Speaking to IGIHE recently, the man who was in Kigali for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022, talked about relations between Uganda and Rwanda and disclosed how he was threatened over his criticisms among others.
As tensions between both countries escalated, the MP maintained that Uganda’s silence on allegations brought forth by Rwanda only served to exacerbate the situation.
Rwanda accused Uganda of harbouring dissidents with intention to threaten its security.
Uganda was also accused of harassing, abducting and torturing Rwandans crossing to Uganda for different reasons.
During an exclusive interview with IGIHE last year, Mbidde said that the closure of Gatuna border in 2019 was not the root cause of spoiled relations insisting that the decision was taken ’to solve a problem’.
He explained that the arrest of Rwandans by Uganda’s security forces where some of them would spend a year enduring torture in detentions without consular access was a major reason that had to trigger the closure.
Apart from illegal detentions of Rwandans, Mbidde revealed that his country had started working with subversive groups intending to destabilize Rwanda.
He pointed out an example of Charlotte Mukankusi, a member of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) who received Ugandan passport and her colleagues who met with President Museveni.
Mbidde revealed that he was the first person who openly pointed out those issues in Uganda as the government remained silent.
Commenting on his country’s reactions to his criticisms, Mbidde recently told IGIHE that his colleagues isolated him an unpatriotic person.
“I got isolated because of those positions that I hold, by many sections of the people including my own colleagues in parliament. They really think I am not nationalistic enough, as to defend the wrong things that my country is doing,” he said.
Mbidde highlighted that pointing out where the government is wrong on an issue is of utmost importance to save it from danger.
“In my opinion, I did not even make those statements for anyone’s benefit but for mine. That this has to stop immediately. A lot of our people did not address the reasons for the border closure. They always addressed the closure. When you begin with that only, then you miss out the proper point for discussions,” he noted.
Due to his position on the issue between Rwanda and Uganda, Mbidde received threats but insisted that he is always comfortable to point out what is going wrong irrespective of whatever circumstances.
“Security forces also trailed me. I got a lot of threats, the president came out and openly called me Munyarwanda,” he disclosed.
The parliamentarian said that the situation did not scare him because Obote had also called Museveni a Munyarwanda.
“It is okay. Even if I would die, I would have died a very happy person if…I have raised somebody that can cry, stand up and strangle my killer without being paid. So, I do not regret what I did and I will partake of the circumstances that are continuous,” he noted.
Despite the setbacks, Rwanda and Uganda have embarked on a journey to restore relations that had deteriorated since 2017.
Both countries decided to turn a new page for relations following visits of Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba to Rwanda two times in 2022 where he met with President Paul Kagame leading to the reopening of Gatuna border.
Lt Gen Muhoozi is the first born son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni serving as the Senior Presidential Advisor on Special Operations and Commander of Land Forces of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).