Amb Olivier Nduhungirehe, the Minister of State for EAC Affairs, on Friday made Rwanda's clear-cut demands to Uganda if relations between the two countries are to normalize.
Among the demands, Rwanda has demanded Kampala to unconditionally release it nationals illegally detained in Uganda, hold to account facilitators of anti-Rwanda groups operating in Uganda and refraining from actions meant to destabilise Rwanda.
"I wish to emphasize once again our responsibility as leaders in our respective countries, I also emphasize the importance of building trust among ourselves and the need to find a solution to the different challenges we are facing," Nduhungirehe said in his opening remarks during the Friday meeting between Rwanda and Uganda officials in Kigali.
"We have been following comments by wanainchi (citizens) from both countries, who are increasingly expressing fatigue over this self-inflicted injury in the East African Community. They are just demanding security on the common border, the end of destabilizing activities by armed and terrorist groups, and the free movement of people, goods and services in peace and security."
Therefore, the Minister noted, the two countries cannot afford to waste any more time, and that they need to act decisively, responsibly, in good faith and end this crisis.
It is Rwanda's hope, he added, that the Ad Hoc Commission will be solution-oriented, to address the specific issues that Rwandan and Ugandan Heads of State highlighted in the Luanda Communiqué in order to report a positive outcome to the upcoming Quadripartite Summit in Gatuna.
Rwanda and Uganda leaders are expected to meet at the Gatuna-Katuna border crossing on February 22.
Since the last meeting of the Ad Hoc Commission in December 2019, the minister said, "We have witnessed some progress."
On December 29, President Paul Kagame received a special message from his Ugandan counterpart, President Yoweri Museveni, delivered by his Special Envoy, Amb Adonia Ayebare.
Following that visit, Uganda released and deported, on January 7, nine Rwandans who had been detained illegally for over two years.
Despite the above, Nduhungirehe noted, it is unfortunate that Uganda’s support to anti-Kigali armed groups and individuals has continued unabated.
RNC terrorist organisation, working under the cover of Self Worth Initiative NGO continue to conduct mobilisation activities, under the facilitation of top officer of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) notably its Deputy Head of CMI and Director of the Joint Anti-Terror Unit, Col CK Asiimwe.
After the Ad Hoc Commission meeting held on December 13, 2019 in Munyonyo, he said, the outcomes were reported verbatim by Sula Nuwamanya and Prossy Bonabana (who run Self Worth Initiative NGO) on social media, an indication of close collaboration between RNC and the Government of Uganda.
In addition, he said, Charlotte Mukankusi, Commissioner in charge of diplomacy in the RNC terrorist organisation, visited again in Uganda in January 2020, on RNC mission, to meet top officials of the Government of Uganda.
It was also noted that RNC Uganda Province, led by Pastor Deo Nyirigira and Dr Sam Ruvuma, continued its activities including recruitment, restructuring, mobilization, fundraising, forming new cells and committees in various parts of Uganda, especially in Kyangwari and Nakivale refugee camps, as well as Mityana.
Capt Nshimiye a.k.a “Gavana”, who coordinated the Kinigi terror attack of the night of October 3-4, 2019, is still under the protection of Uganda security organs and is handled by the Minister of State Philemon Mateke, Nduhungirehe said.
"He freely frequents Kyangwari refugee camp where some of their combatants and dependents are located. Nshimiye regularly travels to Kisoro to visit his wife and to meet Minister Mateke for briefings,
"In the same vein, Nzabonimana Fidèle, Kabayiza Seleman and Mugwaneza Eric, RUD Urunana operatives who participated in the Kinigi attack and reported to the Uganda authorities on 12th October 2019, are still protected by Uganda’s security organs from facing justice in Rwanda."
Nduhungirehe also noted that in continuation of the mobilization of anti-Rwanda armed groups, CMI facilitated, on February 2 (the very day of the Quadripartite Summit in Luanda) a two-day meeting between the members of RNC and RUD-Urunana terrorist organisations, which was held in Mbarara, a city in western Uganda.
The meeting was attended by, among others, he said, Capt. Nshimiye a.k.a. “Gavana”, Col. Rugema Emmanuel, Col Sam, all representing RUD-Urunana, while deserter Lt Frank Mushaija, Maj. Ntare, Capt Frank Mugisha a.k.a. “Sunday”, Jean Marie Vianney Turabumukiza and Maj Robert Higiro represented RNC.
Nduhungirehe said: "CMI dispatched vehicles that took Col Rugema and his delegation from Kisoro to Mbarara for the meeting. The purpose of this meeting was to forge plans to start a new RUD-RNC rebellion and intensify mobilisation activities."
Nduhungirehe said there are still a number of Rwandan nationals detained in various illegal detention facilities in Uganda. "Several notes verbales were issued to the Government of Uganda, with details particulars of detainees and requesting for consular access. However, all those requests were never honoured."
"At the same time, Rwandan citizens are now dying due to sustained torture by operatives of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI). A recent sad example is that of one Emmanuel Mageza, 50 years old, who was tortured for more than a year in CMI barracks, recently died in Butabika Mental Hospital and hastily buried in Uganda. His family demands justice and the repatriation of his body for a decent burial."
On the other hand, he said, there are currently nine Ugandan citizens serving sentence for various crimes in Rwanda, and who were all accorded consular access and are mentioned in a list "we will be happy to provide."
In the Luanda spirit, he added, Rwanda has terminated the prosecution of 15 Ugandan citizens, who were released.
Rwanda demands action be taken
Therefore, Nduhungirehe stressed, Rwanda "demands that the following action" be taken by the Government of Uganda.
First, Kigali demands that Kampala disband the Rwanda National Congress and RUD-Urunana networks in Uganda, and to arrest and extradite all its members so that they can face justice in Rwanda.
Secondly, Kampala should refrain from all actions meant to destabilize Rwanda and eliminating all factors that may create such perception.
Third is for Kampala to withdraw Ugandan Passport N° A000199979 that was issued by the Ugandan Government to Charlotte Mukankusi, Commissioner in charge of Diplomacy in the RNC terrorist organization.
Fourth is to hold accountable facilitators of RNC and RUD-Urunana networks, including Minister of State Philemon Mateke, Brig Gen Abel Kandiho, Brig Gen Fred Karara, Col CK Asiimwe, Maj Fred Mushambo, Col Kaka Bagyenda and other government officials involved in the same activities.
Demand number five is the repatriation of the body of Emmanuel Mage for a decent burial in Rwanda and to provide explanations about the circumstances surrounding his death.
"We also request for clarification about two other Rwandan citizens, namely Sendegeya Théogène and Rwembo Mucyo, who were allegedly transferred from CMI to Butabika Hospital and later got missing."
"Sixth is, to allow Julienne Kayirere to be reunited with her child Joana Imanirakiza, who was abducted in Uganda after separating Kayirere from her one-month baby, when she was arrested on 29th November 2018 in Mubende District."
"Seven; to unconditionally release all Rwandan citizens illegally detained in Uganda."
Nduhungirehe concluded his remarks by, among others, stressing that summit over summit and meeting over meeting without any solution in sight cannot be an option. "And this, unfortunately, was the case for meetings we held over the past three years, bilaterally or under this Luanda process. Yet, the solution is our hands, provided that we are truly committed to end this crisis with political will and good faith."
Like has always been the case in previous meetings, however, Sam Kutesa, Uganda's Minister of Foreign Affairs, denied all accusations, particularly referring to Kigali's accusations as " unsubstantiated allegations of destabilisation."Follow https://twitter.com/KarhangaJames