By Michael Kisseka
We’ve been witnessing media crossfire between Uganda and Rwanda for months.
Yet the president of Uganda has not come up to speak to Ugandans about the serious allegations raised by Rwanda, including accusations pinning him for supporting terrorist groups meant to wage war on Rwanda as one of the most burning issues. Another is the constant illegal arrests, incarceration, torture and other injustices Rwanda accuses Ugandan security agencies of inflicting on innocent Rwandan nationals in Uganda.
These are very serious issues raised by a neighboring country that will not move its borders any time soon. We shall always be neighbors with Rwanda whether we like it or not, regardless who is leading Uganda. This is all the reason that Uganda must always maintain good neighborliness along our common borders.
Let me share this untold story that happened in 1999. A neighboring head of state visited Museveni and, amid a press conference at State House in Nakasero, the chair of his guest broke and he fell down.
Museveni quickly told members of the press, “What has happened is not part of the press conference and I am asking you not to write about it or show the pictures on your televisions, or else I confiscate all your gadgets!” The media guys complied and nothing was reported, saving Museveni and his protocol team enormous embarrassment.
The media in Uganda especially the government owned New Vision is openly hosting interviews with Kayumba Nyamwasa, head of the anti-Rwanda rebel group RNC, Tribert Rujugiro, said to be its chief financier, and its de-facto spokesman David Himbara. Even when the New Vision knows very well that these people belong to a terrorist organization that’s bent on taking war to Rwanda.
RNC has in the past years been responsible for grenade attacks in Kigali that killed several people, as anyone that follows regional news knows.
Museveni cannot claim that he does not know what his government media is doing. If he were against it he would have stopped this open provocation to our neighboring country, just as he stopped the media in 1999 from writing a story that would embarrass him.
The continued sanitizing of Rwandan dissidents by the Ugandan media is in the open, for every Ugandan to see that this means full support of what the terror group – evidence points to the fact it is a terror group – is planning against Rwanda.
The arrests – more like abductions actually – torture, and many other abuses of the rights of Rwandans on allegations that they are spying on Uganda cheapen our intelligence organs. Also, to mention the obvious, jailing people incommunicado and torturing them is against the most basic human rights.
Any suspected wrongdoer normally is arraigned before courts of law and charged for the offences they are accused of. That simply never happens with all the Rwandans unfortunate enough to fall into the hands of our agencies.
On the other hand, recruitment of Rwandans in Uganda to join RNC rebels has been confirmed by many; even the Ugandan media showed a group of 46 individuals that were arrested on the Tanzanian border on their way through Burundi to RNC training camps in Congo.
Ugandan passports are being issued to Rwandan rebels and our Ugandan investigative media – which are very active on other matters of less public interest – has done no investigation at immigration to find out how the passports get approved, and who gives the orders.
Ofwono Opondo is simply a disgrace when he denies the obvious, like an ostrich burying its head in the sand! The serial numbers of the Uganda passport issued to RNC official Charlotte Mukankusi have been verified as authentic.
Has Uganda under Museveni stooped so low to start provoking our neighbors, probably as a diversionary tactic to deflect blame from his many massive failures as custodian of the Ugandan state – runaway corruption, insecurity that is reaching tipping point, and a young population yearning to see the end of him?
As a Ugandan I felt President Museveni completely lost moral authority to talk about corruption, or to lead Uganda when he was implicated in a high corruption case in a US courtroom that convicted former Hong Kong Home Affairs Minister Patrick Ho Chi-Ping. The man was found guilty of offering a US$ 500,000 bribe to Museveni, and a similar amount to Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa.
Has our Uganda simply become a rogue state and a den of thieving leaders?
While the world is condoling with Rwanda during remembrance of the Genocide against the Tutsi 25 years ago, the film 100 days, and others that depict this gruesome episode in the country’s history, has been banned in Uganda. Why? The answer is clear.
If Museveni instructed Philemon Mateke, his Minister of State for Regional Affairs, to receive and offer VIP protocol to top FDRL commanders – the same people that committed the Genocide – this means that in the eyes of Museveni these are good people. Therefore movies showing the facts of what they did, killing over a million innocent people, are to be censured since they embarrass his friends!
Additionally, it is established that Mateke happens to be a father in-law to a genocide suspect who is on the run.
Now one can begin to connect the dots how our government is infiltrated by Rwandan fugitives and terrorist group leaders.
Recycling the Kisangani fight between Uganda and Rwanda in the Ugandan media does not add value to what Ugandans need to know. The prisoners of war that Rwanda showed in the media gave us enough information on who started the fight.
Gen. Kazini, Noble Mayombo and Aronda Nyakairima who knew well the mistakes committed by UPDF have been eliminated.
The claims by some in Ugandan high circles of “Rwandan aggression” against Uganda are meant to stage revenge for badly losing the Kisangani battles, and hence the alliance with Rwandan fugitives, and those committed to terror against the neighbors.
What is happening in our country is absurd and I wonder where this regime of Museveni is taking us.
Uganda has become like a one-man property, with the rest of us mere onlookers with no say in its affairs. The corruption scandals involving Museveni, his brother Salim Saleh and members of his close family are unending.
We remain silent in the face of all this. Just as Museveni remains silent in face of serious accusations by Rwanda!
Museveni hurriedly and unprofessionally promoted his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba up the UPDF hierarchy, leaving seasoned combatants far below him. He has divided the UPDF by creating a privileged army of Bahima associated with his family who are given better, and far more privileges than the rest of the army. Many still live in appalling conditions in makeshift grass huts, the so-called mama ingia poles!
Museveni’s relatives and cronies swindle billions in taxpayer money. Blatant rent-seeking behavior in lucrative sectors like oil drilling, or in the alleged revamping of Uganda airlines only further enriches the Museveni clan, which already is dripping with stolen wealth.
Museveni does not care about the majority of Ugandans. Only his children and grandchildren matter to him, as he himself told us not very long ago.
But we are silent. Just as Museveni is silent on an embarrassing letter he wrote to Kagame, whereby even the lowest thinking creature wonders how a head of state accidentally meets Rwandan fugitives at his State House!
Many Ugandans still are waiting to hear from Museveni’s own mouth offering explanations for the current bad blood between Kampala and Kigali.
As a leader, accountability to the people is an obligation rather than a request.