By Alain Mucyo
Ugandan journalist-cum-opposition Member of Parliament, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda has come out to comment on the ongoing standoff between Rwanda and Uganda, only that he has badly misfired.
During a press conference held at Ugandan opposition party FDC headquarters in Kampala, Semujju waded into an issue he showed he hasn’t given full thought on, by claiming the diplomatic stand-off between both countries is “due to a supremacy battle between Presidents Kagame and Museveni.”
Both presidents better sort their issues, which are personal issues between the two of them!, the legislator claimed, continuing in that vein for several sentences more, concluding that “the two leaders should end their selfish fights because the people of the two countries are suffering!”
For a former journalist, one would have expected Nganda to do more than give such a lazy explanation on the state of relations between both countries.
“As a parliamentarian, and a former journalist with the tools to do some research it is flabbergasting that an individual like Semujju can so easily descend into the ‘both-sides-are-to-blame false narrative,’ said a Kampala-based political analyst that preferred anonymity to give candid views.
In Rwanda, people are at a loss for an explanation about the patently false “both-sides” debate.
For one thing, if Uganda is harboring terrorist groups that have openly declared war against an established government in Kigali, how does Nganda, or anyone else turn around and equally blame President Kagame?, informed people ask.
The same goes for one side maliciously and continuously abducting, illegally detaining, and brutally torturing the citizen of the other. Only Ugandan security forces are doing that, to Rwandan nationals, at whom they often hurl accusations like “espionage”, or “illegal weapons possession”, and others that they never prove, not even in one case.
Semujju Nganda ridiculously equates the deaths of two or three Ugandans (when they were shot by security patrols while clearly engaged in criminal activities inside Rwandan territory in the middle of the night), to the mass human rights abuses of Rwandans perpetrated by Ugandan organs like CMI that work in cahoots with RNC agents.
Does the MP not know these things?, one asks. Or does he just prefer to ignore the truth as he tries to score cheap points with the public, with acts calculated to show he is “speaking for all people?”
There is little other explanation for why Semujju Nganda ignores the fact of the suffering of hundreds of Rwandans in the dungeons of Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI), Internal Security Organ (ISO), as well as in various brutal Ugandan prisons, while not one Ugandan is treated like that in Rwanda.
Readers in Kigali that saw Semujju Nganda’s remarks kept asking: is he unaware of RNC whose grenade attacks in Rwanda injured scores and maimed hundreds; and that it is the same RNC with which the Ugandan regime is in bed to destabilize Rwanda?
Has he not seen the nine Rwandans recently handed to Rwanda’s High Commissioner in Kampala by Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa? If Semujju Nganda were honest, couldn’t he by now have asked whether Rwanda equally has been incarcerating Ugandans, on charges for which they never prosecuted them – meaning illegal incarceration?
If this MP purports to be honest with his words, how can he then turn around and cast a share of blame upon the Rwandan leadership, which is only acting to protect its citizens; and its own security from the regime in Kampala?
A senior Ugandan journalist that says he knows Semujju Nganda from way back said it was “the opportunist in Nganda” that’s making him utter his false equivalences. The source, who says he one time worked with Nganda as parliamentary reporters, said that he (Nganda) was someone that would do anything to have the limelight.
Some incidents have been illustrative of how Semujju Nganda will utter anything to gain some populism, meaning there are no principles behind his words.
In one of the talk shows to defend a policy proposal of his that never materialized, he was challenged by a fellow legislator to take the initiative and turn down his share of the Ushs 200 million that had just been given to each Ugandan MP, to purchase a new vehicle. After all he Nganda had been loudly proclaiming that he was against such expenditure, and in favor of scrapping it “to save tax payers”.
Yet Nganda very gladly pocketed the money, demonstrating what an opportunistic manipulator he is! “You have been making this good proposal; and I know you are already own a car because you got the same amount in the last parliament; so why don’t you show leadership and turn down the money for the car as you continue pushing against it”, fellow legislator Muhammad Nsereko asked him.
MP Nsereko then went on to accuse his colleague of always “seeking cheap popularity and media attention”.
Nsereko was more spot on than he could have imagined.