Before the ink had dried on the extradition treaty signed by both Uganda and Rwanda in the presence of the heads of state of Angola and DRC, Ugandan president Museveni was saying things to deliberately undermine it. Among other things he falsely asserted that, “he is not aware of the presence of anti-Rwanda forces in Uganda”.
The Ugandan ruler made this and other claims in Kabale on the evening of last Friday 21 in a speech that was reported by Kampala propaganda media – like the Ugandan Military Intelligence (CMI) sponsored Chimpreports.
It was astonishing to many when they read the Ugandan president’s words, which he uttered the very day his own government’s mouthpiece, The New Vision ran a front page story with a big headline: “UGANDA CANCELS RWANDA DISSIDENT’S PASSPORT”. The person in question is Charlotte Mukankusi – a Rwandan citizen and senior official of Kayumba Nyamwasa’s terror group RNC – who has been travelling on a Ugandan passport as RNC’s “commissioner of diplomacy”.
Rwandan Twitter quickly sent out images of Mukankusi’s passport, tagging Museveni’s Twitter handle. Many were reminding him of the time in March last year when reports surfaced that he had met her and Eugene Gasana, another RNC bigwig, at Entebbe State House. Caught red-handed Museveni had publicly admitted he indeed met the two, but that “he met them ‘accidentally’”.
Yet now the Ugandan ruler is claiming he knows nothing of anti-Rwanda groups in Uganda. People have been laughing with incredulity at what they call “childish lies by a grown man; a ruler no less!”
President Museveni issued his latest denials only a few hours after conclusion of the Fourth Quadripartite Summit that among other things recommended that, “Uganda should within one month verify the allegations of Rwanda about actions from Ugandan territory of forces hostile to the Government of Rwanda.”
Despite Museveni’s claims, Kampala is known to host and facilitate in various ways a legion of anti-Rwanda groups with the mutual goal of destabilizing the neighbor state.
The main one of these is RNC, which has deep tentacles within the Ugandan ruling establishment, as well as within the country’s security apparatus – not mentioning business partnerships with top Ugandan military brass such as Museveni’s brother Gen. Salim Saleh. So when Museveni denies knowledge of RNC, instead claiming it is a result of “quarrels within the Rwandan military”, Rwandans do not know whether to laugh or cry.
Facts are abundant that RNC has been a Museveni project from day one.
It is something the Ugandan ruler started clandestinely in the nineties. The long-term plan was to use Kayumba Nyamwasa to implement “regime change in Kigali”, after which Nyamwasa would be Museveni’s willing puppet. It didn’t work, and when Rwandan authorities’ investigations were zeroing in on Nyamwasa, he bolted. Just like Karegeya would.
With Ugandan help they went to South Africa to conduct their terrorist activities from there.
Leaders of RNC are on the record, in newspapers and on their propaganda radio stations such as “Itahuka” declaring violent war on Rwanda. RNC has perpetrated grenade attacks in Rwanda that between 2010 – 14 killed 17 innocent people and injured up to 400 hundred. When in the course of investigations suspects were apprehended, they pointed to Kampala as the source of coordination for the attacks.
Another of the networks hosted by Kampala is RUD-Urunana, a splinter group of the genocidal FDLR – a group that in Uganda has set up its roots in Kisoro District where its leaders are particularly welcomed, hosted, and their transportation facilitated. The man most actively involved with RUD-Urunana activities is Philemon Mateke, a cabinet minister in Museveni’s government.
Regional analysts lament that this anti-Rwanda belligerence on the part of Museveni also has spill over effects into neighbor countries. In DRC for instance the Museveni-backed illegal armed groups – including FDLR and different splinter groups, in addition to RNC, FLN and a string of others under the so-called “P5” grouping – have for years wreaked havoc on civilian populations.
All that is a direct consequence of Museveni meddling, many have no doubt.
In Ugandan, the intelligence services most notably CMI are chockfull of RNC agents. These work hand in hand persecuting innocent Rwandans, harassing them with illegal arrests, detention, and torture. Many Rwandan victims have told how they were abducted, held incommunicado, and physically abused by people that spoke fluent Kinyarwanda – within the CMI run torture facilities.
The mission of these is to forcefully recruit their victims into RNC as rebel fighters, or as contributors of funds and materiel.
To those that know Museveni, his claims that there are no anti-Rwanda armed groups in the face of all this evidence are very much consistent with his character and someone that lies even about easily provable things.
According to sources within Uganda, Museveni’s false claims in Kabale Town were caused by two things: shame and embarrassment. He had promised Ugandans that he would ‘get the border opened’, so when that did not happen he was deeply embarrassed. He immediately smeared Rwanda. His claims that Kigali is “falsely accusing Uganda of hosting anti-Rwanda elements”, was an attempt, “to deflect from his shame.”
Eyewitnesses say that at Kabale – which has been hit hard due to serious loss of business as Rwandan customers and trading partners stay away because of the Ugandan regime’s abuses against innocent Rwandans – angry crowds were taking Museveni to task. They were grilling him with questions: “you said the border was going to open, yet it is not!”
In further characteristic deflection of blame upon others for problems he himself created, Museveni also tweeted: “My sympathies go out to the citizens of Uganda and Rwanda that have been affected by the closure of the Katuna Border. I call upon you to be patient as we pursue a lasting solution. I am very optimistic that the truth will come out because the NRM Government stands for truth!”
With this statement Museveni absolved himself of all responsibility for the fact there is an impasse at the border – which in fact isn’t closed; the reality being that Rwanda has placed a restriction on Ugandan commerce and goods, but Ugandans and everyone else (other than Rwandans) come and go as they please.
Rwanda has repeatedly said there can be no free movement of trade if there is no free movement of people. “In fact it is Uganda, through the acts of its security authorities of gross violations of the rights of Rwandans, that has caused “border closure” as they like to call it,” Rwandan authorities say.
In other words, Rwandan citizens cannot be mistreated to the extent they have, and then Uganda thinks it can have access to the Rwandan market. Also, Uganda cannot cavort with RNC, FDLR, FLN and the likes, and expect to go on exporting its goods to Rwanda. “In that case they can trade with RNC and FDLR; not Rwanda!” said vocal Twitter account Mwene Kalinda.
The same Twitteratti took issue with Museveni’s “taking it upon himself to speak on behalf or Rwandans”, in his tweet.
“Rwandans are very okay; they have food security; they do not need Museveni to speak on their behalf,” was the indignant response. “Let Museveni speak on behalf of Ugandans for whom he’s already caused so many problems!” was another comment.
Museveni in talking to the Kabale residents also uttered an anti-Rwandan slander common within his regime: that detained Rwandans – whom Kigali endlessly has complained of their arbitrarily arrests and detentions – are criminals.
The Ugandan ruler seems to think everyone can easily forget that none of these people is ever tried in court. Their abductors never produce proof to back their accusations. Whenever a Rwandan is abducted and Kigali’s High Commissioner in Kampala writes a note verbale to Ugandan authorities, they simply ignore him.
How then can Museveni – and all his media propagandists – keep tarnishing people, saying they are criminals yet there never is a minimum of due process when they are detained?
It is a question that Kampala, and all its mouthpieces never answer.