, is that the way professional intelligence services do their work, resorting to open criminality and breaking international laws?
We could go into the many other ways that prove the hostility of the Museveni regime towards Rwanda – other than the harassment of its citizens – such as its determination to hinder EAC initiatives, in rail and air transport, and other infrastructural projects, because they could also benefit Rwanda.
Yet in all this, you will not see a single example of Kigali retaliating. You will not hear of a single Ugandan that Kigali has abducted. You won’t hear of Kigali opposing any project that would benefit Kampala.
Rwanda only protests the injustices emanating from Museveni and his administration.
But some individuals will see fault only with Rwanda.