Just when the people in Rwanda and in Uganda were beginning to sleep easy hoping that the dispute between the two countries was soon coming to an end, Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) throws a bomb in the peace process, that leaders of both countries, Presidents Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni have been working to achieve.
With the mediation of Joao Lourenco, President of Angola and his Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi, the two leaders signed the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding, in Luanda Angola in September 2019, committing to restore peace between their two countries.
The timing couldn’t have been better for the CMI to send out its message, clearly announcing to the world that Uganda is not as serious about resolving the conflict as they would want the world to believe.
Two news headlines in one day by a Ugandan newspaper publication capture what Uganda’s intelligence organization is communicating.
On Saturday February 8th 2020, Uganda’s Daily Monitor run a front page story “Ministers meet ahead of Museveni, Kagame meeting”.
The story was about the meeting between Rwanda’s minister of infrastructure, Claver Gatete and Uganda’s works and transport minister Gen. Katumba Wamala, held at the Gatuna border, where presidents Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni have confirmed they will meet on February 21, 2020, as they seek to work out a sustainable solution to the conflict which has led to the escalation of tensions between the two countries.
Within hours, the Daily Monitor run yet another story, “Detained Rwandan National found dead”.
The newspaper went on to report that the victim was picked by CMI operatives in Mbarara in March 2019.
“Emmanuel Mageza, a Rwandan national who was allegedly arrested by Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) operatives in Mbarara district, is dead”.
Probably the most telling detail of Mageza’s death is the fact that not a single Ugandan official including those intimately associated with his demise is prepared to be quoted in the media.
Never mind the fact that, the police chief of criminal investigations at Butabika Hospital outside whose premises Mageza’s body was found, wrote to a police surgeon to carry out a postmortem, Patrick Onyango, Uganda police spokesperson, who confirmed that the police were called in after the body was found outside the ward, said he didn’t know what happened.
Then the executive director of the hospital Dr. David Basangwa said he couldn’t comment because he was conveniently “attending a funeral”.
Major Charles Kabona, the spokesperson of Makindye military barracks, where Emmanuel Magezi’s torture on his way to death began, claimed he “wasn’t in office”.
Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) media point man, Brig. Richard Karemire, couldn’t talk to the media pleading that “he doesn’t know anything about the matter”.
Emmanuel Mageza like many other Rwandans was a victim of Uganda’s CMI policy that has over the years, targeted innocent Rwandans for torture and murder.
The intelligence agency tortured Mr. Mageza to a point where the only way to cover up the crime was to dump him at a mental hospital, where they were pretty sure he would die.
The intention here is clear. The CMI staged the scene seeking to convince the public that Mageza was a madman admitted at the hospital where he later died.
Much as Butabika hospital has been left holding the bag, it is equally evident that they are in the dark much as everybody else. Except, of course, the perpetrators.
Indeed, Mageza would have been deemed disappeared like many Rwandan victims, if it wasn’t for the determination and diligence of his lawyer, Eron Kiiza, who courageously pursued the case, until unfortunately, he got to learn what he had likely suspected had been the fate of his client all along.
A Ugandan online publication on February 8 had a breaking news story, “Detained Rwanda National found dead in Butabika”, which says the lawyer had on January 31, 2020 petitioned the high court in Kampala, demanding production of his client in court.
The publication goes on to confirm that Mr. Mageza’s lawyer had “also demanded an explanation from the army and the government about the illegal detention of his client for ten months without any charges being brought against him”.
The lawyer, through persistence and hard work had come to learn of his client’s demise even before the body turned up at a mental hospital.
According to the online publication, “Mr. Kiiza says he has since received reliable information indicating that Mageza could have passed on.
Uganda’s security agencies, practically the CMI and the Internal Security Organization( ISO), have had a long and documented record of arresting, torturing and killing innocent Rwandan nationals that dates back to the early 2000’s.
On July 5, 2002, Ugandan newspaper the Monitor reported that “Banyarwanda elders last week met president Museveni to petition for protection against the harassment by security agencies, especially the Internal Security Organization (ISO) and the Military Intelligence (CMI)”.
Uganda’s CMI has, for the last three years, worked to fund and support terrorist groups targeting Rwanda, particularly Rwanda National Congress (RNC).
The agency has been actively recruiting membership for the RNC and Rwandan nationals who have spurned efforts to embrace the terror group have been subjected to illegal arrests, dentation, torture and murder in many cases.
The targeting of innocent Rwandans travelling to Uganda or transiting to other destinations has not only involved the torturing and murdering, CMI operatives have systematically robbed Rwandan businessmen and businesswomen of large sums of money, particularly those travelling to purchase supplies for their businesses, in countries outside Uganda.
Security agents in Uganda have found it so lucrative, cashing in for their personal gains, innocent Rwandan victims are locked up sometimes, for several months, as the CMI personnel effect the shake down.
With efforts that have been made lately, especially after the September 2019 Luanda Memorandum, to bring about peace between the two countries, the Rwandan people expect better developments than the mounting body count of their compatriots dying at the hands of Uganda’s CMI.