By Patience Kirabo
Ugandan government-sponsored propaganda and misinformation outlets, watchdoguganda.com and Chimpreports this Tuesday, July 14, have published an identical story claiming that “Rwandan patients have been overwhelming Ugandan health centers along the Uganda, Rwanda border.” They go on to claim “this was before Kigali barred her citizens from crossing into Uganda.”
A cursory examination of the article shows that it was, word for word, the same in both Watchdoguganda.com and Chimpreports, two websites known to be under the control of Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI) deputy director in charge of counterterrorism, Brig. CK Asiimwe. “It was clear the writer of this piece of misinformation was one, probably sitting in a CMI office before sending it to the editors of watchdog and Chimpreports,” laughed a media analyst.
The article quoted Darius Nandinda, the Kabale RDC saying that “before Rwanda closed the border with Uganda ‘Rwandans living with HIV would cross to Uganda to receive their ARV’s from their Health Centers’.”
According to analysts of the CMI-overseen campaign of propaganda and smears against Rwanda, the first sign of the dirty nature of this campaign is the deliberate use of HIV/Aids as a smear against Rwandan citizens. “We all know what the Ugandan propagandists are doing with this false but deliberate tarnishing of Rwandans.
“They are even shameless, HIV has largely been tamed as a disease, so it is very cheap of these Ugandans – whose country has been one of the hardest hit in the past – to imagine they are ‘shaming Rwandans’ with such lies,” said a reader.
On the other hand, it is a matter of record that Rwanda is a country with a healthcare system that is envied throughout Africa. “It shows how badly hit by border closure these Ugandans are that everything they say, and every lie they tell has to involve “border closure”, said Theoneste Gatsinzi, a social media commentator.
Regarding Nandinda’s claims that Rwandans are crossing to receive free ARVs from Uganda, “why couldn’t the man at least try to find a better lie?” commentators asked. In Rwanda, every health center caters to citizens, who all have the Mutuelle de Santé health insurance, and ARVs are almost free of charge for anyone in need of them. “So, why would anyone need to go to Uganda where health centers or hospitals that appear in the media look very dilapidated and falling apart?” readers asked.
In fact, things are the other way round; it is Ugandans from border communities that flock into Rwanda looking for health services.
That is documented with facts, rather than propaganda.
In 2014, for instance, residents of Ntungamo Districts issued a loud cry, demanding to “be returned to Rwanda.” The people were saying since it was impossible to get any services in their own country, the best thing for them would be for Ntungamo to become part of Rwanda. “Residents say they have been denied medical, schools, water and agricultural services, yet they can easily access them in Rwanda,” reported the Daily Monitor’s Perez Rumanzi in an article published on 7 February, 2014.
“We are tired of paying taxes to the Ugandan Government but never getting anything good from that government!” shouted one after another of the good citizens of Ntungamo.
It was reported that Kampala had to deploy heavy military presence in the District to scare the people into silence.
One of Nandinda’s other claims is that “when Rwanda closed her borders, ‘citizens couldn’t dare cross into Uganda as they would be shot dead upon being arrested’.”
But this too is another false claim. “The only people breaking the law through use of illegal, ungazetted crossing points while smuggling are Ugandans; so what is Nandinda saying?” a Rwandan border official asked.
Analysts say the border issue is a constant pain to Ugandan regime officials and they come up with all these fictitious tales, mainly to make themselves somehow feel better.
One of the NRM officials quoted in the Chimpreports, watchdoguganda.com article, Ndorwa Constituency NRM Chairperson Grace Bekunda, is up for re-election, “She uses anti-Rwanda misinformation, that Rwandans are crossing to Uganda for medicine. But it can’t work; people have eyes!” said a source in Kabale, Uganda.