By Virunga Post Team
Ugandan president Museveni has come out to play the blame games that he usually assigns his propaganda media in their anti-Rwanda campaign of misinformation.
In an interview with French TV channel France24 that came out yesterday, Wednesday 8, among the fallacious claims that Museveni made, one was that “Rwanda had closed the border.” Asked about the issue, Museveni blithely said, “ask the one who closed the border.”
Museveni was attempting to play the victim in the standoff with Rwanda, yet it is his very acts as an enabler of anti-Rwanda terrorism that led to deterioration of relations.
The Ugandan ruler’s assertion about “border closure” isn’t merely a falsehood; it is a gross distortion of facts. First of all the border isn’t closed. Everyone that wants to enter Rwanda, or leave does so as they please.
Facts on the ground are that Rwandan nationals are the ones not crossing to Uganda any longer, which has been the case since 01 March 2019. That followed a strong advisory by Rwanda to her citizens against crossing to Uganda when arbitrary arrests, illegal detentions, torture and all sorts of rights abuses of Rwandans there became too much.
The first widely publicized case was of Rene Rutagungira whom agents of Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI, abducted in Kampala in August 2017, severely tortured him in military facilities, denied him consular, or family visits, all on accusations of “spying for Rwanda”, or “operating a kidnap ring.”
The fishy part was that Rutagungira’s abductors did not produce him in court.
Uganda basically was accusing Rwanda of sending someone to spy on it, but failed to show the world how true this was by means of a court trial. The fact was, Rutagungira only was a businessman and his abductors had nothing to back their accusations against him. They would release him, with eight fellow Rwandan prisoners and victims of CMI torture neither of whom CMI ever produced a single piece of evidence to show veracity of their accusations.
The pattern continued with the abduction of many other Rwandans. The case of Fidele Gatsinzi – whom CMI men kidnapped in Ntinda, Kampala, and tortured in their Mbuya dungeons – garnered the next most publicity. Gatsinzi, who only was in Kampala to visit his son at Mukono Christian University, too was accused of spying. He too got no trial. They dumped him at Gatuna, and Rwandan authorities had to find him a wheelchair as he couldn’t walk.
There followed very many cases like that. CMI which was working on the anti-Rwanda campaign together with Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC – all as part of a plot hatched in Kampala to destabilize Rwanda – went berserk against Rwandans.
Many that knew nothing about politics fell victim to CMI and RNC abductions and torture. Countless young men and women were kidnapped as a strategy to press-gang them into joining RNC rebels. Rwandan individuals of means, like businessmen, were approached with demands to contribute money or materiel to RNC. When they refused, often they found themselves arbitrarily arrested with accusations of spying, or illegal weapons possession, or such.
Rwanda kept protesting these aggressions by means of diplomatic notes verbale. Kampala authorities would read the communications, and simply ignore them. That went on until early March 2019 when Rwanda said enough was enough and issued the advisory to her citizens against crossing to Uganda, as their safety and security could not be guaranteed.
Rwanda did not close the border to any Ugandan or anyone else, but rather to heavy Ugandan commercial trucks. Rwanda’s market couldn’t remain open to the commerce of a country that obviously had no belief in freedom of movement of Rwandans. Kigali’s position was that there could be no free movement of trade without freedom of movement.
That is what Museveni calls “closing the border.”
He conveniently omits the fact that it is his very acts of terrorism against Rwandans that led to that.
Museveni also refers to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two countries in Angola in August 2019, again trying to insinuate Rwandan “wrongdoing” in not opening the border. “We had discussions some years ago with the mediation of Angola. I haven’t seen the border being opened,” Museveni told France24.
Yet again here, the facts easily expose Museveni’s lies.
For an impasse to stop, you can’t just point fingers at others while doing nothing on your part to solve issues – especially when, in the Ugandan ruler’s case, he is the author of problems. If Museveni wanted “the border opened”, he would first end the terrorism of his security agencies against innocent Rwandans. One of the articles of the MoU stipulates that none of the states mistreat, or in anyway deal with the citizens of the other extra-legally.
Rwanda has nothing to be answerable on that. No Ugandan has ever been abducted in Rwanda. No Ugandan arrested for a crime has ever been denied their day in court.
But Ugandan security authorities only stepped up their harassment of Rwandans after the MoU’s signing, prompting protests by Kigali.
But not only did Uganda violate the agreement to end harassment of Rwandans, it went right ahead with its dealings with RNC, and other terrorist groups and anti-Rwanda negative elements.
When the France24 interviewer came to the question about Rwanda’s alleged spying on Ugandan officials with the Pegasus spyware – which President Kagame has emphasized Rwanda has never used, since it doesn’t even possess the capacity to utilize – Museveni just continued with his fallacies.
“It’s a waste of time,” said the Ugandan ruler, as if confirming the accusations. “There is nothing for Rwanda to spy on us about, and if there are any secrets they are in my head.”
Museveni claims he has nothing to hide. Yet his security agencies continue to victimize thousands of innocent Rwandans on paranoid accusations of “spying.”
He sure looks a very guilty fellow.