By Rutore Samugabo
Throughout everything that’s been said between Kampala and Kigali, one may ask: how many people in Uganda ever pause to think, “Man, let me shut out all this noise, and look at the real cause of problems between our two countries”?
“Ugandan President Museveni, despite all denials, clearly is in bed with the anti-Rwanda terror group RNC of Kayumba Nyamwasa (right picture) It’s surprising that so few in Uganda are calling out Museveni for it.”
I have seen very few Ugandans in the public eye that are ready to point at the obvious answer. The one person that has created the problem, from the word go, is President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. Countless examples of his government’s hostility, aggressions and provocations against Rwanda amply demonstrate he is the source of the problem.
Take the Ugandan security agencies countless victimizations of citizens of Rwanda travelling to, or already resident in Uganda. The incidents are frequently in the news, so that even the most disinterested person by now has heard stories of supposed “Rwandan spies” in Uganda, and how Ugandan security operatives have been “arresting” them.
The so-called arrests are more like abductions and kidnappings. A notorious example: on 6 August 2017 armed men confronted a Rwandan national, Rene Rutagungira in a bar in Bakuli, Kampala, and forcefully dragged him away, and into their car. The abductors were CMI operatives.
They did not tell Rutagungira what it was he had done wrong. They showed no arrest warrants. “They were just like lawless thugs that work for a lawless government,” a friend of the Rutagungiras remarked. CMI abducted him and held him incommunicado, as per the organization’s modus operandi.
The truth CMI didn’t tell the public is they targeted and abducted Rene because he had refused to be recruited into Kayumba Nyamwasa’s anti-Rwanda subversive activities. RNC (Nyamwasa’s group) has long found a home in Uganda.
It is backed, and facilitated by Kampala in all its activities. It’s financial kingpin Tribert Rujugiro does business with Salem Saleh, the First Brother. It carries out recruitment in Uganda, with the active assistance and facilitation of Uganda’s security agencies.
Rwanda has proved all that, and more, with documents.
Some young Rwandans that they got from Ugandan refugee camps have confessed being recruited by CMI to join the anti-Rwanda rebels.
Museveni himself at a joint press conference with his Rwandan counterpart last year confessed he knew of recruitment activities in his country. He only shamefacedly admitted it because, as he himself said, President Kagame had shown him proof.
RNC in Kampala is empowered enough to arrest, and torture Rwandan nationals for any reason it may feel like. Rene was victimized because he declined to join them. When he refused RNC and CMI accused him of being a Rwandan spy. A year and a half on, CMI has shown nothing to prove it.
Rutagungira’s is merely is one example of the extra-legal acts Kampala operatives have inflicted on so many Rwandans.
There are very many others, like the parent that only was in Uganda to visit his son at a Ugandan university, only to find himself abducted and tortured so that he is now confined to a wheelchair. CMI agents abducted him working with Kayumba Rugema a well-known agent of RNC.
There are others like the businessman that was transiting through Kampala to Nairobi when he was dragged away to a “safe house”, and tortured. And the many Rwandan nationals that CMI plants guns on, then slaps weapons possessions charges on them.
One cannot properly enumerate Rwandan citizens that have suffered, and are still suffering in such ways. They are just too many.
When it is not accusations of spying, it is accusations of “illegal entry”, or “illegal stay”.
More than a thousand Rwandans that have been arrested, incarcerated, and dumped at the borders since January 2018 alone, on accusations of “illegal entry”, or “illegal stay”. This is something that, according to analysts, demonstrates the depths of criminality the Museveni government is ready to plumb against Rwandans.
Rwanda is a member of the East African Community, as is Uganda. The binding laws of the Common Market on free movement of people, goods and labor stipulate that no national of a member state is to be restricted in his or her movements inside another member state.
The law – which even Museveni signed – categorically states citizens of member states do not require a visa to enter another member state, and may not be prosecuted for entering a member state. All one needs is his or her ID showing their nationality.
Uganda’s transgressions – in blatant disregard of the law – reached the extent Rwanda took a decision and strongly advised citizens against travel to Uganda. On the other hand Rwanda has not perpetrated a single crime against a single citizen of Uganda. The facts bear that out.
There is not a single national of Uganda that Rwanda ever abducted from a bus. No security agent of Rwanda has illegally arrested or abducted a Ugandan, let alone subjected them to torture that leaves one crippled. Not a single Ugandan civilian in Rwanda has been kidnapped on bogus charges of “spying” or “illegal entry”.
So why do we not see many Ugandans taking their government to task, to come clean on the issue? Also, of all the alleged Rwandan spies that have been jailed, why is none ever tried publicly so that everyone gets to see concrete proof, and hence confirmation, of Kampala’s accusations against Rwanda?
The reason they do not is because Rwanda is committing no crime against Uganda. Period. Every Rwandan that Kampala abducts, it does so to establish a false equivalency. Museveni and his people know they are involved in a crime against a neighbor state (backing rebel groups bent on destabilizing it), so they want it to appear that Rwanda too is involved in similar crimes against Uganda.
Uganda is ready to target so many innocent Rwandans, and ruthlessly abuse their rights just to serve that lie.
It has been difficult to make Ugandans see these truths. The same Ugandans that never believe Museveni on so many things because of his character as a habitual liar won’t question his lies on Rwanda. It is one of the mysteries of life.
When Kigali says Museveni is involved in subversive activities against Rwanda, it provides proof. For instance, in 2017 Rwanda’s embassy in Kampala issued a note verbale in complaint after Uganda released 39 recruits of RNC from Mbarara prison, though charges of terrorism were pending against them.
The 39 were part of a group of 46 young Rwandans that were intercepted at the Uganda, Tanzania border at Kikagati in December 2017, en-route to RNC training in DRC, it was discovered. They were traveling on forged papers, which – they confessed under interrogation – CMI had provided them. Uganda was caught red-handed.
Rwanda protested this facilitation of a terrorist group that amongst other things detonated a series of grenade explosions in Kigali that claimed 17 lives and injured hundreds more, from 2010 to 14.
Also, Kigali has shown proof Museveni not only is in bed with RNC, he also works with FDLR – the offshoot of groups that perpetrated the Genocide of the Tutsi.
Still, even with all the proof of Museveni’s skullduggery, a disturbingly high number of Ugandans are ready to believe Kampala’s propaganda and lies, despite Rwanda’s evidence-supported truths. The Ugandan leader over the three decades he’s been in power long ago showed he is a completely unreliable person. Start with the big lies of his “fundamental change” speech when he captured power in 86.
“Ours is not a mere change of guard; ours is a fundamental change”, Museveni sing-songed on the steps of the Ugandan parliament 33 long years ago. The man instead went on to show he is no different from those he replaced. He is ready to teargas, jail, kill or attempt to kill – think Bobi Wine – any that challenge him.
Museveni said he came to fight corruption and bad governance. But is there a more corrupt government than his in East and Central Africa’s history? Maybe Mobutu is in the same category, but I can’t think of any other. Just think of Salem Saleh’s greatest hits.
Junk choppers; ghost soldier salaries; turning a whole section of Entebbe airport into a depot for plundered Congolese resources; so-called wealth creation schemes that instead were designed to funnel public funds into Saleh’s control, but with no accountability mechanisms. All this is only the tip of a huge iceberg.
In everything moreover Saleh acts on behalf of, and in partnership with his brother.
Museveni said he came to fight evils like nepotism. But his wife is the minister of education; his brother is de-facto in charge of the military; his 44-year old son – a fellow that has never set foot anywhere on a battle field – is a general in the Ugandan military; his brother in law is the foreign affairs minister; his sister is the deputy chairperson of the Education Service Commission, and a whole lot of other relatives hold fat positions everywhere.
The man practically has turned Uganda into a kiosk of his family, its extended clans, and hangers on.
Why would any person think someone with this history of lying, and this history of moral corruption is telling the truth but that it is Rwanda lying?
If you are one of those people that believe Museveni over Rwanda, you seriously have to ask yourself whether you are thinking objectively.