By Alex Muhumuza
A video clip titled “poor communication blamed for recent Uganda-Rwanda troubles” has this Saturday appeared on YouTube, uploaded there by NTV Uganda, one of the prominent audio-visual media of the country.
The video – which purports to have taken its title from an interview President Kagame had with Nation Media Group last Thursday – however turns out to have no basis for its title. Nowhere in the interview does the Rwandan president address the issues between Uganda and Rwanda in the way NTV insinuates. Nowhere in the excerpts of the same interview, from which NTV purports to have gotten content for the video, does the president say anything close to what the video’s title says. The excerpts have been published in the current issue of The East African newspaper – a sister media house to NTV.
Reading the interview – which is dominated by one issue: Covid-19’s impact on the East African Community; the EAC’s response to the pandemic, and President Kagame’s thoughts as Chair of the bloc – it will be noticed that the newspaper’s journalists, in Q & A format, ask only one thing on Uganda-Rwanda relations. “There were efforts to mend relations between Rwanda and Uganda before the pandemic, how it the situation now?”
President Kagame answers: “let me summarize it by saying that it has not gotten worse. It is where it was at the time. I think in a situation where there is not so much good news, I think that is good news; that nothing got worse. We can only expect better.” That is all. President Kagame says nothing about “poor communication” in any context to do with relations between the two countries.
The makers of the video seemed to have edited their video to fit a predetermined narrative.
This is made obvious by how the clip starts, with footage from the Quadripartite Heads of State Summit at Gatuna/Katuna in February this year whereby (former) Rwandan state minister for the EAC Olivier Nduhungirehe, and Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa are seen giving speeches. Then the narrator intones: “it was resolved that Kampala and Kigali continue exchanging information that will allow for the verification of all issues raised in the meeting.”
What the clip’s editor is doing is build the impression that a basis for “communication” has been created, thereby setting the viewer up for the next part; the one about the alleged “poor communications.” The narrator segues into it as the clip cuts to last Thursday’s interview with the Rwandan head of state, conducted by videoconference. The narrator claims: “now, in an exclusive interview with Nation Media Group, Rwandan President Paul Kagame revealed that relations between the two countries are yet to be resolved.”
This is the point where the president says the situation is the same as before Covid-19, and that nothing has gotten worse.
This video has been lambasted by commentators in Kigali, some saying it is “mere convenient spin by NTV Uganda.” @YolandeMakolo, a prominent Rwandan Twitter account yesterday, Sunday, said: “”EAC countries definitely need to collaborate and fight Covid19 together. But the situation before was not caused by poor communication, but real issue; Rwanda’s real grievances about Uganda’s actions.”
No official from Kigali has said the problems of Rwanda with Uganda hinge around communication, whether good or bad.
Kigali has shown numerous times, with facts, and with evidence in the form of documents, photographs, video, and so on, that real, deeply serious issues, are ones such as Kampala’s determination to destabilize the security of Rwanda. Kigali has protested, numerous times, through diplomatic channels with use of diplomatic notes verbale, Kampala’s backing and facilitation of terrorist groups with a violent anti-Rwanda agenda. Kigali has shown, in detailed ways, how Kampala is in bed with Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC – the Ugandan regime’s favorite proxy group in plots (certain commentators call them fantasies) to cause “regime change in Kigali”.
Kampala has long been a facilitator of the RNC in its recruitment activities, with Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI) working hand in hand with RNC agents to lure Kinyarwanda-speaking youths from places like refugee camps, facilitate them with false travel documents, and transport them to training camps in Minembwe, eastern Congo. At least until mid last year, before RNC was smoked out of its camps and crushed by a military offensive that left some of its top commanders dead, hundreds more dead, and dozens captured and taken to Rwanda to stand trial for terrorism.
Kampala’s anti-Rwanda aggressions go further than facilitating just one hostile group. It has for instance long been revealed that the major role of Ugandan Minister for Regional Cooperation, Philemon Mateke is as “coordinator” of anti-Rwanda groups – RNC, FDLR, or RUD-Urunana – to encourage them to “put their energies together in fighting Rwanda.” Yet by the resolutions of at least on meeting of the ad-Hoc committee to implement the Luanda MoU – signed last August as a step to restore normal relations – Kampala should by now have dismantled all negative anti-Rwanda groups in Uganda. “These are the kind of issues that a media house like NTV Uganda skips while selling false stories that ‘poor communication’ is the problem,” said a Rwandan official on condition of anonymity.
Also, with Uganda’s anti-Rwanda hostility a lot of innocent Rwandans have been victimized in Uganda: harassed with arbitrary arrests and illegal detentions with hundreds still languishing in the prisons and dungeons of Uganda, even though the Luanda MoU stipulates that they are to be released if there is no lawful reason to keep them in detention.
“Such are the kind of serious issues which NTV Uganda chooses to ignore, in a way similar to so many Kampala propaganda media,” a Kigali writer on security issues remarked. “Talking of ‘poor communication’ only serves as a smokescreen for Kampala,” he concluded.