By Alex Muhumuza
Uganda’s state newspaper, The New Vision, last Saturday published an article – highlighted in a boldface headline at the top of the front page – that was of a “fake news” nature. It also seemingly was calculated to scuttle the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 21 August by the presidents of Rwanda and Uganda to ease tensions between the two states.
The article, titled BESIGYE, KAGAME MEET IN USA provides neither photograph, nor video, nor any other evidence of the alleged meeting, other than vague unnamed sources. It relies on no official statement either from the office of the President of Rwanda; neither does the paper indicate whether its journalists tried to crosscheck their information with any Rwandan official.
Most tellingly however, The New Vision does not name the venue: whether a hotel, or in the UN building, or anywhere else where the two high-profile people are supposed to have met. “Reading the New Vision’s article one would imagine the two gentlemen met in some kind of vacuum,” laughed a Kigali analyst.
It is apparent the article is one of several in a long-established pattern of anti-Rwanda fabrications in Kampala’s ceaseless campaign of misinformation against Rwanda.
“Former presidential candidate for Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Dr. Kizza Besigye held a private meeting two-hour meeting in New York City on Tuesday,” wrote the paper, continuing that it happened during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.
Media analysts were asking why Uganda’s state paper would turn a supposedly mundane meeting between a private Ugandan citizen and President Kagame into front-page news. Whether Kagame is a head of state or not, why should the Ugandan paper in fact fabricate a story about the alleged encounter – also considering Besigye would be committing no offense even if he in fact met Kagame?, analysts wondered.
The New Vision, observers note, is out to create the impression that “Besigye meeting with Kagame is something very wrong”.
The paper quotes provisions of the Luanda MoU while implying that the alleged meeting somehow was a violation of parts of the Memorandum. “Uganda and Rwanda officials undertook to refrain from actions conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of the other party (and) acts such as the financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces.”
It is clear The New Vision (through its completely fabricated story) is accusing the Rwandan leader, or Rwanda of “violating the MoU”!
High-ranking officials in Kigali were incensed by the article.
“Fake news @newvisionwire!,” exclaimed Rwandan Minister of State in Charged of the East African Community Olivier Nduhungirehe addressing the Ugandan paper through its Twitter handle. “This is the kind of lies and negative propaganda that the ad hoc Commission of the Luanda Memorandum of understanding between Rwanda and Uganda committed to stop!”, charged the Minister.
But, others commented, even if President Kagame were to indeed meet with Besigye, it would be the most false of false equivalences by Kampala to turn that into an accusation against Rwanda! Even Museveni meets Besigye from time to time during events they have both attended in the past, one analyst observed.
President Museveni and members of his close entourage are in the habit of meeting, facilitating, hosting, providing diplomatic passports, air tickets, state protocol and everything else to senior members of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC, a virulently anti Rwanda group.
RNC officials are on record declaring violent war on Rwanda – not once, not twice but several times on forums such as their Radio Itahuka.
RNC was behind a spate of grenade attacks in Rwanda in public places between 2010 to 14 that claimed 17 lives, and injured over 400 other people. RNC terrorists apprehended during investigations all revealed the group was responsible for the attacks in the course of court trials.
Without a doubt Kayumba Nyamwasa leads an extra-legal group committed to violently destabilizing a country led by a legitimately elected government.
Kizza Besigye on his part was head of a legitimate, recognized political party in Uganda that had no agendas for extra-legal seizure of power. FDC has not been on any media forums calling for armed insurrection against the government, and neither has it been detonating grenades to kill Ugandans in markets or bus stops, the record shows.
“For the Ugandan state to try to create a false equivalency between its acts of support for a real terrorist group, and Rwanda, by use of a fictitious encounter just betrays, on many levels, how guilty Museveni and his people are!” a Kigali security analyst commented on condition of anonymity.
The Ugandan leader’s transgressions against Rwanda through his various associations with RNC are proven with evidence, not made up media stories.
Even Museveni himself, when confronted with evidence that he had met with RNC officials Charlotte Mukankusi and Eugene Gasana in February this year admitted it. He then bizarrely tried to explain it away by saying he “only accidentally met the two”!
The times Museveni or his officials have been hosting, or facilitating meetings with leaders of rebel groups sworn to violent conflict against Rwanda are too many to list in a single article.
Other than the “accidental meeting” incident, one can point to the meeting in December last year at the Kampala Serena, organized by Philemon Mateke – Ugandan Minister of State for Regional Affairs – on the instructions of Museveni to better coordinate the activities of RNC and the genocidal FDLR.
To Kampala’s huge shock the FDLR officials – LaForge Fils Bazeye and Theophile Abega – were arrested at the Bunagana Border by Congolese officials, on 15 December as they were coming from the Kampala meeting. They disclosed everything about Kampala’s anti-Rwanda skullduggery.
“The Ugandan regime is seeking to undermine the MoU, while turning Rwanda into a scapegoat,” said our security source. “It is obvious Kampala isn’t ready to abide by the agreement its leader himself signed; so they report a fictitious meeting, publish it, then smear the Rwandan leadership!” the security analyst said.
The allegations of the (none) meeting between President Kagame and Besigye has also been carried in other Ugandan intelligence-sponsored websites such as “glpost”, “kampalapost” and others, each with its own incendiary embellishments to the story, but all with the same aim as the official New Vision.