Dear Madam Speaker,
I write to you as a concerned citizen and knowledgeable enough to make a point before the House, based on the fact that for the last two years I have ardently followed the issues between our country and Rwanda, as they evolved to the current standoff.
Members, the issues between Uganda and Rwanda are not new to the House, they have been raised several times, went unanswered most of the time, or were just taken “at face value”. I am convinced the “corridor discussions” have been intense though informal. I will stick to facts in this letter.
Back in 2017, Rwanda raised red flags complaining that there are rebel groups that are operating here, planning to attack Rwanda.
Let’s recall that, as Rwanda kept raising concerns of increasing number of dissidents in Uganda, the latter (RNC terrorists) were building an even stronger base, even working closely with our intelligence organs. Not long after, reports of Rwandans being kidnapped in several parts of Uganda started emerging.
Madam Speaker, hadn’t it been for indisputable evidence, we could still have ignored these reports. But the evidence – including images and videos of tortured Rwandans – was the most convincing there can be.
For most of us who are keen geopolitical observers we picked interest into the matter. We saw how the police intercepted close to 50 Rwandan in a bus around Kikagati as they headed to DRC, through the Tanzania.
Honorable Members, these people had been recruited by a Rwandese dissident group known as Rwanda National Congress. When interrogated, these people revealed that they were heading for military training, and the mission was to attack Rwanda.
This happened around December 2017. But by June these people were let free. They proceeded to DRC but some of them ended up in the hands of the UN force in Congo revealing the involvement of CMI.
Then there is the issue of the many arrests of Rwandans on accusation that they are spies. Many of these people have spoken to the media and revealed gruesome torture and prolonged detentions in CMI cells. On an honest note, this is provocation against another state. Some of the Rwandans are too young, others are as old as 76 years of age but our security organs have labeled them spies. Really who uses a 70 year-old man as a spy?
I would wish to inform the House that these people have also revealed that they normally leave many other Rwandan in several cells where they have been detained.
Although the Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa and the Government Spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo have denied the existence of Rwandans in detention facilities, we can’t shy away from saying that their comments are intentionally false. We have seen a pattern of “Whenever Rwanda complains Uganda releases some Rwanda”.
Honorable Members, isn’t this proof that our authorities are covered in a blanket of lies?
I have no doubt that the House is more conversant with what the laws provide for when it comes to arrested individuals. A suspect has a right to fair trial, to family and counselor visitations, and torture is by law illegal. We violated all these.
Time has come for you Honorable members to conscientiously stand up against this abuse of innocent citizens of a neighbor country.
These issues of trade disruptions, Rwandan dissidents on our land, and arrests, harassments and torture of Rwandan nationals are very pertinent, and affect our image on the global arena. But these are issues that can be handled. We have lived with Rwandans in harmony for decades; we can’t afford to lose them. Not now not ever.
I strongly believe the House will continue scrutinizing this issue to its roots and advise the Executive appropriately.
Charles Kamya Ssentamu