By Patience Kirabo
Ugandan regime propagandists are desperately trying to create a false equivalence between the lawless behavior of Uganda’s security forces, and Rwanda’s.
The Kampala misinformation outlets, sponsored by CMI, which also coordinates the anti-Rwanda propaganda campaign, are publishing stories that Ugandans recently deported from Rwanda “were tortured” and “mistreated”. They quote the deportees at length, claiming they had “endured the hardest period in their life.”
Leading the line has been some website called watchdoguganda.com with the following alarmist headline Wednesday: “Rwanda, deported Ugandans say they have seen the worst of their lifetime, thank God for another chance”!
The website claims the deportees were “frequently beaten badly with gun butts, to answer as to why they had crossed to Rwanda”.
This is a blatant falsehood. When Rwanda deported the five people – Nicolas Tumwesigye, Ivan Niringiyimana, Amos Tibesigwa, Beatha Nyiramuco, and Gilbert Beingana – it was with due legal process. Francois Regis Gatarahiya the Director General of Immigration and Emigration issued a statement on Tuesday saying these individuals – who are from the districts of Kisoro and Kabale – were prohibited Immigrants in Rwanda. They were deported through Cyanika and were in good health.
The deportation order issued on 19 November 2019 referenced Article 15 of Law no. 04/2011 and of 28/03/2011 on Immigration and Emigration in Rwanda and other articles establishing regulations and procedures of implementing immigration law.
In recent times, desperate Ugandans have been illegally entering Rwanda through porous border crossings with the aim to smuggle food crops or other items, thereby breaking the law. The authorities in Rwanda have repeatedly stressed that those Ugandans that use official border crossings will have no problems at all.
The record shows that for Ugandan lawbreakers that peacefully surrender to the authorities when caught red-handed are accorded all their rights, including speedy court hearings and consular visits.
That was the case recently when Ms. Juliet Namirimu Kiggundu, the Foreign Service Officer from the Ugandan High Commission in Kigali visited 12 Ugandan suspected smugglers and illegal entrants at Nyagatare Police Station. The diplomat was given access, and talked to the detainees.
That was on 13 this month. None of the suspects had suffered mistreatment or abuse of their rights.
On the other hand the Rwandan High Commission in Kampala is never granted similar permission. Its notes verbale to the Ugandan authorities always are merely ignored.
Watchdoguganda in its eagerness to smear Rwanda ignored all these facts.
The website was just intent on perpetrating the slander that Rwandan security organs too engage in behavior such as Ugandan military intelligence (CMI), or Internal Security Organization (ISO). It is well documented how these abduct or arbitrarily arrest Rwandans all the time.
They illegally incarcerate Rwandans; tortures them; hold them in unknown locations, and never afford them the chance to be tried in a court. These are things that have been going on for the past two and a half years.
Rwanda’s treatment of Ugandans is a far cry from the brutal, inhumane dumping of Rwandan nationals at the borders as regularly done by Ugandan authorities.
The Rwandans dumped in such ways will have spent months, some years in illegal custody. Many will have suffered torture, or endured incarceration characterised by hard labor in Uganda’s prisons.
The “Watchdog” story is replete with false testimonies, obviously concocted. The five Ugandans went back to their country in good condition, and when they were handed to Ugandan border authorities everyone at the border saw that.
Meantime, the Ugandan propagandists never mention the scores of Rwandans that are dumped, some of them tortured so badly they end up disabled, or others even losing their lives. Those lucky to go back home alive often will be nursing long-term physical and psychological wounds incurred during Ugandan detention.