By Gasimba Moise
In the Museveni regime’s ongoing propaganda war against Rwanda, Kampala’s Daily Monitor newspaper has tried to exploit an investigation by Rwandan law enforcement authorities of a Ugandan, to insinuate “Rwanda has done something wrong”. The paper first published an alarmist article, Horizon Bus Company Manager detained in Rwanda”, last Friday.
It once again showed that any event, even the most insignificant, will be exploited by Ugandan Media most of which have been assimilated into Kampala’s hostile, anti-Rwanda strategy, analysts observe. The brief is to misrepresent everything possible so as to heap blame for the current strained relations between the two countries on Rwanda.
Hence the Daily Monitor’s last article on the release of Emmanuel Sebuzuru, the manager of the Horizon Bus Company in the Ugandan town of Kisoro. Rwandan investigative authorities on Wednesday, 5 May, took the gentleman in for questioning in relation to a large sum of money he was carrying, according to sources.
Interestingly, some in Uganda, including media like the Monitor, began alleging that Sebuzuru was kidnapped. “Perhaps Ugandans, because they are used to the criminal behavior of their own organs such as CMI (military intelligence), think all other countries’ agencies behave like that!” commented a Rwandan security observer.
But, according to Sebuzuru himself, Rwandan investigators are professionals that do their work in a courteous, professional manner.
“While in detention I was treated as a diplomat because nobody harmed me or took away any of my belongings,” Sebuzuru told Ugandan media. That was after he went back to Kisoro, following a quick, efficient investigation by the Rwanda Police that established he had nothing wrong.
Sebuzuru said, “I was driven in a police vehicle to Gatuna Border (on Saturday, 8) with instructions to the border security personnel to help me cross to Uganda without being harmed or disturbed by anybody.” The Rwanda Police had conducted its investigation in a speedy process and released the suspect after it turned out there was no reason to detain him any longer. That is how Rwanda does things, everyone that has dealt with its institutions testifies.
In the case of Sebuzuru as in all others, all legal procedures were respected. Even the Daily Monitor had no choice but to report this fact, in a second story under the headline, “Arrested Horizon Bus Company Manager Released from Rwanda”.
Yet the paper went ahead to invent details to make it seem that “Ugandan authorities had intervened”, including State Minister for Regional Cooperation Philemon Mateke, whom they claim “did amplified advocacy for the release of the arrested bus manager.” This is the same Mateke that, it has been reported, coordinated meetings that brought together officials of FDLR and RNC, groups whose stated goal is to bring war to Rwanda.
But whatever they say, this newspaper – Monitor – and others cannot take away the fact Rwandan institutions treated a Ugandan fairly and professionally, and Rwandan institutions respect the rights of the thousands of Ugandans that travel here and work here, said a Kigali-based commentator. That is completely unlike the treatment reserved to Rwandan nationals when arrested by the likes of CMI, ISO and other Ugandan agencies.
Countless media reports both in Rwanda and the region have detailed the inhuman treatment Ugandan security agencies have meted out innocent Rwandans. CMI, chiefly and mainly, but also ISO, Uganda Immigration (which they have militarized in the past half year) and others routinely harass Rwandan nationals.
They arrest them on charges of “illegal entry” even when it is perfectly clear this is in violation of EAC Common Market Protocols – on freedom of movement of people, labor and goods – of which Uganda is one of the first signatories. Ugandan security authorities accuse Rwandans of “espionage” and abduct them, but never try a single one in court. They arrest others on “illegal weapons possessions” charges but never prove a single one of the charges.
After abducting so many innocent Rwandans they wrongfully detain them in unknown places. These people are denied their right to consular visits by officials of their country’s embassy. The Rwandan High Commissioner in Kampala has many times written notes verbale, to complain about this breach of international norms. But, according to officials of the High Commission, Ugandan authorities only ignore them.
Very many Rwandans – those lucky enough to be released from CMI custody – describe the inhuman torture meted out to Rwandans, “whose only crime is that they are Rwandan!”
It is estimated that well over a thousand Rwandan nationals are incarcerated in different prisons all over Uganda on concocted charges, doing hard labor and enduring beatings. Over a hundred are in detention at CMI’s headquarters, Mbuya Barracks, suffering terrible physical abuse.
But Sebuzuru is not languishing in a torture dungeon in Rwanda. That did not stop the Monitor from insinuating that his could result in “reprisals against innocent Rwandan citizens living in or traveling to Uganda.”
In any case, does it need any Ugandan’s arrest in Rwanda for criminal-behaving Ugandan agents abducting and mistreating Rwandans! Wondered a commentator.
Museveni has decided to support and give backing to groups determined to destabilize Rwanda, which means that too is his policy, “therefore they will keep mistreating Rwandans,” he added.