By Robert Rutoma
At this stage, only the good Lord knows whether the Ugandan regime will ever take steps to respect the Luanda MoU, signed by the heads of state of Rwanda and Uganda as part of mediation efforts to re-normalize relations. One of the main issues agreed upon was to stop the harassment, torture, or mistreatment in any way of each other’s nationals.
But in the first place this was just polite, diplomatic language that struck a middle ground. Rwanda has never harassed, physically abused, or deprived a single Ugandan of his or her rights.
It is Uganda, and it’s security agents that have been hunting Rwandan nationals to throw them into dungeons with accusations – never substantiated – of “espionage”, “illegal weapons possession” and others that are mere, false justifications to inflict torture on innocent Rwandans. This kind of thing was supposed to have come to an end by now.
It hasn’t. The story of the six Rwandans recently dumped at Kagitumba by Ugandan authorities shows its security organs aren’t about to stop arbitrary arrests, detention, and torture Rwandans that they accuse of things like “espionage” for which they never show evidence. These are always concocted accusations. For instance, Olivier Bikino, one of the six was abducted in Entebbe while only going about his work. On 24th September CMI agents in civilian attire abducted him in the Entebbe area, and forcefully dragged him away without producing any arrest warrant.
They dumped him at the border without any charges. They have ruined his life, just like they’ve done to all the others. He has lost his job, and has to start anew. Others have lost businesses and property.
It says a lot about Kampala’s unbending intentions to destabilize the security of Rwanda that it continues to violate international law in such a manner.
The six dumped men, like hundreds of Rwandans before them that have seen the inside of those dungeons, recount horrific tales of the torture taking place there.
According to the testimonies of the group, once abducted one’s freedom depends mainly on acceptance to join RNC. Resistance to be recruited attracts automatic torture that includes electrocutions, water boarding, and emersion in ice baths. The lucky ones will be released, then dumped at the border.
The Quadripartite Summit at Gatuna/Katuna in February this year among other things resolved to release the national citizens of each country duly identified and included in the lists exchanged. Also both parties were to refrain from all factors that may create the perception of supporting, financing, training, and infiltration of destabilizing forces in their neighbour’s territory. The president of Angola was there. As was DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi.
It is testimony to Kampala’s commitment to instability in the region that since then, it instead has gone ahead to re-organize and revitalize Kayumba Nyamwasa’s RNC, despite progress eradicating this terror group from its jungle bases in DRC by mid last year.
Only the good Lord indeed knows whether Kampala will ever commit to peace, and cooperation in the region!
But as long as the Ugandan president still has his pipe dreams of destabilizing Rwanda, Kampala will keep violating international agreements, laws, and norms.