The current political situation between Rwanda and Uganda over the latter’s belligerent actions including arrests, harassment and torture of Rwandans going to Uganda proves that the EAC Federation is a farfetched dream. President Museveni has been for a long time an advocate of EAC Federation and on numerous occasions he has been the loudest advocate of regional integration and proposed many initiatives to fast track for regional integration including the paralyzed coalition of the willing (CoW), to speed up implementation of initiatives they could implement on their own.
Museveni’s Overambitious Missions
In such circumstances, Political observers tend to read his pronouncements as evidence of his ambition to become the first President of East Africa. Even back in Uganda, speculation were once rife that he would step down only if he were assured of moving on to become president of the federation. As a matter of fact, Museveni viewed the outcome of EAC federation as a desirable outcome but actions of his security organs in handling their historical neighbours raises eyebrows. His foreign policy actions guided by selfishness to advance his foreign policy objectives are also an obstacle for regional peace especially with the ongoing issues with Rwanda.
Cases of Harassment of Rwandans
Investigation Research conducted by The Great lakes Eye indicate that more than 945 Rwandans were arbitrary detained in Uganda and others still remain in CMI and ISO death dungeons. The number excludes those deported and dumped on the side of the border in mysterious circumstances. Reports obtained also indicate that about ten Rwandans have died in CMI, ISO dungeon cells scattered across Uganda. These were ordinary Rwandans that earned a living in Uganda but became victims of political witch hunt and the number of those victimized can’t be exhaustive.
Time for Honey Moon is Gone
Prior to 2015, Rwanda –Uganda enjoyed cordial relations, something that was enjoyed and recommended by both citizens of the two countries, at the same time led to the rise in volume of trade and services. But matters turned worse at the time of the rise of Maj.Gen Henry Tumukunde. During the year 2016-2017 there were political struggle behind scenes especially within the political establishment in Uganda to determine who is who in the security apparatus and political system, and which camp one belongs to. Matters escalated when Maj.Gen Henry Tumukunde became the Minister of National Security in the Cabinet of Uganda. Sources in Uganda inform that Maj.Gen Henry Tumukunde is known to harbour anti-Rwanda sentiments and was a good friend to deceased Patrick Karegeya whom they served together for a long time in ISO.
Henry Tumukunde is believed to have engineered hatred towards the GoR, and using his influence to support RNC to establish strongholds in Uganda. To achieve his mission he conspired and colluded with other anti-Rwanda elements within the Military and political establishments to target those that didn’t buy their idea and considered as outsiders of the inner circle. During his tenure in office media in Uganda were full of stories between his confrontation and former IGP Kale Kayihura.
Sources in Uganda’s state house indicate that his intention and objective was to get off Kale Kayihura to implement his anti-GoR Agenda, build power centers around him and that of his Mafia clique. Formation of Mafia clique was intended to take over power or manipulate and weaken Museveni and use him as just a figure head, while remaining untouchable.
Those close to Henry Tumukunde reveal that the origin of the nemesis between him and Kale Kayihura is a result of jealous and animosity of Henry Tumukunde due to the belief that President Museveni trusted much Kale Kayihura. Sources further indicated that Henry Tumukunde considered Kale Kayihura as an obstacle to his quest and hunger to exercise influence in the political and security landscape in Uganda.
The growing rise and influence of Mafia state is likely to plunge and transcend the pearl of Africa into abyss and reverse some of the economic and democratic gains that has been and achieved to some extent by Museveni and his NRM Government and erase President Museveni’s status.
RNC Exploiting Tensions in Uganda’s Security Establishment to Undermine the GoR in Support of Mafia Clique in Uganda
For over the past four years RNC has created cells in Uganda, recruited in broad daylight in refugee settlements across Uganda. Many RNC operatives continue to flock into Uganda to conduct subversive activities against Rwanda. People like Rugema Kayumba, Benjamin Rutabana, and Frank Ntwali are often guests of CMI and ISO. Surprisingly this is done at the backdrop of EAC protocols on security that prevents neighbouring countries from harbouring criminals causing havoc to another member state.
Uganda’s support to RNC remains an insider job to the extent that senior Military government officials out of the mafia clique are unaware of the presence of RNC operatives in the country, proving that Uganda is descending into a mafia state.
Sources close CMI officials indicate that anonymous senior ranking official was surprised to learn of the presence of Rugema Kayumba in Uganda until he picked phone to call CMI Chief Abel Akandiho who confirmed without hesitation of his presence and it is until that day that Rugema Kayumba was abandoned and chased out of Uganda.
But this wasn’t enough, other RNC operatives have made Uganda a safe haven, people like Benjamin Rutabana travelling on a French passport number 16DA52086 due to expire on 18 Oct 2024, who also doubles as a member of people’s salvation movement is always a guest of honour to Brig. Abel Akandiho and (Rtd) Col. KAKA, he is given protection and accommodations shifted from hotels and safe houses.
At present, the most breaking issue is the closure of Gatuna border to allow ongoing construction works, however the issue has been interpreted by Ugandan officials as an attempt by Rwanda to prevent its citizens to enter Uganda.
Many Government officials of Uganda seem to be worried only by their economic interests and those of their citizens but none viewed the issue in a wider perspective or dared to condemn the arbitrary arrests of Rwandans by Uganda’s security organs.
Whatever the case, Museveni’s eventual succession is uncertain and presents a risk of increased political tensions thus continued instability looking for scapegoats.