22 March 2019

Rwanda: Passportgate Rattles Museveni

Uganda's President Museveni seems to have been rattled by the revelation that he had hosted RNC officials and that he had issued its head of diplomacy, Charlotte Mukankusi - a dissident former Rwandan diplomat - with a new Ugandan passport.

In a damage control-induced haste, Museveni wrote a letter to the media that was presumably intended for President Kagame.

The fact that he had to backdate the letter to show that he had written it before issuing the passport is one thing, it is quite another that his haste damage control antics ended up aggravating the original damage, by inducing him to reveal even more than he would have wanted.

A letter that reads so much like a confession shows that he is so deeply invested into the RNC project, he would rather risk sounding absurd than consider cutting that damaging relationship.

Consider the claim that Eugene-Richard Gasana and Charlotte Mukankusi walked in on him "accidentally."

It is difficult to imagine a situation where anyone - let alone representatives of an armed dissident group from another country - can simply walk in on a head of state of a neighbouring country unannounced, without prior appointment.

Perhaps even Museveni's own children don't enjoy this level of privileged access.

Museveni's 'surprise' visitors had "important information" for him. It was about the "bad things that were happening in Rwanda."

Much as he acknowledges that the RNC officials "wanted us to support them" in their plans "to resist Your Excellency," he doesn't question how come it is from him the dissidents believe they can find comfort and why it is to him they feel they can come without any risk with plans to destabilise their country?

He writes that he said "no" to the request from his 'accidental' visitors for support to destabilise Rwanda.

However, since Museveni's exchange with them suggests that he also buys into their view that "bad things are happening in Rwanda," it is unlikely that his response was as negative as he would like us to believe.

On the contrary, according to fully reliable sources, Museveni's response was in fact, "We are together."

Specifically, Museveni is on record promising the RNC more support once they have merged with the FDLR - the remnants of the forces that committed the 1994 Genocide and unrepentantly consider it an unfinished project - and begin to destroy Rwanda's infrastructure (for army, security, and government).

In his letter to the press (which he nominally addresses to Rwandan President Paul Kagame), Museveni claims not to have known who Eugene Gasana - Rwanda's former ambassador to the United Nations and another active RNC member - was.

Equally amazing is that Museveni had claimed not to know Tribert Rujugiro and David Himbara, respectively the RNC chief financier and his publicist.

However, on more than one occasion, he has come to admit to knowing people he had previously denied knowing until evidence is presented to him that his denials are patently untrue.

For President Museveni, everything is apparently an accident. Even the fact that Rujugiro is financing the RNC from the proceeds of his business interests in Uganda might be accidental.

This is why it is not clear to him whether Rujugiro has accepted to close down operations in Uganda or he is still "resisting," whatever that means.

Remarkably, Museveni seems to support Rujugiro in this famous resistance, "even if he sells the factories in Uganda, he still has more lucrative factories in Angola, DR Congo, etc., a total of eight of them. He can send money from those," he labours on, explaining Rujugiro's different sources of income when his concern as a head of state ought to be to ensure someone who uses such income to destabilise a neighbouring country should be stopped.

Museveni basically tells Rwanda to go hang. Since he has asked Rujugiro about his financing terrorism and his 'accidental' friend has denied it, then Rwanda should "use the courts of Uganda to prove the case of terrorism and then his assets can be frozen."

Did Museveni expect Rujugiro to admit that money from his business interests was financing terrorism? Surely not. This is diversionary rhetoric on his part that only serves to justify the presence in Uganda of people bent on destabilising Rwanda - and that he is prepared to defend them.

If Museveni believes in his courts, then why has he failed to present to the court the hundreds of "Rwanda agents" languishing in CMI cells for months (some even years), whom he claims are sent there "to try to operate behind the Government of Uganda?"

Incidentally, Museveni concedes that he has no evidence against these hapless victims of his pro-RNC and FDLR agenda: "I get a lot of stories, but I will never raise them unless I have confirmed them."

On the one hand, Museveni is acting like he is the courts. On the other, he directs Rwanda to go to the courts.

At any rate, if he has not "confirmed" that the Rwandans he holds extra-judicially are "agents," shouldn't he be setting them free? Indeed, if he can act without confirmation, why is he hesitating to do so when it comes to Rujugiro?

Museveni's letter is important because at least he admits that RNC officials do in fact visit him, even if, he insists, they don't stay long. "All these people left Uganda after only a few days," his self-immolation continues.

"As I told you when we met, there is no question of Uganda supporting anti-Rwanda elements," Museveni writes as if to confirm the obvious.

Finally, Museveni turns to the key Rwandan charge against him, denying - as is his wont to do - of ever having heard of it: "I have not heard Rwanda saying that Uganda 'supports' these elements. What I heard and what you told me when we met was that some of these elements were 'operating' from or 'in' Uganda to recruit, etc. it is this aspect that the joint teams should work on."

This is rich. In other words, even as he admits that the RNC is "operating" in Uganda, he says this is happening without his support. Is he now asking us to believe he has no control over what happens in Uganda?

And yet, not a day passes without him reminding everyone that no one can destabilise Uganda because he is in control.

Going by the trend, one may confidently predict Museveni's next letter will ask Rwanda to prove why he supports the RNC - not whether he does.

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