Home Op-ed The rhetoric of Kampala’s Ad-Hoc team does not match Uganda’s acts

The rhetoric of Kampala’s Ad-Hoc team does not match Uganda’s acts

By Alex Muhumuza

When Rwanda and Uganda signed the MoU – will Kampala muster the political will to deliver on its commitments?

In an article following Thursday’s meeting of the Ad-Hoc Commission for the implementation of the Luanda MoU, Chimpreports – a major outlet of misinformation under the control of Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI – once again aims to turn the truth on its head. In so doing the website – whose paymaster is CMI’s Deputy Director in charge of Anti-Terrorism, Brig. CK Asiimwe who also is in charge of Kampala’s anti-Rwanda propaganda campaign – inadvertently exposes Uganda’s unending duplicity in the whole affair.

The article, published under the title: “Uganda to release 130 jailed Rwandans as Kutesa, Biruta trade accusations”, tries to portray Kampala as “the only party that’s acting to fulfill it’s part of the Memorandum of Understanding” – the document signed in Angola in August last year by Presidents Kagame and Museveni, in the presence of the heads of state of Angola and DRC, to try to thaw relations.

Chimpreports’ strategy is to downplay Rwanda’s concerns either as “having been addressed by Uganda”, or even “none-existent”, while resurrecting a number of long discredited Ugandan claims. Remarkably its entire article is in lockstep with what Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa, the leader of the Ugandan delegation, had to say throughout Thursday’s videoconference discussions.

Two examples of the actions of the Ugandans stand out as part of the aforementioned strategy. The first is when Chimpreports writes that the Self-Worth Initiative (SWI) “NGO” – an organization that Rwanda long ago outed as a false front whose real work is to mobilize and recruit for Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC – has been deregistered in Uganda. The second example is Uganda’s “pledge that it is to release 130 Rwandan prisoners in the following week.”

Such things are what Uganda presents as “working to fulfill the MoU terms”, and therefore Rwanda “has to reciprocate.” As ever Kampala’s main demand on Rwanda is that the latter “open its borders to Ugandan commerce”. This is Kampala’s sole goal in the whole exercise of discussions, analysts have been pointing out.

Kampala’s stance gives a whole new meaning to the word chutzpah.

Take the claim that it has “deregistered SWI”. Why in the first place did they register it?

This is an organization whose real goal – anti-Rwanda terror – they knew, and not only abetted, but planned together. None other than CMI’s Deputy Director in Charge of Anti-Terrorism Col. (at the time) CK Asiimwe conceived the plan to set up this pseudo NGO, and appointed Prossy Boonabana and Sulah Nuwamanya – both agents of RNC – to run it. When SWI got registered as an NGO, on the pretext that it “works for the interests of widows”, it was with the facilitation of Asiimwe.

For Uganda to turn around and claim it has deregistered SWI, then expect to be commended for doing so is like an arsonist that sets fire on a neighbor’s house and then expects praise for pouring a bucket of water on the blazes – and even then after it is the neighbor that raised the alarm on the arsonist.

The case is similar with the 130 Rwandan detainees they say they are going to release. Why did they arrest them in the first place? What had they – and hundreds of others that have had the misfortune to be arbitrarily arrested in the neighboring country over the past three years – done? Nothing. Rwanda has never tired of pointing out that very many of her citizens fell victim to abductions, illegal detentions, incommunicado, and torture at the hands of Ugandan security operatives all because Kampala adopted a policy of hostility against Rwanda.

Simple proof of this was that at no point did Uganda charge the Rwandans in court, or give them a chance to defend themselves. Uganda never had anything against them. Ugandan authorities and propaganda outlets would claim: “arrested Rwandans were spies,” or “they were kidnapping Rwandan refugees”, or “they were in illegal possession of weapons”, but never lawfully charged a single one of the hundreds they arbitrarily arrested.

CMI and other security organs just tortured a lot of Rwandans, why? It has long come to light that they have been working with RNC agents, one of their strategies being to recruit fighters through kidnap; or to raise money by abducting and robbing Rwandan businessmen they knew had money and property. The victims have names: Emmanuel Rwamucyo, Rene Rutagungira, Augustine Rutayisire, Eric Rugorotsi, and so many others. So many were just dumped at the borders after suffering serious abuses, or doing hard labor in Ugandan prisons.

On the other hand if, according to Kutesa, Uganda wants to release 130 Rwandans, but that there will be 310 left in detention, what game is Uganda playing?, observers ask. One of Rwanda’s conditions is the unconditional release of all illegally detained Rwandans. Yet Kampala wants to release only a few, “is that the sign of a government that’s negotiating in good faith?”

Ugandan propaganda however only keeps repeating the same, long discredited claims of “espionage by Kigali”, falsely implying that Rwandan nationals they jail, including the ones they will keep in detention, are involved. “Espionage and other malignant activities against Uganda have continued unabated,” said Kutesa in a quote carried by Chimpreports.

But the website omits to inform it’s readers that, beyond torturing Rwandan nationals, Uganda has never indicted a single one to prove its claims. It is all part of a pattern of duplicity such as can be seen in the claim that Self-Worth Initiative has been stopped. Nothing like that has happened.

RNC agents, especially Sulah Nuwamanya are active as ever on social media posting anti-Rwanda smears. Nuwamanya and Boonabana have not been stopped. They, and several other RNC agents, and its military officers Maj. Robert Higiro, Capt. Jean Marie Turabumukiza, Lt. Frank Mushaija, and Lt. Gerald Tindifa, all are housed, and guarded at the expense of the state all over Kampala.

The Ugandan regime has declined to hand these individuals over to Rwanda to face prosecution for their roles in anti-Rwandan terrorism, proof of which Kigali has amply presented – including with numerous notes verbale channeled through Rwanda’s High Commission in Kampala. Also, Uganda has declined to disband RNC networks, and other terror groups, especially FDLR and RUD-Urunana – with the latter two known to work closely with Ugandan State Minister for Regional Cooperation Philemon Mateke.

Yet, despite the fact there is not a single corresponding act by Rwanda against Uganda, the latter cries far louder during meetings.

Rwanda however is resolved on one thing: as long as Uganda shows no real political will to act decisively on the issues Kigali raises, “then they can expect no change in Rwanda’s stance, at all”, informed analysts say. “Rwanda will always appreciate gestures like releasing prisoners; but only decisive, clear action on security-related demands by Kigali is what will make real difference.”

In the meantime, contrary to the rhetoric of “peace” by Uganda, the country’s security forces have not stopped harassing or torturing Rwandans.

Just last month on 18th members of the Ugandan military, UPDF dumped two Rwandan women, Uwambajemariya Kamariza (27) and Nadine Uwitonze (32), at the Buziba Border Post. The women said the soldiers assaulted them in Kamwezi Sub-County, while on their way back to Rwanda. Kamariza was bleeding in her private parts, while Uwitonze had bad injuries on the arm. And, again just this year (in March), a UPDF battalion in collaboration with local authorities in Kisoro District attacked businesses owned by Rwandans, breaking into shops, throwing out the commodities while crowds looted them.

“The regime claims it wants peace with Rwanda, but wages war on Banyarwanda,” a Rwandan observed.

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