After denials, Uganda’s President Museveni admits to hosting Rwandan dissidents

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has finally admitted that he interacted with Rwandan dissidents and fugitives who are working to destabilize Rwanda.

The admission was contained in a leaked letter addressed to President Paul Kagame, published by a Ugandan Daily on March 19, 2019. Among the dissidents hosted by President Museveni include Tribert Rujugiro and Charlotte Mukankusi, the Head of Diplomacy of Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an organization implicated in the spate of grenade attacks in Kigali between 2010 and 2013 that killed several Rwandans and injured many more.

“I am writing to let you know that by accident, I, at last, had a meeting with a Rwandan who admitted to being a member of the group you told me about – Rwanda National Congress (RNC). This is a lady known as Mukankusi,” the letter by Museveni read in part.

The Ugandan President added: “Mr Rujugiro also came, separately.” The self-exposing letter came as a surprise to many owing to the fact that Museveni had repeatedly denied supporting or even knowing of the Rwandan dissidents.

For him to openly admit that he hosted, in State House, Rwandan dissidents is quite revealing. The same letter, however, contained more denials.

One example is the support for RNC.

“I told her [Mukankusi] we could not support them because what was happening in Rwanda was an internal matter of Rwanda.” Museveni wrote.

However, just three weeks before their meeting on March 1, 2019, Mukankusi was issued a Ugandan Passport No A00019997. Issuing a passport is, without doubt, substantial support.

It is such continued support to elements hostile to Rwanda that has contributed to deterioration in relations between the two countries.  

Rwanda has continually presented the concerns about the hostility towards its citizens through all channels, including pre-set diplomatic avenues, but with no breakthrough.

At the highest level, President Kagame, on three occasions, last year met with his Ugandan counterpart to discuss the concerns. They included support to dissidents and illegal arrests and torture of Rwandans in Uganda…

All concerns were met with outright denial or fell on deaf ears as Rwandans were still being arrested and tortured, prompting Rwanda to issue a travel advisory.

When President Museveni finally responded it was through a personal letter supposedly to his Rwandan counterpart.

Surprisingly, before the letter could be delivered to the recipient, it was published in the state-owned Ugandan daily begging the question: Was the letter intended to clarify the hostility against Rwanda or to sanitize the author?

For Museveni to claim that the meeting with the dissidents was ‘by accident’ points more to the latter.

A meeting that involves any Head of State – in State House moreover – can never be ‘by accident’.  There is a lot of preparation that goes into meeting a President, including preparing briefs, profiles and background checks before an audience is given a go-ahead.

Museveni has made one thing clear in this letter: members of the RNC and anyone else seeking to destabilize Rwanda have the kind of access to President Museveni regular Ugandans can only dream of.

Uganda’s support for Rwanda’s dissidents can no longer be denied, not even by President Museveni himself

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