By Rutore Samugabo
Following the interview in the current issue of The East African newspaper during which President Kagame gives his candid views – among many other things on the causes of soured relations with Uganda – the Kampala administration’s misinformation machine has become highly agitated. It is doubling down on its usual fabrications and smears against Kigali, with some actually going further to invent new ones, as if for this occasion. Now they are even accusing Rwanda of supporting Ugandan opposition groups, though they do not name that opposition, or offer proof to back what they say, as per their modus operandi.
A case in point is the Chimpreports website – one of Kampala’s main propaganda outlets – which has published an article titled, “Rwanda-Uganda cold war: Kagame blames dissidents in South Africa; sidesteps burning issues.”
It is a comic headline for a none-story that levels the usual unsupported or outright false accusations of the Kampala regime against Kigali.
The two new accusations the sensationalist website levels against Rwanda are that “Kigali is mobilizing Rwandans against Uganda (in addition to the “supporting Ugandan opposition” accusation). These are amongst the so-called list of “critical issues” the website says, “Kagame did not address”, which included alleged harassment of Rwandan refugees in Uganda, espionage, and “unfair dismissal of Ugandans from top jobs in Rwanda”.
Displaying the best Ugandan custom of “okuyunga sitetimenti” – meaning sticking a concocted charge on some innocent party that one nevertheless wants to get into trouble – Chimpreports dredges up a couple of things that former Rwanda defense minister James Kabarebe early last year was alleged to have said.
“James Kabarebe warned Rwandans against scavenging in Uganda,” writes Chimpreports. “At different public events, Kabarebe wondered why Rwandans would continue flocking to Uganda.” That is all.
That is what Chimpreports calls “mobilizing Rwandans against Uganda”.
This lame fiction is merely indicative of the absence of any concrete thing that the Kampala regime can charge Rwanda with. It is the same with allegations that Kigali is “supporting Ugandan opposition”. They just make up stuff – okuyunga sitetimenti – utterly devoid of factual support. No one in the Ugandan opposition has come out to say they get support from Kigali. No government agency has gone on record with facts, either with written documents or recordings to say, here is Kigali supporting this or that opposition group! That is in stark contrast with Rwanda, which names RNC as the terror group Kampala demonstrably supports.
Yet Chimpreports, just like its myriad of sister propaganda organs will only keep publishing these fictions that CMI, ISO or the other Kampala spy agencies feed them, regardless how much the fabrications have been debunked or disproved.
One lie that Kampala will not let go is that, “Kigali is abducting Rwandan refugees in Uganda” – the main “example” being the case of Joel Mutabazi.
Anyone with a memory will remember that in 2013 Mutabazi, a former member of the Rwandan military, was quite legally handed over to Rwandan authorities by Uganda Police. That was in 2013, and it was part of a bilateral prisoner exchange program between the two police forces during which Rwanda too handed back to Uganda citizens of the latter that were wanted home for assorted crimes.
What is interesting is how Kampala has utterly stuck to their “abduction” lie – the same lie that propagandists of RNC, such as the Canada-based David Himbara regularly echo. What motivates these people to keep lying about something for which there is photographic and documentary evidence?
The reason is its strong false equivalency value. Kampala’s open backing of RNC, headed by Kayumba Nyamwasa, which has openly declared war against Rwanda and which has been behind terrorist attacks in Rwanda, is something the Ugandan leadership is always scared can backfire. So each time Kampala lies about Mutabazi, they are maintaining a fiction meant to cast Kigali in an evil light – as part of an overall strategy to in some way or other legitimize its support of RNC.
Maintaining that fiction also serves to blunt Kigali’s protests, through diplomatic channels, of Kampala’s support, facilitation and other assistance of RNC on Ugandan soil: including mobilization of funds, recruitment cells in refugee camps, recruitment of fighters and transporting them to training camps in DRC – complete with CMI-provided forged papers.
So each time Rwanda brings the embarrassing, “bad-neighbor” acts to light, most people – basing on all the misinformation they have been fed – will say, well how can Kigali accuse Uganda of backing anti-Rwanda rebels, when it (Kigali) too is guilty of spying on Uganda; of abducting refugees! Even when no one has ever proven a single act of wrongdoing by Rwanda.
That is the strategy Chimpreports is sticking with in its misrepresentation of President Kagame’s East African interview.
The website even goes further to make accusations on behalf of Burundi, a country that is in a tag-team relationship with Kampala in their war-mongering plans to bring conflict back to Rwanda using RNC and FDLR. This last fact has been indisputably proven, to any that doubted it before, by a damning UN Group of Experts Report on the DRC published late December last year.
“(Burundian President) Nkurunziza accused Kagame of financing and supporting the failed 2015 coup”, says Chimpreports with a deliberate journalistic ethical lapse in not telling its readers that nowhere has this allegation been proven. Not by Nkurunziza himself, not by former Tanzanian head of state Benjamin Mkapa who has been the facilitator of the Burundian peace process, and not by anyone that has investigated the Burundian bloodshed of 2015. The website reports other similarly unproven, made-up accusations against Rwanda as if they were fact.