How Rwanda-Uganda persistent tensions are bound to affect CHOGM Kigali 2021

On 18 March 2021 at 01:41

Few months before the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Uganda is sluggish in implementing the 2019 Luanda Agreement.

The memorandum was signed on August 21st 2019 by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame in a bid to solve conflicts between Rwanda and Uganda.

Despite efforts to sign the agreement between both heads of state witnessed by mediators including the President of Angola, Joao Lourenço and Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the situation is still worsening as Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence CMI continues with arbitrary detention of Rwandans who are subjected to torture in its facilities.

Rwanda, Uganda relations have been worsening since 2017.

Rwanda expressed concerns over Rwandans who travel to Uganda for business purposes but are abducted, imprisoned and tortured accused of being Rwanda’s spies.

In March 2019, the Government of Rwanda officially advised citizens not to travel to Uganda for their security following testimonies of over 1000 Rwandans tortured and deported from Uganda.

Rwanda also accuses Uganda of hosting dissidents that are posing a threat to the former’s national security.

As of today, Rwandans living or visiting Uganda continue to face arbitrary detention, torture and illegal deportation without any legal representation or consular access.

Recently, five more Rwandans were dumped at Kagitumba One Stop Border by Ugandan officials.

They arrived in Rwanda after spending days enduring torture in detention facilities accused of being spies.

The matter remains of public concern to understand what kind of espionage is allegedly brewing between the two neighboring countries. It is however reported that there’s growing suspicion of Uganda’s ongoing support to rebel armed groups intending to destabilize Rwanda.

As preparations of CHOGM 2021 to take place in Kigali are underway, the Commonwealth should not tolerate such aggressiveness and hard punches unless the Anglo-Saxon lobbies that would support Museveni and a whole African knave are stronger than the organization.

Torture, must be banned from current political affairs

On 12th March 2021, around 10am, five Rwandans including a 17-year old girl, Céline Ishimwe and her brother Ishimwe Eliel aged 19 were deported from Uganda through Kagitumba border in Nyagatare district, Eastern Province.

The two children were living with parents Bicamumpaka Esiri and Mukandahiro Aurélie in Wakiso in Uganda.

Security officers from Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence went to their home and arrested children after missing parents.

The children went to Uganda in 2015 with their mother through Gatuna border with all documentation including passports well presented.

They were arrested on 10th December last year and taken into Police custody in Bukasa where they spent a week and taken to court on accusation of illegally staying in Uganda.

Ishimwe Eliel said that they have travel pass but his explanations were not considered and retained in prison.

Ishimwe Eliel aged 19 was along with her sister deported from Uganda through Kagitumba border in Nyagatare district, Eastern Province.

On 25th January 2021, they were transferred to the detention facility of the Ministry of Internal Security until their deportation. The two children have a grandfather in Nyanza district where they plan to stay upon deportation.

Other deportees include Murindangabo Bernatus, the husband of Nisingizwe Michelle with whom they have two children.

He is a son of Rutaza Révérien and Mukantagara Athanasie living in Bugesera district. He arrived in Uganda from Brisbane town, Queensland State in Australia.

Murindangabo was arrested by CMI on 4th February 2021 and detained in Kansanga where he runs businesses.

Murindangabo went to Uganda on 13th February last year through Kigali International Airport onboard RwandAir. He owned a tour operator company guiding tourists in Uganda.

Murindangabo was arrested by CMI on 4th February 2021 and detained in Kansanga where he runs businesses. He was taken to CMI ‘safe houses’ and later at Makindye military camp on accusations of espionage.

Another businessman, Mugisha Gahungu Shadrack, 29, hailing from Nyamasheke district went to Kenya in 2010 through Gatuna border.

He left Kenya for Uganda in 2015 and later arrested on 4th February 2021 in Kansanga at a bar known as Pyramid.

He was taken to CMI headquarters in Mbuya and later taken to military camp in Makindye accused of being a spy.

Mugisha has left his family in Uganda.

Rebero Napoléon is another deportee aged 47. He arrived in Uganda in 2000 through Gatuna border.

He was arrested on 10th February 2021 in Kampala where he was running businesses. He was also detained at CMI facilities in Mbuya accused of espionage.

Gahungu was also deported on 12th March 2021. After completing university studies in Rwanda, he went to Kenya in 2013 for business. After spending two years, he went to Uganda where he established a restaurant. Gahungu later met with another Rwandan in 2017 and established a bar known as ‘Atmosphere Lounge’.

In 2018, his bar became famous that he started working with Rwandan Disk Jockeys (DJs).

As Coronavirus emerged, he moved to Kansanga and worked with another bar dubbed Pyramid. He was arrested on 4th February accused of espionage.

“I am not the only Rwandan arrested. Many Rwandans have been arrested and held at different times in the past three years for similar accusations. People are sometimes abducted under the cover of the night, blindfolded and whisked to unknown destinations. I was also tortured like other Rwandans illegally detained,” he said.

Like other deported Rwandans, Gahungu returned to Rwanda bare hands leaving all his properties in Uganda.

Five Rwandans deported on 12th March 2021 through Kagitumba One Stop Border.

Treat detainees humanely

Interviewed human rights activists question the actions of Ugandan officials at a time when the Commonwealth is strict about human rights violations.

“Commonwealth Human Rights intervention stories are a sham. At least the leadership of Commonwealth is fully aware that Uganda accommodates and supports rebel groups against Rwanda including Rwanda National Congress [RNC] of General Kayumba Nyamwasa. The organization is aware of the arrest of FDLR senior officers including La Forge Fils Bazeyi and the deputy head of the intelligence services of this armed group. The duo was arrested at DRC, Uganda border coming from a meeting to plot against Rwanda’s security held in Kampala. They were extradited from DRC to face justice in Rwanda in 2019. That is a well-known fact. So what do you want? Rwanda knows how to manage its relations with its neighbor located to the North. Rwanda is committed to seeking homegrown solutions to protect safety and security of citizens,” a regional expert has commented on condition of anonymity.

Another Belgian political analyst has reminisced on unreasonable grudges considering the fact that Uganda bribed a British media house to spread its political propaganda trying by all means to tarnish Rwanda’s reputation.

According to the Belgian, extreme jealousy, illogical grudge towards his dynamic counterpart Kagame who knows well Museveni, blinded the septuagenarian to the extent that "Western supremacists acting behind the scenes have taken it over and digested."

“They have him on their backs. But he is not the only one ", said this analyst declining to point out the reality of a disastrous solidarity of some African politicians embroiled in ‘supremacism and Western capitalism’.

“There are some figures of geostrategy and geopolitics that are not considered. From Kaguta Museveni- Jakaya Kikwete, former Tanzanian President, - Zuma (former South African President) – Karegeya (former-colonel and dissident against Rwanda), Kayumba Nyamwasa (former Rwanda’s General and founder of RNC). They all work with intelligence services of the Great Powers which protect them.

Unfortunately, they have a hard bone to eat. Kagame. He is clever than them. He knows how to escape and even anticipate the traps they set against him. With these attributions, he analyses the relations between such coalitions. The Rwanda President makes deeper analysis to come up with a solution to that. That is the benefit of a clever mind like his,” said the analyst on condition of anonymity.

Do not miss the rendez-vous of dynamic integration in East Africa

According to the analyst, Kagame stands chance to understand all these opposing forces, at least those remotely controlled by supremacists and Western lobbies that tend to "complete the extermination Tutsi’ which they started and failed to complete in 1994.

According to the analyst, the case of Paul Rusesabagina and his Western supporters, Americans, French people, British and Belgians as well as regional support with Zambian President, Edgar Lungu also falls under this context.

These African presidential makers are driven by their selfish interests whatever the cost.

Is it time to understand that regional and African continental integration will bear no fruits at a time when countries like DRC and Somalia want to join the regional bloc?

The major concern is to understand whether the CHOGM Kigali scheduled this June will be held amidst ongoing turbulence between Uganda and Rwanda.

In case the Commonwealth does not constitute committee of eminent persons and veteran politicians capable of working towards neutralizing the nucleus fueling worsened relations between neighboring countries like Rwanda and Uganda, the bi-annual meeting would end up yielding little.