By Jackson Mutabazi
The “corruption cake” that Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister exploits from refugees has become too sweet, new developments on Ugandan borders indicate.
“The cake” has become so sweet to the extent the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is now advertising for refugees on the borders of Rwanda and Uganda. This “advertisement” is in the form of UNHCR notices written in four languages: Kinyarwanda, English, French and Swahili.
In fact it is not merely advertising, it looks like active encouragement of Rwandan communities along the borders. Under the UNHCR logo, it says, “Welcome to Uganda”. “If you are an asylum seeker report immediately to Immigration Office, the office of the Prime Minister, or UNHCR,” it begins, then proceeds to mention that “services are free, ‘no fee’ is required'”, “no need to bribe officials”, and so on.
Which raises the question: since Rwanda is peaceful, and has been peaceful over the past two decades why the need to put up such notices on its borders?
The purposes could be about two, if one has been following the Museveni regime’s manipulation of Uganda’s refugee population.
The first is scams – through OPM – to fleece the UN of millions of dollars. News readers will remember that in December last year OPM was implicated in a massive, international corruption scandal.
A UN report detailed how OPM scammed money meant to help refugees through inflating refugee numbers, claiming fuel consumption quantities almost twice what they used, and so on. That was according to a UN audit.
An article in the UK Daily Mail said, “shocking investigation reveals how corrupt Ugandan officials are manipulating refugee statistics in order to con the UK out of millions”.
The article noted that the Museveni government had “massively inflated refugee numbers in Uganda by 320,000”. The purpose of these “ghost refugees” according to the Daily Mail, is for the Uganda government to receive millions in aid, which the Museveni regime then embezzles.
Anyone that knows the Museveni administration knows that high corruption like this is par for the course. “They embezzle millions of dollars that international donors send, which are meant for those “ghost refugees”. They claim more millions meant for fuel and forge the accounts books.
“Do not forget that this is Uganda, a country where the head of state himself can be exposed as having accepted a bribe of half a million dollars,” commented an observer.
The fact that they are now “advertising for more refugees means they want to “expand the cake” continued the analyst, who requested anonymity to speak freely.
With the regime so determined to milk the refugee “cash cow” then, it is logical that they are now advertising for refugees on the border.
It is apparent to any person that Rwanda is one of the most stable, secure, peaceful countries in Africa. So why would any Rwandan become a refugee now? It just does not make sense.
UNHCR itself in 2009 signed a secession clause that was to take effect in 2018. That meant all Rwandan refugees were to lose refugee status by then, because all the conditions that made anyone flee no longer existed in Rwanda. There was no war, no ethnic strife, no discrimination and other things like that.
The UN through UNHCR – the UN agency for refugees – had verified those facts after exhaustive, on site investigations. All Rwandans were supposed to go back home.
But instead the Museveni government, on its own, decided to ignore UNHCR’s recommendations. Also, the Kampala regime refused to assist in the orderly repatriation of Rwandan refugees.
Probably they did not want “the cake to be reduced”.
“The asylum space is not closed for Rwandan asylum seekers,” said Hillary Onek the Uganda Minister of Disaster Preparedness. Yet he did not explain whether he thought there was any reason any Rwandan should fear to go back home.
The second purpose why the Kampala regime does not want refugee status for Rwandans to end is because camps are good recruitment grounds for RNC terrorists.
The government of President Museveni, more specifically his intelligence services have been proven to be working hand in hand with RNC.
They recruit fighters within refugee camps whom they transport to training camps in Minembwe, DR Congo.
Such anti-Rwanda cross-border movements – with masterminds in Bujumbura reportedly coordinating recruitment for the terrorist RNC as well – have been detailed in an exhaustively investigated report by the UN Group of Experts of the Congo. It was released on 31 December, just the preceding year.
RNC led by Kayumba Nyamwasa, it is well-known, wants to bring war and instability back to Rwanda.
Incidents of recruits travelling to Minembwe, DRC, from refugee camps in Uganda using fake papers – provided by chieftaincy of Military Intelligence – have been reported in regional media.
“Therefore it is not surprising that Uganda (through manipulation of UNHCR) is now encouraging more Rwandans to become refugees,” said an analyst.
“Forget about repatriating Rwandan refugees, they are too useful for President Museveni and his various partners!”