Opinion: Did Gen. Muhoozi forget the “sports”? [the M23 tweets can damage the trust between Kampala and Kinshasa]

If he was tweeting on sports — things which are not controversial — that would not be a problem; but to talk about other countries or even the partisan politics of Uganda, that he must not do” – President Yoweri Tibuhurwa Kaguta Museveni (14.10.2022).

KINSHASA, May 28 (Xinhua) — The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has decided to classify the March 23 Movement (M23) as a terrorist group, a DRC government spokesperson said late Friday. “The M23 is now considered as a terrorist group and will be treated in the way (we treat the terrorists),” Patrick Muyaya said at a press conference after a national security committee session chaired Friday by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi” (Xinhua – ‘DRC classifies M23 rebels as terrorists’ 28.05.2022).

Again and again, General Muhoozi Kainerubaga goes on a rampage on social media and yet again on his Twitter page. This time he isn’t saying it’s easy to invade Kenya or speaks of admiration of ladies. No, his going in again and deliberately taking part in diplomatic works in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The General today has defended the Mouvement du Mars 23 (M23) which the FARDC is fighting in North Kivu province. While the UPDF is together with the FARDC is in a mission going after the ADF in the DRC. So, we are seeing the General is openly going to war against one rebellion and one militia, but defending another. The other has already the origins and support from both Kigali and Kampala. Therefore, the latest support of Muhoozi can question the regime’s direct support of the M23 within the DRC.

We know the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and even President Museveni will end up with writing a letter to President Tshisekedi. There is no reason for the National Resistance Movement (NRM) or the Government of Uganda for that matter to support M23 in public. We know the UPDF and the GoU has supported the M23 in the past. The cantonment of former soldiers or combatants was stationed in Uganda. That happened after the Nairobi Accords and later these has been able to flee or re-locate in the DRC. Therefore, the General is maybe saying the silent part out loud.

In this regard… Muhoozi is playing with fire. He is humbling an ally, which they are fighting together with elsewhere in the DRC. If Kinshasa is coming out with a hasty press conference or even wanting an answer from the Ugandan ambassador. That all makes sense.

Since these words are not only from the Son of the President. His the Senior Presidential Advisor on Special Operation and former Commander of Land Forces. He has relevance and means within the army and the government. A man of his stature should know how Kinshasa looks and has designated M23. That Muhoozi says M23 isn’t a terrorist group is directly challenging Tshisekedi.

Will Kinshasa accept this? Is Kampala in on it all along? There was all sorts of speculations when M23 came back into the picture. The M23 is and has been supported of both Kigali and Kampala. That is proven and no one can deny that in 2022. However, who is behind them right now and who has financed it this time around.

Now with the latest rant of Muhoozi. We can wonder if there was something more directed from Kampala. That wouldn’t shocking or earth shattering, but the ones in-charge in Kinshasa should be worried. Since, the UPDF is participating and already allowed within it’s borders. If a General and a High Ranking Official is defending a militia and a terrorist organization on your soil. You know there is more to this…

President Museveni has soon to fly out to Kinshasa. He got to meet President Tshisekedi and make amends. This sort of statement or uttering is only deteriorating the relations. When these are supposed to be strengthen by the joint operation. Instead, Muhoozi is acting like this and recklessly too. Peace.

Opinion: Mugumya arrested as a ADF in 2014, but released in 2022 as a M23…

What happened in Beni?

I found officers from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence who interrogated me about the Allied Democratic Forces. One of the most painful things I witnessed is someone die out of suffocation and unfortunately I leaned against his dead body for the entire night.

How did you know they were CMI operatives? Were they clad in uniform?

They had army uniform and they introduced themselves to me as such. On the first day, they were two. They asked if I had links with ADF then shortly after said I was coming to link up with the People’s Redemption Army. I told them I was just running away from your brutal regime. On the second day, another set of three CMI operatives came. I remained in Beni for three weeks before I was called for a joint interrogation between Congolese authorities and CMI. They debated if to bring us back to Uganda or hold us in Congo” (Ivan Okuda – ‘I was arrested while fleeing to exile, says Mugumya, 19.12.2015, Black – Journalist, Cursive – Mugumya, Daily Monitor).

You know when are story is too good to be true, it’s most likely not true. The story of Sam Mugumya will be one for the ages. The sudden way he was kidnapped, taken-away in October in 2014 and later found out to be in custody in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo in November 2014. He also spent time in a prison in Kisangani as well. Before he was transferred from there to Kinshasa and Ndolo Military Prison, where he spent most of the time behind bars until his released on the 21st October 2022.

Mugumya spent 8 years in custody. As he was arrested for involvement in the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF-NALU). As he was supposed rebel with a fictitious name: “Katembo Mukiga William”. There was also additional factors put into play like he was having either “cargo” or “bags of monies”. Which have never been proven or evidence for the public to see. Therefore, a lot of hearsay and never any real given fact.

Now 8 years later in the documents released as his free. They are now claiming he was involved or participated in the Mouvement du Mars 23 (M23). That is in contrast to the reported connection to the ADF-NALU, which was rumoured for years.

Mugumya himself said he was arrested, as he was fleeing to exile himself. The Dr. Kizza Besigye aide was trying to get to freedom, but instead was sent to the slammer abroad. The Observer reported this back in 2014:The army spokesman, Lt Col Ankunda, said then that Mugumya had been found in possession of dollars and was suspected to be involved in subversive activities” (Edris Kiggundu – ‘Where is FDC’s Sam Mugumya?’ 11.11.2014, The Observer).

There are so many words, but nothing definite. What is likely is that the authorities apprehended him within Uganda and kidnapped him. Because, no one knew where he was and he suddenly disappeared. Later to be find in custody in Beni (DRC) which means the authorities of Uganda did help him cross and get detained there. It happened in such a manner, that he never returned and was a suspected rebel or a militia member.

That’s why you know these stories don’t add up. It is total fabrication and an injustice served Sam Mugumya’s way. He has been a victim of his activism and association with Besigye. If he hadn’t been a part of Reform Agenda and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). He wouldn’t be here. The authorities targeted him, because the likes of him was the future. We are seeing that happening today with associates of the National Unity Platform (NUP) who are kidnapped and disappearing for the public sphere. Therefore, Mugumya is just a representation of the oppression the government of Uganda is doing. While they where able to use the Courts and Prisons to silence Mugumya for years.

It is a long time to be paying the price for doing the right thing. Mugumya has paid a huge price and it has cost. Back in the day he was ADF and now his M23. You just know the whole thing is made up. That’s the gist of it.

What is tragic is that Mugumya spent 8 years behind bars and only because of political affiliation. He was a target and a means to an end. That’s why he was kidnapped and never returned to Uganda. Mugumya lingered in jail because of who he was affiliated with. That was all the authorities needed and Military Court could find excuses to keep him behind bars too. It took years before he went to trail and now that his released. The story has changed again.

I wonder where the “cargo” and where the “dollars” went. If they even existed. Secondly, the UPDF spokesman Paddy Ankunda better have his story straight now. Especially, if his asked about this. It’s all a unique situation and this sort of thing has to be tested.

This is injustice and Sam Mugumya has been scarred, he has been tested and worse, he paid a price of losing eight valuable years. He lost so much time in detention, instead of being free and a voice of reason. His now free, but his story needs to be told. As it is a story on how the authorities targets dissidents. Peace.

Azerbaijan: Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Lithuania – Statement of the Azerbaijani Youth Organization of Lithuania (AYOL) regarding the large-scale sabotage attacks committed by the Armenian Army on September 12, 2022 (14.09.2022)

Armenia: Centre for Armenian Information and Advice (CAIA) – Azerbaijani Offensives Against Armenia (14.09.2022)

Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF): Salary Enhancement for UPDF Personnel (12.07.2022)

Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF): Operation Shujaa Update (05.07.2022)

DR Congo: UN envoy calls for strategy to address root causes of conflict (30.03.2022)

Civilian losses and displacement of populations have increased because of bloody reprisals by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants.

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 30, 2022 – Amid deteriorating security in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the top UN envoy in the country has called for a comprehensive political strategy that includes measures to address the structural causes of the conflicts.

Bintou Keita, who heads the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), was briefing the Security Council on Tuesday, on recent developments there.

She said that only three months into this year, nearly 2,300 civilian deaths had been recorded in the country’s eastern provinces. “This is proof of the inherent limits of only having security operations to resolve conflicts,” she said.

Armed groups

Ms. Keita said the security situation in the country’s east has deteriorated despite the joint military operations against armed groups by the national security forces, known as the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), which was joined by the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).

She said civilian losses and displacement of populations have increased because of bloody reprisals by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants.

In the past three months, there has been an alarming increase in activities by the M23 rebel movement in North Kivu. On Monday, M23 elements carried out horrific attacks, targeting civilians in communities near Rutshuru.

In North Kivu, the situation has worsened because of the use of improvised explosive devices by the ADF. On 11 March, its leadership renewed its allegiance to Da’esh. MONUSCO has also documented a 10 per cent increase in human rights violations and attacks, since last December.

Helicopter crash: Investigation launched

Earlier on Tuesday, the mission reported that a search and rescue operation was underway, after a Puma helicopter lost contact with MONUSCO and crashed in the restive North Kivu region.

Speaking at the regular noon briefing, UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said there had been eight people on board, including six crew members – all from the Pakistani military – and two military personnel – one from Russia, and another from Serbia.

They had been on a reconnaissance mission in the area of Tshanzu, south-east of Rutshuru – the scene of recent clashes between Congolese forces and M23.

“An investigation is underway. We will update you as soon as more information becomes available”, Mr. Dujarric said.

“Our thoughts are obviously with the families and friends of those onboard the helicopter, and all of our colleagues of the UN Mission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Civilians increasingly vulnerable

Ms. Keita sounded the alarm in the Security Council over the considerable erosion of the protection of sites for displaced persons as well as frequent attacks against medical services and other civilian infrastructure.

In the face of these security changes, MONUSCO has redoubled its efforts to better protect civilians in Ituri, working jointly with FARDC/UPDF, deploying support units for FARDC to increase the deterrent effect against M23 in North Kivu.

The Mission is also pursuing mobile deployments to protect displaced persons in South Kivu, she said.

However, without a combined approach addressing both the causes and the symptoms, the efforts of both the United Nations and Congolese forces will remain insufficient, she emphasized, adding that in Tanganyika province, the Mission is closely monitoring the evolution of the security dynamics ahead of its scheduled withdrawal in June.

DRC: Joint Press Release from UPDF & FARDC – Sinister plans to discredit Operation Shujja (10.01.2022)

DRC: Joint Press release from FARDC and UPDF on the Operation Shujaa (11.12.2021)

Opinion: Okello Oryem is mocking the wrong partners with MONUSCO

In an Interview with NTV this morning, the minister for foreign affairs in charge of international relations Okello Oryem said Uganda “does not need the help of the UN” which he says they consider as a “useless group” that has allegedly preserved terrorism in Congolese soil. “We have no good words for them, they have been there for long but what have they done? As far as we are concerned, we do not want their military assistance, even if they offer us a cup of tea, we do not need it,” said Mr Oryem” (Ritah Kemigisa – ‘Uganda doesn’t need UN’s help for DRC mission- Oryem’ 02.12.2021, KFM.co.ug).

The hubris and the arrogance is clear as the Minister Henry Okello Oryem who is is now downplaying the role of United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), which is starting their gradual exit strategy from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). MONUSCO is based in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu, which the UN based mission is to stop the militias with disarmament and demobilization of them. In such a way, that the MONUSCO is there to be the civilians’ protection.

It is really striking that the Ugandan Minister is mocking and not wanting to work with MONUSCO now. This mission was first established in 1999 as MONUC and got a new mandate in 2010. While in 2020 the mandate changed and they are starting already to back-out. Therefore, the UN Mission is dwindling down. As well, as there are new militias and foreign interference in the region of which the Ugandan army entered yet again.

MONUSCO is partly created by the interference of Ugandan troops within the DRC. Not that the Ugandan armies was alone in these wars or always been welcomed to enter the DRC. The UPDF and Rwandan Defence Force (RDF) have both entered it. As well, as both nations have been involved in supporting militias, rebels and armed groups within the DRC. That is well-known and they re-appear at certain stages. Just like the UPDF have been inside the DRC before on specialized operations towards certain targets.

Okello Oryem is just showing how the Ugandans elites and the ones within the regime is thinking about it. It is their rights to attack and be part of military operations within the DRC. Since, they don’t want anything with the UN or MONUSCO. I wonder, if Okello Oryem would accept similar feelings in Somalia between the Somali National Army (SNA) and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which the latter UPDF is a pat of. I wonder, if Okello Oryem and all of the Ugandan hierarchy would like to be painted in similar fashion. Because, there is two sides to any coin and this is a foolish take.

Yes, MONUSCO isn’t perfect and neither is it’s mission. There has been continued insurgency and lack of territorial integrity, which the Ugandan and Rwandan counter-parts has supported and participated with. That is well-known and is a reason for the illegal export of resources from the provinces as well. Therefore, Okello Oryem should be a bit more humble, but I know that’s too much to ask for in 2021.

Okello Oryem could suddenly wake up and bite the dust. Since, his just showing a lot of flair. Nevertheless, we know the trouble will return and be a real issue. There isn’t only the ADF in Ituri, North and South Kivu provinces. There is several of other militias and guerrillas in the provinces and they are causing massive concern and is a silent war that never ends. They are invested in, given arms and training. This is deliberate and the joint operation will not stop this… sadly…

MONUSCO will not end this and they being gone will not stop the existence either. As long as the head of state and foreign interference for profits continues. The insecurity and usage of militias will continue.

It is like we are supposed to be naive and forget how this all started. The UPDF and RDF is responsible for a lot of the pain. The two nations have used the provinces and the DRC as a treasury chest for them. While using the same means to re-enter again and for some reason the Kinshasa government allows that to happen. This is even happening, as the State of Emergency in this regions are occurring. That is really tragic…

Okello Oryem should think about what he says. Since this could be easily said about the UPDF within the AMISOM. Which the SNA and Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) only creates more problems within Somalia. Alas, he as a diplomat should be more careful, but I don’t expect it to ever happen. Peace.

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