By Patience Kirabo
In the wake of the Luanda-Angola Memorandum of Understanding signing by both presidents of Rwanda and Uganda, the latter has refused to be clear about what his reasons were for the signing of the MoU.
This silence from Uganda President has precipitated many questions from Ugandans nationwide. Museveni usually is a very talkative person, and nothing will prevent him saying whatever he wants. That is his reputation. But when asked – on social media this Monday – on the issue of torturing Rwandan citizens and supporting fugitive Nyamwasa, Museveni was evasive. “I refuse to discuss interstate matters in the press, including social media.”
Commentators wonder what the MoU is for. Erias Lukwago, the Lord Mayor of Kampala City on Radio1 FM 90 discussing the topic with other panelists wondered if it was a “peace agreement” or “a truce”. And if it was a Peace Agreement, what was the conflict? Ugandans need to know about the conflict, and why the conflict is there!”
That is what Museveni is evasive about. He is a man who doesn’t hesitate to leak to the media a letter to a fellow head of state; why not leak his stance on the torture of innocent Rwandans, or his dealings with Nyamwasa and his RNC?
Museveni’s anti-Rwanda hostility is causing serious losses to Ugandan businesses and traders. Not surprisingly they want him to come out clearly on his responsibility for the badly deteriorated relations with a neighbor as important as Rwanda. Kabale, Kisoro, Lyantonde and so many border towns are feeling a lot of economic pain.
Why can’t Museveni say what it is those hundreds of innocent Rwandans in Ugandan prisons and torture dungeons are detained for?
Gawaya Tegulle, a lawyer of several family members of the prisoners, too was on the same radio talk show as Lukwago. “It is not an ‘allegation’ that Rwandans are in prisons or ungazetted places of detention, it is an indisputable fact. So, why don’t they try them in court?”
Museveni and his administration have been giving no answers for that. His hosting of RNC, and facilitation of other groups like FDLR, and individuals like the now jailed “Sankara” are well-known facts. He needs to step out and say why, according to several observers.
One result of all the hostility of Kampala security agencies against Rwandans travelling to, or already resident in Uganda was for Kigali to issue a strongly worded advisory against its nationals crossing to Uganda. One consequence that Museveni and his people weren’t expecting has been the economic pain.
However, it has also jolted the attention of Ugandans in general. Those who thought before that perhaps Rwanda was falsely alarming saw that things indeed were serious.
So, many are asking, why isn’t the man addressing all these issues.
People need far more answers than mere evasions on social media.
President Museveni has never bothered with the simple courtesy of addressing the issue, but rather kept the traders in limbo, with mumbled promises that “a solution is coming”. It never comes. He has chosen to take Ugandans for fools by letting his hired media mouthpieces write and say whatever falsehoods he wants them to say.
Such as the endless unproven allegations of “Rwandan spying”, for which he never is specific, “what are they spying about?”
Uganda security agencies under his command have violated not only the East African Community protocols but also the human rights of their Rwandan victims. Yet Museveni never shows concern about the implications of this lawlessness by his forces.
“The problem with Museveni is he imagines Rwanda is like some weak entity he can just push around, which is far from the case,” a concerned Kampala observer said. “One day the realization will sink in that this is not the case, but at what cost to Ugandans?” he wondered.
By the looks of it, Museveni’s evasiveness on the urgent questions raised to him on social media is a sign he is just digging in, getting ready to violate the MoU that he signed without being forced.
Consequently Ugandans will go on suffering. And they will learn in even harder ways, that the real source of their problems never has been Rwanda, but Rwakitura.
For, his Rwandan counterpart long ago made clear Rwanda’s grievances with Uganda – including the aforementioned endless harassment, illegal incarceration and torture of her nationals by Museveni’s CMI and ISO; working with anti-Rwanda terrorist groups, and sabotaging Rwandan commerce.
President Kagame has laid out his case, to the Rwandan population, and to the outside world, very clearly.
But Museveni has ordered the blocking of Rwandan news websites.
Clearly this is a man with a lot to hide.