Is Museveni serious on normalizing relations with Rwanda?

President Museveni is back to his usual game: Saying one thing to one group or individual, then turning around and saying another to another group or individual. After leaving the Gatuna quadripartite summit, Museveni addressed the people of Kabale town who had been primed beforehand for a celebration of the anticipated re-opening of the Gatuna border crossing he had promised.

“The origin of the problem," he told them, "is that these people we helped when they had problems, once they returned home started to have divisions within themselves.”

 

Museveni had yet again over-promised and under-delivered. As a result, he made up this story about Rwanda’s internal differences to deflect from his inability to deliver and from his role in the impasse for which his country's border communities are paying a heavy price. But does Museveni in fact really believe what he told the Kabale residents?

 

If he does, then why didn’t he say this to his colleagues at the quadripartite, choosing instead to bring it up only at his meeting with the people of Kabale? Of even greater importance, what does his speaking from both sides of the mouth say about his honesty in the Angola MoU process? 

 

During the quadripartite meeting, Museveni presented no objection to Rwanda’s grievances as they were presented. In fact, as duly recorded in the summit's communiqué, he promised to verify those claims and for the findings of the verification to be presented to the Luanda MoU Ad Hoc Committee for assessment.

Rwanda's grievances which Museveni agreed to verify include his government's support to the RNC and its active terror cells which operate openly in Uganda. There is also demand to release Rwandans illegally detained in his country. 

But even before the ink on the communiqué he had just signed onto had dried, Museveni was already pushing a totally different story. Given this attempt to push a narrative before his domestic audience that is completely opposite of that which he had accepted at the Gatuna-Katuna summit, how much can he be trusted? 

Uganda's accent to the Gatuna-Katuna summit communiqué clearly means that Museveni doesn’t believe his own rhetoric about Rwanda’s internal conflicts; he was only using it to divert Ugandans from a summit outcome that was clearly much worse than expected for Ugandan businesses and border communities that are heavily dependent on trade with Rwanda. 

Speaking during the same meeting, Museveni referred to Kayumba Nyamwasa -  the head of the RNC terrorist organization he is supporting, as if he were a legitimate politician who had merely disagreed with Kigali. But Museveni is aware that Kayumba is anything but just an innocent man with a difference of opinion with the Rwanda government. He knows as well as anybody else that Kayumba, his would-be Rwandan quisling, is a convicted terrorist. 

Being the RNC's chief sponsor, Museveni knows that on 13 September 2013,  terrorists infiltrated Rwanda to launch grenades in markets and taxi parks intending to cause maximum fear in the country in the run-up to that month's parliamentary elections. The terror attack took place on the 14th at the busy Kicukukiro market where RNC terrorists tossed two grenades, killing two people and leaving 46 injured. 

Following thorough investigations including the interrogation of captured terrorists in earlier grenade throwing, on 14 January 2011, the military court sentenced Kayumba Nyamwasa to 24 years, in absentia, for forming a terrorist group, threatening state security, and undermining public order, among a long list of charges. 

The terrorists captured shortly after the September 2013 attacks revealed they had been working under Kayumba Nyamwasa’s orders. During their 2013 trial, Lt Joel Mutabazi and Cpl Joseph Nshimiyimana, alias Camarade, said they had been deployed by Kayumba Nyamwasa, volunteering WhatsApp, Skype, and SMS communication exchanges with Kayumba, planning the attack that was jointly carried out by the RNC and FDLR.

On 5 November that year, Nshimiyimana told court he was present when the attack was planned in July 2013 at Mamba Bar Point in Kampala and that Kayumba had also linked them with Col Jean Marie, an FDLR commander, to finalize the details of the attack. 

Moreover, Kayumba had provided 150 grenades for similar attacks across the country along with $50,000 to be used to recruit more people to toss grenades at other busy intersections. Other witnesses also confirmed Kayumba had recruited them for training in the detonation of explosives at key installations. Kayumba had bought and personally sent a bomb-making manual and had sent them pictures of the products they needed to manufacture improvised explosive devices (IEDs). 

As a result of this terror campaign, the RNC and FDLR killed 14 and injured 460 innocent people across Rwanda, between 2010 and 2014. These are the groups Museveni has rallied behind to destabilize Rwanda. 

He is so brazen about it he even finds nothing wrong meeting with their representatives, as he did with Charlotte Mukankusi and Eugene Gasana, even though he famously admitted to have met them only “accidentally” in a letter he wrote to President Kagame in March last year which he leaked to the Ugandan media even before it had been delivered. 

The confession of his purportedly "accidental" meeting with these representatives of a terror organisation was after details of a passport his government had issued to Mukankusi had been leaked, proving that Uganda was in fact facilitating the movement of this terror group’s official “head of diplomacy.”

In the same "accidental meeting" letter, Museveni admitted to hosting Tribert Rujugiro, the group's top financier who is, in fact, a regular sleep-over guest at the Ugandan president's official residence, and who, during his visits is given presidential-like security and protocol. 

Proof of Museveni’s close support for Rwandan genocidal and terrorist groups is further demonstrated by Philemon Mateke, his minister for regional affairs, organising an RNC-FDLR coordination meeting at the Kampala Serena on 14-15 December 2018.

The two very senior FDLR officials who represented the genocidal group at that meeting, chief spokesman Ignace Nkaka, aka LaForge Fils Bazeye, and its chief of intelligence Lt Col Jean-Pierre Abega, aka Theophile Abega, were captured at the Bunagana border with DRC as they returned from the meeting and were repatriated to Kigali where they are facing justice, in a Rwandan court.

Frank Ntwali represented the RNC in a meeting whose aim was to finalise alliance between the two terror organizations. Mateke had told the two groups  that he had a “special message” from President Museveni to deliver to them, according to witnesses who were present in that meeting.

In Kabale, Museveni tried to sanitize Kayumba as a politician who had political differences with the leadership in Rwanda. How those differences justified the cold-blooded murder of innocent people at bus parks and in marketplaces, only Museveni can know. 

To further demonstrate that the summit communiqué he had just assented to was meaningless, Museveni just last week on February 24, invited members of the group that the Angola MoU has listed as operatives of the RNC who Uganda must expel. However, rather than that expulsion required by the MoU, Museveni saw fit to host them to State House, and according to sources, advised them to “leave politics and restrict themselves to humanitarian work”, despite the evidence Rwanda has tabled proving they have already been hiding behind purported humanitarian and church work as fronts for RNC mobilization.

Nowhere in the MoU does it require Museveni to dine with and give advice to these groups; rather, it requires him to disband them, which clearly he won’t do if he is inviting them for State luncheon and discussions in clear mockery of the Angola MoU process.

All this shows Museveni thinks he can continue to play his double game of leveraging Rwandan genocidal and terrorist groups in his dream of destabilizing Rwanda while also pushing for the renormalization of Rwanda-Uganda border operations.

He is clearly too invested in his anti-Rwanda proxy groups to be able to withdraw his support as the Angola MoU requires. He is seriously deluded and is in for a reality-check to think he can succeed at this contradictory game. 

Continuing down this road will just ensure the problem between Uganda and Rwanda won't be resolved, no matter how his Chimpreports propaganda mouthpiece spins his meeting with Rwanda's enemies he is supposed to interdict under the Luanda MoU process.

There are no two ways about it: He can be sure of painful costs should he persist in his determination for Uganda to provide a base to destabilize Rwanda. No amount of whitewashing of the criminals he is using as his proxies in his Rwanda-destabilisation project will change that.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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