Yesterday, September 22, 2020 Uganda’s state newspaper, New Vision, wrote a misleading story titled, “Rwandan soldier sent to jail for illegally possessing firearms.” Lt Ivan Manzi, 28, who was charged with “unlawful possession of a gun” is remanded at Kitalya Prison until October 19, 2020 when military court will continue with the hearing.
In the article, New Vision concocts alternative truths about who Manzi is, how he got in Uganda, and what he has been up to while there.
Lt Manzi is a deserter from the Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) who has been living in Uganda since 2018.
According to a reliable source, On October 16, 2018, Manzi was arrested in Kisoro district on accusation that he was a “Rwandan spy.”
From there he was transferred to the headquarters of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) in Mbuya, Kampala, where he was detained until September 30, 2019 when he was released, along with seven RDF deserters, who had also been accused of “spying” and detained at the same facility.
According to our sources, the seven officers with whom Lt Manzi was incarcerated are Habimana Evode, Rugengamanzi Damascene, Sezibera Emmauel, Ntezirayayo Ethanael, Mugiraneza Eric, and Ndayambaje Emmanuel.
After a full year of interrogation and torture, the authorities couldn’t get them to confess to being spies.
The source reveals that halfway into their illegal detention, on April 12, 2019, the High Commission of Rwanda in Uganda sent a diplomatic communication, Note Verbale, to Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs requesting that the deserters be repatriated to Rwanda to face justice.
However, as they often do, the Ugandan authorities simply ignored the note.
Instead of releasing the deserters to Rwanda, the authorities in Kampala released them to Kayumba Nyamwasa’s Rwanda National Congress (RNC), which is actively supported by the Ugandan regime. A source has intimated that CMI deployed Lt Manzi to oversee RNC activities (recruitment and mobilisation) in Kakumiro district, one of the areas in Uganda with a large number of people of Rwandan origin.
Manzi’s troubles must have started when he decided to take up another gig rather than fulfill the conditions of his release (working for the RNC). Manzi took up work as a “bouncer” (bodyguard) for Hon. Baltazar Kasirivu Atwooki, Uganda’s State Minister for Economic Monitoring.
The minister felt he needed protection during the just-concluded NRM party primaries in which he was campaigning for the Bugangaizi West parliamentary seat. In an election that has been marred by violence, the fight for the Bugangaizi seat was no exception.
On September 1, 2020, supporters of Fred Byamukama, the minister’s opponent in the party primaries, attacked Minister Atwooki’s convoy.
In the scuffle that ensued during efforts to evacuate the minister from danger, his pistol fell on the ground; it was picked up by Ivan Manzi, his bouncer. When police and army intervened to quell the scuffle, they took Manzi and the gun, registration No. UG/012801417, with licence certificate issued by Katwe Police in Minister Atwooki’s name.
Rather than ask Manzi why he was carrying his boss’ pistol, which would have been normal under the circumstances and given his employment as body guard, the authorities branded him a gun-carrying Rwandan spy.
Manzi, therefore, was arrested in Bugangaizi and not in Nakulabye as The New Vision reports.
Clearly, the fact that they deployed him to work for Kayumba Nyamwasa and President Museveni in their shared scheme to destabilize Rwanda, he is their soldier not Rwanda’s soldier. For Rwanda, he is a deserter who should have been repatriated to face justice in Rwanda, as noted in the note verbale to Uganda’s foreign ministry.
Finally, Manzi also had to answer for abandoning his RNC deployment, which was the condition of his release from CMI detention last year. This is the crime that he has committed: violating the terms of his release. The rest of New Vision story is a regime propaganda concoction.