By Alex Muhumuza
The most tireless purveyor of anti-Rwanda misinformation, Chimpreports – a website under the control of Brig. CK Asiimwe, the deputy director of Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI – yesterday, Thursday, published an article claiming that “Rwanda had relaxed it’s travel ban”. Therefore, it added, “there was an influx of Rwandans into Uganda.”
Chimpreports then proceeded to claim that, “as a result the Ugandan army, UPDF, was moving “to re-enforce border deployment.”
But every knowledgeable person knows it is a barefaced lie to claim there is any Rwandan illegally crossing to Uganda – no matter how many times Kampala’s tools of misinformation repeat it. Rwandans have heeded their authorities advice to avoid travel to Uganda, for over a year now, because of real dangers of persecution and torture at the hands of Ugandan security forces.
Or maybe Chimpreports means UPDF is deploying more in the hope of finding innocent Rwandans that live in Ugandan border communities, to abduct and deliver them to CMI torture dungeons, laughed observers in Kigali. “Anyway it is Ugandan territory, they can camp wherever they want, but not with lies,” added one.
Chimpreports’ brief from its CMI masters however is to relentlessly turn facts on their head, and scapegoat Rwanda for every Ugandan regime problems.
That is what all CMI-paid propagandists have been doing for instance when they attempt to blame crime waves in Uganda upon Rwanda, yet crime is the result of Kampala regime failures to ensure the safety and security of Ugandans, so crime rates keep going up.
The Chimpreports articles attempting to tarnish Rwandans with the slander that they are spreading Coronavirus into Uganda fall under this rubric – to smear Rwanda for problems of their doing. “President Museveni as a preventive measure against the spread of Coronavirus, directed the closure of all borders to stop possible entry of foreigners with the virus into the country,” said its article.
But such steps were taken by other governments in the region even before Museveni, so the propagandist website is making a redundant claim.
All governments are taking steps to safeguard their citizens; it is just childish for some to claim they are guarding against citizens of other countries, though those very states already have taken strong measures to protect their citizens, anyone will point out.
Seemingly unaware that it is making easily debunked claims, Chimpreports continues: “However, because Rwanda has registered a larger number of Coronavirus cases than Uganda, Rwandans are continuing to flee into the country (Uganda).”
Rwanda has been in a lockdown close to two weeks – as one of the most effective ways to combat the spread of COVID-19. Only Chimpreports in this world claims to know how people that are obeying advice to stay in their houses, for their own safety, at the same time are moving about “to go to Uganda”. This is yet one Kampala falsehood they won’t stop peddling, however much it is exposed.
Those in the know say the talk about “UPDF deploying along the border” supposedly to stop Rwandans from entering Uganda derives from another line of propaganda that’s already badly failed: the so-called “border closure” narrative. It began last year, at the beginning of March, when Kigali issued a strong advisory against her citizens crossing to Uganda.
Rwanda laid the reasons out: Ugandan security agencies, CMI at the foremost, had been abducting or arbitrarily arresting Rwandan nationals. They had illegally been detaining them in the dungeons and safe houses of Ugandan intelligence agencies, or in police stations, as well as in various prisons. Rwandans arrested and detained this way all the time were held incommunicado, and – contrary to international conventions – none ever was given the right to consular visits.
Kigali protested these incidents through diplomatic channels; then later moved to protect her citizens with the travel advisory. Soon Ugandan authorities were loudly complaining that “Rwanda was restricting freedom of trade”. That is when Ugandan media began pushing the narrative that “Rwanda had closed the border”.
But if Uganda was so bent on persecuting and mistreating Rwandans – which its security agencies did on behalf of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC as part of efforts to forcefully recruit able-bodied people into RNC; or to torture them to glean any information about Rwanda; or to rob them of their money and property – then Uganda should forget all about Rwanda as a market for its goods. That was according to Rwandan authorities.
After Kigali’s points became better understood, even by ordinary Ugandans however the “border-closure” narrative was doomed to failure.
It is the same failure that the misinformation that “Rwandans are spreading COVID-19 in Uganda” will face. Everyone knows the “super-spreaders” of Coronavirus into Uganda are Ugandans coming from abroad, mainly from Dubai and entering through Entebbe Airport.
Most people know the role corruption has played in enabling the spread of COVID-19 into Uganda. One outraged Ugandan traveller that was at Entebbe but couldn’t leave posted a video of himself, and scores of others he was stranded with at the airport on 19 last month.
In the video the man, who didn’t give his names, said: “I am here with fellow passengers but we can’t leave. We have been told we can’t enter because of Coronavirus; yet there are several people we’ve arrived with that have already left. It means if “you know people” you can easily leave. In fact we also know some of these people have been paying certain officials!” asserted the man with outrage.
“It is just corruption, and nothing else,” a young woman he was with interjected angrily.
Newspapers and TV stations have published or broadcast stories that show how corruption has contributed to hundreds of people leaving Entebbe without either getting tested or quarantined. Daily Monitor in an article published on 26 the preceding month quoted Dr. Henry Mwebesa – the Director General of Health Services in Uganda’s Ministry of Health – who said up to 574 individuals had travelled to Dubai for a period of two weeks.
These had left without getting screened or quarantined for COVID-19.
Incidents were told of senior NRM personalities; and of senior UPDF brass coming to the airport, picking family members, relatives, friends or business partners and simply driving away as none would dare stop them. Social media commentators recounted numerous tales of bribery – the going rate was US$ 1400 – to airport officials to enter the country untested. That included foreigners like the 40 Chinese nationals that left Entebbe early in March and made their way to an apartment building in Naguru in Kampala. Two of them have since reportedly tested positive for COVID-19.
However hard Chimpreports and others try to smear Rwanda, people know the real culprit for the spread COVID-19 into Uganda is the Kampala regime, any sober person will point out.