EDITORIAL: Uganda’s lies unmasked by a single court appearance

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta made a surprise visit to the just-concluded National Leadership Retreat and held talks with his counterpart, President Paul Kagame; but he also had time to address the gathering.

It would be a sure bet to say that their talks were centred on the current icy atmosphere between Rwanda and Uganda, because, no sooner had he left Gabiro, Kenyatta flew to Entebbe to meet President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Well, we should keep our fingers crossed, but honestly speaking, we have travelled down that road before that the future holds not many surprises.

At about the same time Kenyatta was in Gabiro, the Ugandan authorities pulled a fast one. After days of straight-faced denials by senior government officials that no Rwandan was held illegally by Kampala, they capitulated.

Moses Ishimwe Rutare who had been snatched from the streets of Kampala in December 2018 and never seen again, yesterday suddenly reappeared before a Ugandan magistrate charged with “illegal entry” and “overstaying”.

What is laughable is the possibility that in Ugandan security circles, the left hand does not know what the right is doing. Not only do citizens of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda cross each other’s borders using national or student IDs and voters’ cards, they are allowed to stay for six months.

Rutare had all the documents and when he was arrested he had been in the country for only two months. He is lucky to have gone through the legal process, albeit after three months in the gallows; many have not been given that privilege.

His emaciated and disoriented figure reads the very worst of what he went through. Let us hope Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit across our borders will see many more Rutares released or brought before justice. Rotting in the torture cells is not an option.