By Yvette Muvunyi
President Museveni’s government has for quite some time been involved in a misinformation campaign that has specialized in hurling insults that target the leadership in Rwanda. The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) has been active in propagating this propaganda through sites including Chimp Reports, Soft Power News that belongs to Salim Saleh’s friend Sarah Kagingo, among many blog sites set up to propagate Museveni’s vendetta, which has reached new lows: Hurling demeaning insults towards Rwandan women and girls.
Just last month Museveni’s intelligence agencies planted a story in the media with a deliberately insulting headline: Rwandan women sold off as brides in Mityana. The headline was clearly meant to abuse and provoke. “Normally, ethics would demand that before a newspaper or other publication claims that any country’s women or other people are ‘for sale,’ great care is taken to verify many things,” said a seasoned editor at one of the leading news media in the region.
“There is no evidence that this story was researched, for instance. It sounds more like bar rumour and scuttlebutt than a story written by a professional journalist,” continued the editor, who noted that the intent was clear: to demean and insult.
The only person in an official capacity interviewed for that article was a Ugandan local government official, Yahaya Kakooza the Resident District Commissioner, a direct Museveni appointee, who obviously thought he was echoing the sentiments of his boss, Museveni, to hurl mud at Rwanda.
The reporter found time to get a comment from Kakooza. However, no effort was made to contact Rwanda’s embassy before concocting a story about “women for sale.” Were these victims of human trafficking, a problem that Uganda itself suffers from?
“We know the prostitutes they traffic from Uganda to Arab countries,” said a lady bar owner in Kampala who confessed that her premises are often poached for this purpose, “It’s a big problem with some of our women here in Kampala being taken to work as sex slaves in Arab countries!”
A security expert says the moment someone is said to have been transported from one area to another and sold, “that becomes human trafficking.” Yet Kakooza, the Mityana RDC, did not clarify whether Ugandan security is investigating the alleged Rwandan bride incidents as human trafficking.
The article says the selling of Rwandan women is an open secret in Mityana. So, some are asking, why has Ugandan security turned a blind eye to human trafficking, and failed to move in to investigate and arrest those involved in what constitutes a crime under both international and Ugandan laws?
Or at the minimum inform the Rwandan embassy in Wandegeya. One is forced to conclude that this lack of action on the part of the authorities in Uganda can only mean there are no Rwandans “women for sale” in Uganda and that CMI and ISO concocted and planted yet another story with the usual aim of tarnishing Rwanda, only this time they shot even lower than their usually low standards of indecency.
One thought they wouldn’t go any lower than the time CMI undressed innocent Rwandan women it had arrested and detained at its headquarters in Mbuya. After more than two weeks of torture that included removing their cloths “to see how a Rwandan woman looks,” they expelled the women to Kigali. It must be some form of obsession that Museveni’s agents have with Rwandan women that has them wanting to see how they look naked and now has them thinking about “buying” them.
If it’s not this obsession, then it must be about the runaway corruption in the country for which a diversion is much sought after. For instance, Uganda seems to be contending for the status of “most corrupt country on earth.” Museveni himself recently admitted in Nairobi that his government cannot do something as simple as lawfully evacuating people from swamps, but that government has to bribe them to evacuate!
The stories that show the Museveni family has for long been a crime family in the mould of the Sicilian Mafias are coming thick and fast. There is the scandal whereby one Kiconco Medard, reportedly on behalf of Museveni’s daughter Natasha, has been trying to evict the whole village of Lusanja so that they can take the evicted families’ land. Such greed has long been the hallmark of Uganda’s First Family in the Museveni era.
Hardly had the Lusanja expropriation saga started to fade from the headlines, than the latest mega-scandal erupted in the international media. The UK’s Daily Mail newspaper notably led with the headline: “How Uganda’s corrupt elite dipped into 151 million pounds of UK aid cash.” The sub-header says: “UN review exposes catalogue of dodgy land dealing, expenses fiddling and overpayments.”
The story details a catalogue of ways in which the Uganda government, through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has swindled the UN, using methods like the aforementioned dodgy land dealing, expenses fiddling, overpayments, and others like overconsumption of fuel.
A Ugandan called Moses Mwebaze on Twitter said, “Now, “refugees” has been the only trademark of good works left for Uganda to sell abroad. The OPM is again leaving us speechless and poorer!” How about yesterday’s The Observer that uncovered, “President Museveni’s $500,000 bribe, in cash, was wrapped in gift boxes Mafia-style” that was “delivered” to him at “his 2016 swearing in” ceremony.
Considering that the scandals have become so frequent, it is not surprising that the big man’s security services would try to concoct a slanderous story about alleged Rwandan women on sale to divert the attention of the public.
“They just want to generate anything that might drag Rwanda into their mud; they don’t care how nasty or true it is as long as it takes some pressure from Museveni, his family and their corruption ”said a laughing Ugandan, “so expect them to talk a lot about Rwandan women.”