Rwanda: Ugandan Blogger Writes Open Letter to Museveni Over Rwanda Standoff

Photo: Government of Rwanda
President Yoweri Museveni (file photo).
19 November 2019

In what he describes as "provocation" by Museveni's government, the blogger said his country remains a haven for Rwandan dissidents.

A Ugandan blogger has penned an 'open letter' to the country's President Yoweri Museveni over the current impasse between Uganda and Rwanda, outlining a list of hostile activities by Kampala against the Rwandan government.

In what he describes as "provocation" by Museveni's government, Maxon Lukyamuzi, a resident of Kekuubo Village in Kabale, south-western Uganda, said his country remains a haven for Rwandan dissidents.

In his November 13 open letter to Museveni, Lukyamuzi also says that many innocent Rwandans in Uganda continue to be harassed and tortured at the hands of Ugandan security agencies, notably Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and International Security Organisation (ISO).

He also points to repeated appeals by Rwandan leadership for Uganda to end these hostilities to no avail.

"Mr President, we have heard little from our leadership about the standoff while we have heard a lot from Rwanda," Lukyamuzi writes in part, referring to the openness with which Kigali has handled the matter as opposed to Kampala's generally coy attitude.

The Ugandan citizen said that, despite the ongoing effort to resolve the standoff under the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding, "I want to bring to your attention the increased activities of RNC.

"This organization is well established here in Uganda, with an executive committee headed by one Madam Prossy Boonabana, with Dr. Gideon Rukundo Rugari, as deputy coordinator and Sulah Nuwamanya, its Secretary-General."

"This committee has commissioners and regional coordinators in areas with majority Ugandan-Banyarwanda population.

"RNC, through this committee, recently established a non-governmental organization called "Self Worth Initiative" (SWI), through which they recruit members and mobilize funds to conduct their activities. I hope this issue will not be swept under the carpet in the planned talks between our two countries."

Lukyamuzi also made reference to the December 2017 interception at the Uganda-Tanzania border of 50 CMI-recruited Rwandans who were heading to RNC militia base in eastern DR Congo only to be released later and allowed to proceed to the Congo on a mission to destabilise Rwanda.

"When interrogated, they disclosed that they were heading for military training, and the ultimate mission was to attack Rwanda... At a press conference in March 2018 in Entebbe, you admitted that your intelligence was involved in smuggling the recruits. Yet, you never sanctioned any of the officers involved."

"By June 2018, the would-be RNC recruits were let free. They proceeded to DRC but some of them ended up in the hands of the UN force in Congo revealing the involvement of CMI; others were captured and sent to Rwanda where they testified having worked closely with CMI. Abel Kandiho (head of CMI) has not been held accountable for this."

Uganda's role as a major source of recruits for anti-Rwanda militia groups has previously been detailed by several Rwandans who were jailed for rejecting approaches from RNC operatives in Uganda, as well as a December 2018 report by UN Group of Experts on the Congo.

Led by South Africa-based fugitive Kayumba Nyamwasa, RNC is responsible for fatal grenade attacks in Rwanda between 2010 and 2014 that killed at least 17 civilians and injured over 400 others.

The Ugandan blogger also cited in his open letter to President Museveni a December 2018 Uganda-brokered meeting between RNC and FDLR - the DR Congo-based genocidal militia largely responsible for the slaughter of over a million people during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda - that took place in Kampala.

The meeting was chaired by Uganda's state minister for regional affairs Philemon Mateke, he recalled.

Two senior FDLR officials, the group's spokesperson and intelligence chief, would later be arrested by Congolese security at the Bunagana border with Uganda on their way from the same meeting before they were transferred to Rwanda to stand trial.

In his open letter to Museveni, Lukyamuzi further recalled that, in March 2019, two RNC officials, Charlotte Mukankusi and Eugene-Richard Gasana "visited you and you confirmed it; so has Tribert Rujugiro who funds the RNC; we hear that he also has a business in Arua (north-western Uganda) and that your brother (Gen) Salim Saleh is a partner in that business."

It later emerged that Mukankusi, RNC's head of diplomacy, had been given a Ugandan passport.

"These are issues that can be handled. We have lived with Rwandans in harmony for decades; we can't afford to live in animosity with them nor should they wish the reverse. Not now not ever...

"I strongly believe that you can fix these problems and also openly inform the Wanainchi (Swahili for ordinary 'citizens') of the progress, and assure us of peace, stability and development."

"Mr President," Lukyamuzi adds, "we will all remember this come 2021," he concluded in reference to Uganda's next presidential elections.

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