By Alex Muhumuza
The relieving of Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba from his duties as minister of internal security by President Kagame unsurprisingly has attracted negative commentary by Kampala media whose mission is to misinform about everything the Rwandan leadership does. As usual Chimpreports – a website under the control of Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI, which is in charge of anti-Rwanda propaganda – was ahead of the pack with breathless claims that bore little relation to reality.
In an article earlier this week titled, “Rwanda: Kagame Fires Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Nyamvumba”, the website first focused on the phrase “removed from his duties”, with scare quotes as if to indicate this was something out of the ordinary. Unlike Uganda, there is nothing out of the normal in people getting relieved of duties in Rwanda.
When Chimpreports broached the real reason Nyamvumba was sacked, “because of matters of accountability”, again it resorted to the devious use of scare quotes – a negative technique to cast doubt on the reason Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente communicated for the general’s sacking.
Working to further cast doubt, the website claims: “The Premier did not mention Nyamvumba’s alleged crimes”. Clearly, Chimpreports didn’t expect the Prime Minister to prosecute the case in a communiqué! This demonstrates a lack of understanding of how institutions in country that runs on systems work. There is the Prime Minister and then there is the National Public Prosecutions Authority.
Chimpreports unaware that matters under investigation normally are not disclosed until completion, upon which prosecution may make them public in court? Yet these attempts to obfuscate fail to cast doubt on the fact Nyamvumba was relieved of duties precisely because he is under investigation.
In Rwanda, the record shows, no one is above the law. Any official – or none official –that chooses to get on the wrong side of the law will be held accountable. The General had to go because he couldn’t credibly carry out his duties in the course of an investigation into matters to do with him. Again, this should be obvious in an environment of law and order.
These are principles that Kampala’s propagandist media prefer to draw their readers’ attention away from, even as they mislead with fictitious versions of events – such as the following alarmist assertion in the Chimpreports’ article: “Nyamvumba’s sacking will send shockwaves in the country’s security services.” Observers in Kigali were puzzled about the alleged “shockwaves.”
If it has not caused “shockwaves” in the past when senior people, in the security services and in the public services were relieved of duties, why will it be any different with Nyamvumba? Chimpreports gave no reasons for its claim, other than to lurch onto another that “Kagame has in recent years been removing the old military brass, handing over sensitive and influential positions to youthful commanders.”
It should be obvious to any readers that such a statement says less about Rwanda and more about mindsets in certain countries whereby even the oldest, disabled fellows are never retired, or commissioned from the military – with some having entered the institution as far back as 1970. On the other hand, it is very normal for dynamic, efficient armies to have a cutoff, retirement age upon which an officer leaves and goes into private life. This is what professionalizing the army is actually about unlike those who say it as slogans that they never mean.
Interestingly Chimpreports then draws attention to the fact that Gen. Nyamvumba was given the post of Internal Affairs Minister after “months of insecurity in Rwanda as armed rebels struck at the heart of the country’s tourist attraction areas.” Observers will note that any claims that there were “months of insecurity in Rwanda” any time recently are mere wishful thinking, by Chimpreports’ paymasters.
But even when insecurity struck for one night, in Kinigi in October last year, it was the doing of the Ugandan regime – specifically through the country’s State Minister for Regional Cooperation Philemon Mateke. Captured attackers of RUD-Urunana, which claimed the lives of 14 innocent civilians, named Mateke as its coordinator.
Rwandan security forces had swung into action moments after the terrorists struck, killing 19 of them and capturing five alive. They told everything under interrogation. Also, another of the attackers, Seleman Kabayija – who was one of the four that initially managed to escape but was later repatriated from Uganda – gave further confirmation of the minister’s role.
“We did everything with the planning and assistance of Minister Mateke,” Kabayija, who was the deputy commander of the attackers, said in media interviews in Kigali. He further disclosed that during the terror mission, its commander “Gavana” Nshimiye was in constant contact with Philemon Mateke. “They kept updating each other as we entered Rwanda” (from a border area with DRC), said Kabayija.
Kampala, however, has refused to extradite Gavana and one Mugwaneza – another of the perpetrators that escaped to Uganda – to account for their crimes. This, plus the acts of Mateke – who still hosts, and facilitates the movements of Gavana – underscore Kampala’s long-running hostile anti-Rwanda agenda. It is a long-exposed plot to destabilize Rwanda through proxies such as RUD-Urunana and FDLR, in addition to Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC – the most entrenched, most facilitated anti-Rwanda group under the patron of Uganda.
Rwanda on its part knows that there are very many Ugandans that wish good neighborliness with it. Yet these people are completely undermined by a small clique in the Ugandan capital that is determined to scuttle any attempt at good neighborliness. Kigali knows this and warns that if this clique continues to work with the enemies of Rwanda, with the intention to destabilize the country or disturb the peace of Rwandans, “there will be consequences,” a source said, adding that “overall there are no problems between Uganda and Rwanda.”