A report in the Daily Monitor of Monday this week under the headline, “Uganda seizes minerals smuggled to Rwanda”, makes several claims implying unrestrained cross-border smuggling that Kigali authorities find completely fabricated.
The article claims that Ugandan police “impounded at least a ton of minerals at Mirama on Uganda, Rwanda Border”. The newspaper says smugglers methodology includes transporting the minerals – tin is the one most mentioned in the article – on bicycles, with the items “disguised as maize grains”.
The story centres around the Zanack Holding Mining Company of Ruhama in Ntungamo District from which, it is claimed, the tin allegedly smuggled into Rwanda originates. Daily Monitor claims that the police raid also included officials of Uganda Revenue Authority and that when they “searched the items that were being ferried into Rwanda on bicycles they discovered that the packages contained minerals.”
The articles weave a picture of criminal smuggling activity that Rwandan authorities find incompatible with the way things are done in their country. “The kind of lawlessness described in the newspaper (Daily Monitor) is only intended to tarnish Rwanda’s image,” a border security official told this news website.
“Rwanda takes a very strong stance against the crime, and one can be sure even the porous routes and ungazetted border crossings are very well monitored,” he added. “So it is just not the case that anyone is smuggling minerals, or anything else, into Rwanda.”
It is reported that smugglers of all kinds of items – and not only minerals – have had a very hard time with their illegal activities in recent years in Rwanda. A lot of smugglers have been intercepted and made answerable by the law, and tons of their contraband have been impounded.
The smuggling activity the Ugandan newspaper describes is the kind that Rwanda security organs have vigorously tackled to an extent that at porous border points it has virtually come to an end. “It is totally unlikely that groups of people can somehow ride a bicycle anywhere from the Ugandan side and illegally carry minerals into Rwanda!” said a Rwanda Revenue Official.
There is the possibility, however, analysts say, that Daily Monitor – which has proved to be a conduit of anti-Rwanda propaganda by Kampala – is once again acting as a conduit for smears against Rwanda. The country has earned a reputation as one where the rule of law is paramount.
This good reputation, according to observers, is one that the Kampala regime has worked hard – among other things – to dismantle.
An examination of the story nowhere delves into specifics such as: who in Rwanda could be buying these little quantities of smuggled tin – by men supposedly riding on bicycles and others carrying it on their heads?!
It is baffling, just like so many other things that Ugandan misinformation organs try to peddle about Rwanda.