By Alex Muhumuza
Jean Paul Samputu, the Canada-based singer, has been under the mentorship of President Museveni’s younger brother Gen Salim Saleh and officials in Uganda’s security service, according to reliable sources. Under their guidance, Samputu has formed a political party that claims to speak for genocide survivors. The party’s brief agreed with Samputu’s Ugandan sponsors is to endeavour to mislead genocide survivors that the Rwanda government has been exploiting and mistreating them, the source says. Apparently, Saleh and his lieutenants have convinced Samputu that he is the Second-Coming of Kizito Mihigo and that he can use his name as a singer to mobilize against the Rwandan government. As Kizito’s supposed replacement, Samputu will be pushing Kizito’s narrative as well as the baseless claims that he was killed by the government, when even his family has rebuked those who are trying to exploit his death for their political gains.
In preparation of forming the party, Samputu has been frequenting Kampala for consultations with Museveni’s brother, and other top officials in the security services, including Gen Abel Kandiho, the source reveals. Among the founders of Samputu’s party are offspring of some of the most well-known genocide perpetrators and fugitives who are themselves notorious genocide deniers and trivializers. They include Rene Mugenzi, Denise Zaneza, Claude Gatebuke, and other genocide deniers who falsely claim to be survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, though they speak ambiguously to leave open the likelihood they may be pushing the long-discredited theory of a double genocide – itself an attempt to blur the reality of the actual genocide perpetrated against Rwanda’s Tutsi. Others working with Samputu have been appearing with him on Voice of America (VoA) and the BBC.
Samputu has a long-standing relationship with the top authorities in Uganda that dates back to the late 1990s when the crisis between Uganda and Rwanda reached a boiling-point following the Kisangani clashes between the two countries.
Among the people Museveni recruited to Uganda in his proxy war at the time was JP Samputu. Samputu lived in Kampala under Museveni’s upkeep, and the former would frequent Rwakitura. He spent close to four years there, during which he composed and sang a song he dedicated to Museveni in which he showers him with praise. In return, Samputu benefited from exposure, winning obscure prizes in pre-arranged competitions where Museveni’s influence opened doors and was even promised a World Tour in 2004.
After the two countries normalized relations and Museveni had no more immediate use for Samputu, the latter quietly returned to Rwanda claiming to have become a Born-Again Christian. He settled in Rwanda before moving on to Canada.
With tensions between the two countries resuming anew, the authorities in Kampala remembered that he has a tool to use against Rwanda, reactivating Samputu in his new role of a political party founder. Given his previous miscalculations, it is evident Samputu has yet to realise his sponsors are misleading him to a dead end adventure.