Africa Intelligence distortions betray CMI and RNC links

On November 1, 2019, Africa Intelligence, a French online website ran a story titled “Belligerence of Kampala and Kigali backfires”. The story deliberately distorted facts and it is clearly visible it was written or edited by Uganda intelligence in collaboration with the Rwanda National Congress (RNC).

Moreover, it is not the first time Uganda's Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and RNC propaganda is peddled on this platform.  

Even as the government of France and Rwanda work to improve relations, there are some individuals in France who are against improved relations and are collaborating with CMI officials and RNC cadres to the extent that propaganda information aimed at smearing Rwanda’s leadership continues on their platforms. In March 2018, a leading CMI propaganda mouthpiece, ChimpReports, carried a story titled “Great Lakes Region on the Brink of War Amid Museveni Assassination Plot” in which it claimed French intelligence had tipped off Museveni against his planned trip to Bujumbura, apparently because they had discovered a Rwanda-orchestrated plot to shoot his plane down. Chimp Reports had allegedly obtained the information from another online website La Lettre de l’Ocean Indien.

The coordination between Uganda’s intelligence and La Lettre de l’Ocean Indien forgot to mention that the actual reason for the visit's cancellation was that the COMESA Heads of State Summit that Museveni was supposed to attend had been cancelled due to Burundi’s inability to put in place the required logistics for such a high-level event, The East African reported.

The November 1, 2019 issue of Africa Intelligence is littered with similar accusations that reproduce almost word-for-word propaganda from CMI and RNC blogs intended to promote the joint Museveni-RNC interest to undermine Rwanda. At least, 14 CMI articles are summarised in the article. These include the claim that the recent reshuffle in Rwanda is because, “Kagame has also been conducting a purge of the RDF and replacing officers of Ugandan origin with those of Burundian origin.”  Another CMI-run blog, “The Insider”, carried a headline screaming “Kagame Makes Mega Cabinet Reshuffle, Drops ‘Pro-Uganda’ Ministers.

Another is that Rwanda “is suspected of having helped to set up Red Tabara, a Burundian rebel group operating in the DR Congo, which carried out an attack in the Burundian province of Bubanza on October 22, killing several people,” which was also carried by CMI’s CommandPost (Rwanda’s Special Forces Fighting alongside Mai Mai Rebels against Banyamulenge. Or that “Rwanda have been in contact with the Ugandan opposition since September,” and that “When he travelled to New York in late September for the United Nations General Assembly, the leader of the People's Government of Uganda, Kizza Besigye, discreetly shared with Western leaders a psychological profile of Museveni which has since shaped Washington's stance towards the Ugandan president” a reference to the claims in Uganda’s New Vision that President Kagame had met with Besigye in New York, a meeting that Rwandan officials insist never happened (Kagame did not meet Besigye, even by accident).

The "accident" reference was an ironical reminder of Museveni's claim in a letter to his Rwandan counterpart that he had met senior RNC officials in Uganda's state house for several hours only "by accident".

Africa Intelligence writes, “On October 25, the commander of the land forces of the Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF), General Peter Elwelu, refused to sign an MoU on security in Goma that had been proposed by the chief of staff of the Forces armées de la République démocratique du Congo (FARDC), Célestin Mbala, with a view to conducting joint military operations with Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda – with the support of AFRICOM and MONUSCO – to eradicate rebel groups active in DR Congo.

According to sources close to the discussions, the UPDF's refusal (on Museveni's instructions) was motivated by the fact that this would have allowed the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) to “deploy beyond their currently authorised sphere of operations.”

Similarly, Sarah Kagingo who runs the CMI sponsored website, Soft Power News, wrote, “Rwanda Furious As Uganda Declines To Sign MoU On Joint Military Operations In DR Congo.”

The Intelligence also asserts that “the deployment of General Eric Murokore, a Kagame ally, to the border with Uganda has done little to defuse tensions between Kampala and Kigali,” a rehashed take from Chimp Reports, “Is Rwanda Planning Surprise Military Strikes in Uganda?:

Space doesn’t allow us to reproduce all the preposterous claims that prove a coordinated propaganda effort against Rwanda by Ugandan intelligence. Another rumour The Intelligence wants to spread which was allegedly obtained from Ugandan intelligence is that President Kagame now travels in two planes at once. Interestingly, their editors forgot to conceal their source this time around, informing their readers that it was “according to Ugandan intelligence!”

At least we now know what Sarah Kagingo and her team will soon be writing about.