The Foreign Affairs ministry has distanced President Yoweri Museveni from an alleged plan by the Ugandan Government to overthrow the Rwanda Government, a defining phase in transforming a relationship that had become edgy over the years.
Ties have been progressively very chilly following the 1990s Kisangani clashes when armies of the allies fought deadly battles in the DR Congo. Matters were aggravated in the first part of this decade when dissidents opposed to either government found safe haven across their common border.
Amb. Patrick S. Mugoya, the Permanent Secretary has issued a statement on Monday evening disregarding the coup reports appeared in a local newspaper Red Pepper on Monday quoting a Rwandan online publication Rushyashya.
Ambassodor Mugoya said: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has learned, with dismay, of the Red Pepper cover story carried on Monday November 20, 2017 with the headline “M7 plotting to overthrow Kagame – Rwanda” in which the Red Pepper reproduces a malicious article by a Rwandan online publication “Rushyashya” of an alleged plan by the Ugandan Government to overthrow the Rwanda Government.”
“The Ministry dismisses, with contempt, allegations carried by any media publications or platforms to the effect that relations between Rwanda and Uganda are anything but strong and cordial.”
“The Ministry informs the citizens of both Uganda and Rwanda that the continuous innuendo by the likes of “Rushyashya” and various other media outlets both in Uganda and Rwanda, including the Red Pepper is mischievous at best, irresponsible at worst and meant to sow discord between our two sister nations. The Ministry condemns such abuse of the communication platforms they are privileged to manage.”
“The Ministry calls upon the public to ignore any alleged “list of grievances against Uganda by Rwanda” which is expertly planted and regurgitated in various media outlets by diabolical sources, as though it were factual. There has been no concern raised through the agreed official channels by either State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has no reason to suggest anything to the contrary.”
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically states that bilateral ties between Uganda and Rwanda remain solid and Rwanda remains a strategic partner to Uganda in both our visions for integration and for peace and security in the region.”
“It should be clearly emphasized that there are agreed avenues, procedures and mechanisms through which any discontentment or misunderstandings between both our countries may be raised as well as addressed. The media is not one of them.”
Big brother Kampala betraying Kigali
Kampala is reacting to a situation marred by media reports of strained relations between the two neighbours accelerated by the arrest and arraignment of senior police officers before a Uganda army court has revealed how uneasy relations are between Ugandan security agencies and how this may have a bearing on affairs.
Prior to the Kagame overthrow allegations, commentators focused largely on the thorny issue of Rwandan dissidents that Kigali suspects have been offered support by the Ugandan government. The two countries, however, downplayed this until this month when up to nine people, including senior police officers, were rounded by by CMI and are being investigated for allegedly kidnapping the former bodyguard of President Kagame. A Rwandan ex-general and a Congolese national have also been charged with espionage in connection with the case. It’s feared the arrests could put new strain on relations between Kampala and Kigali.
“To me, I think it’s long overdue,” David Himbara, a Professor of International Development in Toronto, Canada, said about the broken ties.
For him, the case is yet another example of Rwanda’s interference in the domestic affairs of another country. “I think they should go back to 2011, with the death of Charles Ingabire.”
Ingabire was a journalist who fled Rwanda to seek refuge in Kampala before being murdered. “That’s when things really began to evolve,” says Himbara. “It seems to me that Rwanda has this view that Uganda is an extension of its own territory where it has a free hand to go and kidnap people and kill people.”
Rwanda’s ambassador Frank Mugambage was not immediately available for comment to respond to these accusations that Kigali is breaching Uganda’s sovereingty.