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In Future When Rwanda And Uganda Become Good Friends Again

by Ignatius R. Kabagambe
12:16 am

President Paul Kagame(Front Left) and First Lady Jeannette Kagame in a visit to Uganda, 2012

The governments of Rwanda and Uganda have openly been at loggerheads. Rwanda accuses Uganda of working with armed political rebel groups intent on overthrowing the administration in Kigali. Uganda on the other hand holds Rwanda responsible for acts of espionage which it says are conducted on its soil.

When it comes to information gathering for sovereignty purposes, Rwanda runs rings around Uganda. This irritates Kampala big time. In retaliatory actions also aimed at stopping the one way information leakage, their people swing into haphazard operations that lead to grave and embarrassing mistakes.

The Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Uganda’s security information aggregator organ, throws a wide net that ends up catching very many innocent Rwandans in their country. It is their modus operandi. Basically they see every Rwandan on the street, in the grazing fields, in the airport terminal, or wherever, as a potential spy not to be taken for granted.

This creates for Uganda problem number two with Rwanda, besides and linked to the support for rebels. While hospitable Rwanda treats with esteem every dignified Ugandan visitor to or resident in the country like other people from the rest of the world, in Uganda to the contrary, Rwandans are viewed quite suspiciously. People wonder how Rwanda is able to easily behave calmly in the face of Ugandans in the country despite the prevailing bilateral political tensions, but in similar regard to Rwandans across the border, Uganda fails miserably in the act! Why can’t Uganda hold?

To a neutral observer the answer to the above question is that government of Uganda lives under constant fear of what might happen. Analysts intimate that the random mistreatment of Rwandans is a natural result of severe inefficiency to the point of near malfunction by the country’s intelligence machinery. God forbid.

Whereas in Kigali systems for background information check are thorough in a sense they leave no room for error, the equivalent means employed in Kampala are so unsophisticated, ending up giving blurred un-detailed data about persons under search. In such circumstances their game plan becomes blanket conduct. They would rather suspect and victimize everybody just in case one person among the many was untrustworthy. In other words, rather than risk trusting them all and possibly let that one unwanted individual in, they will opt for mishandling the collective.

It is a long time ago when President Yoweri Museveni’s government ceased to care whether 99 innocent people could be victimized out of failure to separate from the 100 a single potentially wrong character. That is how grand inefficiency can breed unimaginable fear for the unknown.

And that is the difference between the two country’s systems – efficiency. Yet the ineptitude Kampala suffers from can be cured by someone already on their payroll, albeit hired for the bad job. Himbara David, for once, if he could focus on the various smart attributes accruing to President Kagame, his cosy relationship with President Museveni would positively impact his methods of work. Having worked in Kigali for seven years, Himbara certainly knows a thing about what makes Rwanda tick. Unfortunately he wastes it all under the smear-Rwanda addiction.

Pinpoint efficiency in security matters is one thing Kampala will do well to copy from Kigali in future when Rwanda and Uganda become good friends again. Coordination of plans as well as harmonization of intentions will be the other. For instance in Uganda it is quite common to find different security organs working as though they are either opposed or unrelated to each other.

Ugandan soldiers after arresting 200 Rwandans on baseless allegations in November 2019

The way it works is that Uganda Police will arrest wrong doers in the morning and by evening CMI will be high handedly intervening to have them released. This was exactly the case with six RUD-URUNANA recruiting agents arrested in Kakumiro of central Uganda three days ago. While Police had on Monday done the right thing by apprehending them after they were caught engaging in unlawful activities, the heavy weights of CMI easily got them freed the next day on Tuesday. Talk about stumbling on the right thing only to quickly realize it was by mistake because your brief is to always be on the wrong side of procedure when it comes to Rwanda related affairs.

Again on Tuesday morning October 19, Ndayishimiye Aimable and Kabahizi Mary, both Rwandan students of Bugema University in Uganda, were wrongly arrested in Mbarara. The 2nd Division intelligence officers stopped the two while on their way to Rwanda and had them detained in Mankenke army barracks on the outskirts of Mbarara town. Both of them had valid travel documents which they obtained from Rwanda High Commission in Kampala. Later in the day they were released, after the victims had suffered psychological torture and travel schedule disruption. The Ugandan security apparatus on its part had managed to consolidate its place among the least coordinated lot in the world.  

Vice-Chancellor Dr. Muganga Lawrence of Victoria University

It is systemic failure. A few weeks ago the whole world witnessed a fiasco unfold in operation execution, brought to us by Ugandan security. Vice-Chancellor Dr. Muganga Lawrence(in the picture) of Victoria University in the heart of Kampala was violently arrested in a so-called joint operation. It is said CMI, the Army and Police were all involved. The VC’s bodyguard who put on a gallant show of resistance to the arrest was a Uganda Policewoman. Yet no body had either alerted her to the impending arrest, or better still secure her command cooperation at the scene of arrest when time came. What ensued was dramatic. It eventually resulted in one of the most bizarre actions of the Uganda government. Many hours later, President Museveni acting as a ‘true’ Commander in Chief ordered for Dr. Muganga’s release. But the question which up to now remains hanging is: in Uganda’s security, is there not a thing like consultation and subsequent approval ahead of action, and not the other way round?

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