By Alain Mucyo
On October 22, 2020, Andrew Mwenda’s The Independent published an article titled “How ISO boss sack helps Museveni, Kagame”. In the article the author contorts to try to pull Rwanda into Uganda’s internal affairs. It suggests that purely internal changes within the Ugandan government are beneficial to President Kagame, which is yet another example of the paternalistic attitude that has fed the crisis between the two countries.
ISO is the organ in charge of internal security in Uganda. Its boss, Col Kaka Bagyenda, was recently fired as the culmination of competition among Uganda’s security agencies. This internal rivalry is about access to power, resources (who works harder and is, therefore, more deserving of a bigger chunk of the country’s security budget) and opportunity, having proven to be the most loyal, to whisper in Museveni’s ear. In otherwise, to manipulate him and exploit his legendary paranoia.
The most recent casualty of this rivalry, Kaka Bagyenda, had himself colluded with Gen Abel Kandiho, head of CMI, to outmaneuver and get rid of Gen Kale Kayihura, the former head of the Uganda Police Force. Kandiho is, for now, the last man standing due to his close ties with Gen Salim Saleh, Museveni’s young brother and Uganda’s de-facto Vice President and overseer of its security services.
Therefore, the suggestion that Kaka was fired “to respond to Rwanda’s conditions for reopening the common border” is simply preposterous. Rwanda’s main problem with Uganda is not with individuals; it is with Uganda’s policy to destabilize Rwanda with the aim of installing a puppet regime that is the cause of the crisis. In fact, it is up to President Museveni to abandon that fruitless ambition; otherwise, who he appoints to, or fires from, different positions of government and security are his prerogative and of no concern to Rwanda. These are mere subordinates who take instructions from him; they would never take a hostile position against another country without his express wishes.
It is, therefore, preposterous to try to absolve Museveni of responsibility in the crisis and placing it entirely on his subordinates, as The Independent attempts to do when it writes that “to resolve the conflict one needs to deprive its perpetrators the opportunity of misusing Uganda’s facilities and resources to their advantage.” Reading this one would think that Uganda is a failed state on autopilot without clear lines of authority. Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to claim that the conflict between the two countries is due to “private individuals” who seek to opportunistically profit from the crisis.
Otherwise, why waste time on concluding a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and adopting various resolutions on a roadmap to improved bilateral relations when the party responsible for implementing them claims it lacks authority to rein in the culprits within its own security agencies? Does Uganda need an external force to come in to help it neutralize the activities of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s Rwanda National Congress (RNC) or RUD-Urunana; to stop officials in its immigration services from issuing travel documents to RNC representatives, like Charlotte Mukankusi; to prevent CMI from deploying armed escorts for RNC operatives; to dismantle the RNC training center in Kireka (located at Bugolobi, Mpanga Close, Street 21, Kampala); and to set free innocent Rwandans who have been abducted, detained, tortured, and continue to be held incommunicado in CMI dungeons to this day?
Even after harassing Rwandans, Ugandan authorities seem to assume and expect that the border will open just in time for Rwandans to cross to vote for the very person on whose orders Rwandans have been and continue to be illegally detained and tortured en masse. “In the current circumstances both Museveni and Kagame are desperate to see the common border reopened soon. One, it boosts Museveni’s election fortunes with the highly anticipated flooding in of Rwandans,” The Independent writes, channeling the entitlement that the authorities in that country have against Rwanda and its people. Imagine thinking that Rwandans are eager to return to Uganda to vote for Museveni!
Along with entitlement is the patronizing of Rwandans. So if Museveni is “desperate” for the votes of his victims, what is Kagame “desperate” for? Kagame will “softly begin to benchmark from Uganda’s experience and participation in organizing the Rwanda CHOGM-21 due mid next year.”
Imagine Rwanda learning organization from Uganda! But if the “individual attitudes” that exist in Uganda “towards the question of Rwanda” are people who exploit disorganization, then what is it that Rwanda is supposed to learn from Uganda on how to be organized? Unless The Independent meant, as a wag once said, that nothing is completely useless and that Uganda can serve as an example of how to not be organized.