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Uganda-Rwandan Tensions Part IV: A blame game whose behind the kidnapping at the Queen Elizabeth National Park!

On the 3rd April 2019 there was two Americans kidnapped at the Queen Elizabeth National Park. There been speculations about whose behind it and who claimed the ransom for the disappearance of them. The information is still not clear, as both the Security Agencies are keeping information close to their chest. But also, the willingness of adversaries to spell the beans of ill-will of the other party.

As the Uganda-Rwandan tensions continues. That is why I will show supposed intelligence from both Virunga Post and Command1Post, which both are based respectfully in Rwandan and Ugandan hemisphere. They are clear indication of what the different parties believes, plus Daily Monitor explanation of what happened, but we don’t have the whole story.

Here is what we have for now.

How it Happened: “On Tuesday, at around 5.30pm, Mr Natukunda says he received phone calls from people in the national park informing him that tourists had been abducted. On further inquiry, Mr Natukunda says he was told that about four people in a vehicle had gone on a game drive around Edward Flats (flat area close to Lake Edward) not far from to the Uganda-DR Congo border had been abducted. “I was told by camp (lodge) operators that this was a family of two elderly parents and their daughter; that they had gone to the park without informing the administration of the camp and had no armed escorts,” Mr Natukunda said. He says the normal practice is that tourists go on game drives with armed rangers and guides. “That (driving unaccompanied) was a mistake because going on game drive without security is not the usual practice,” Mr Natukunda stresses. The kidnappers took with them Ms Kimberly and their guide, but left behind her parents, Mr Julius Martin and his wife Barbel. Mr Natukunda speculates that the kidnappers might have decided they did not want to move long distances in the jungles with elderly people, who have limited physical energy, but that their decision could have been informed by a desire to leave the parents behind so that they mobilise the ransom money” (Tumushabe & Kinene, 2019)

Ugandan Unverified information:

The Rwandans are said to have been travelling in three mini-buses registration numbers UBD 338V, UBA 841D, and UBE 325P. Some did not have clear travel documents, raising suspicion. The regional police commander Rwenzori East Vincent Mwesigye refused to disclose the identities of detained. Mwesigye said their arrest was now a bigger issue that could be handled at senior level. “There is no comment I can give you at the moment,” Mwesigye said. Journalists could hardly be allowed to enter the police station to interview some of the suspects” (Command1Post, 2019)

Rwandan Unverified information:

Sources who intimated to us revealed a deliberate plan by CMI, which has specifically been cited in facilitating Rwandans to join a rebel outfit in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to train as they continue to prepare to attack and destabilize Rwanda. The recruits are channeled through Uganda with facilitation of CMI to join training bases in DRC, as established by a UN Mapping Report in December last year. “In trying to analyze this scenario, one should not look further than the Kikagati incident where in 2017, a similar number was arrested on the Tanzanian border with Uganda headed for the same training camps,” a source said on condition of anonymity” (…) “Our source further said that by trying to gag the local police that arrested the group, and blocking the media from seeing the suspects, they are deliberately avoiding the Kikagati debacle that was a smack in the face of CMI. Because of the attention the group got, the authorities in Uganda were forced to process them through courts but the case was later bungled and the suspects reportedly released. “The less the world knows about the group, the better for them,” said the source” (Muhumuza, 2019).

We can see that there is conflicting stories, but one thing that combines the two spheres of information. That the Rwandan are claiming to keep it low-key for the sake of the world, while the Ugandan doesn’t want to disclose to much. Which is a nice combo.

However, in this sense, the Security Agencies says this is to be dealt with at the Senior Level, while they are trying to cover-up the connections to groups silently supported by the Ugandan government to destabilize Rwanda. Alas, we don’t know this, because this information is not put into the public.

The states are clearly using their platforms to strike against each other. In this instance, we cannot know what is true or not. Because, the stories aren’t adding up. While the US Tourists is caught in the cross-fire.

Time will tell, what is the real deal, but we are seeing the parties are playing shadow-games with each other. Who knows what is truth at this point, because they are both playing with fire. Peace.

Reference:

Command1Post – ‘Fingers Point At Kigali on American Tourist Kidnap As 40 Rwandans Are Nabbed in National Park’ 05.04.2019, link: https://command1post.com/index.php/2019/04/05/fingers-point-at-kigali-on-american-tourist-kidnap-as-40-rwandans-are-nabbed-in-national-park/

Muhumuza, Alex – ‘Could the Queen Elizabeth National Park tourist kidnap be an inside job by UPDF?’ 06.04.2019, link: https://virungapost.com/could-the-queen-elizabeth-national-park-tourist-kidnap-be-an-inside-job-by-updf/

Tumushabe, Alfred & Kinene, Edson – ‘The slow, tense hunt for kidnapped tourist, guide’ 07.04.2019, Link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/The-slow-tense-hunt-kidnapped-tourist-guide/688334-5060092-qfpkvs/index.html

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Uganda Red Cross Volunteers at Kyanika Border attempts to save a life of un-identified Rwandese woman (27.03.2019)

Opinion: Museveni, a man of accidents…

Greetings from the people of Uganda and from myself. I am writing to let you know that by accident, I, at last, had a meeting with a Rwandan who admitted to being a member of the group you told me about – Rwanda National Congress (RNC)” Yoweri Kaguta Museveni letter to Paul Kagame on the 10th March 2019

I am sure there was an accident that got him into the Bush-War in the 1980s, the Electoral Commission filled the wrong form and left Milton Obote at the helm by accident. They should have just given the throne to Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at once.

Another accident was him actually winning the war by the Luweero method, he never thought it would be successful. However, it worked by him duping the Baganda and promising them streets of gold. The only thing shining in the faces is having a symbolic kingdom and eating matooke.

This is the old accidents, it is time for some fresher ones. There are accidents that the President are meeting people in his State House and that his brother Salim Selah is investing in questionable business enterprises. That is just what life gives you.

Even if that means that the state is accidentally giving away passports and making rebels working against Kigali. That is just an accident too. Just like it is an accident of having meetings with the same rebels, offering weapons, crossing borders of Kisoro into the Democratic Republic of Congo and suddenly seeing the beneficiary people behind this group getting extradited after such meetings. Is so accidental.

Other random accidents are that the Gold Refinery in Uganda are producing tons more than the Republic can produce, but cannot verify its sources. Even as the porous borders to the DRC are never in question and that is just an accident too. Just like the illegal logging of wood from rainforest, ends up as toilet paper in the same republic. That is just what life gives Jajja and his businessmen, I suppose.

There are surely plenty more accident beholding the emperor and his cronies at Entebbe and beyond. Certainly, his holding accidental meetings with arms-deals trading weapons to South Sudan, offering help to Nkurunziza in Burundi and who knows elsewhere. It is all accidents happening anyway. We can never know, if it has a purpose, it is like driving over to many potholes. Sooner or later, the tires gives way and you fall astray.

That is just the way Mzee governs, especially, if you believes his recent leaked letter to New Vision. I don’t believe that, but accidents rarely happens alone. So, who knows, if he will have an accident tomorrow happening to him. Peace.

Uganda: Statement on the Alleged Closure of the Ugandan Border with Rwanda (13.03.2019)

Uganda-Rwanda Tensions Part III: Kenyatta’s Double Diplomatic Trip within 24 hours!

Today on the 11th March 2019, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta have been busy, as he visited both Kigali meeting Rwandan President Paul Kagame and later in the day at State House, Entebbe in Uganda, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

What is really special is how quickly the Kenyan President passed between the Heads of State, as well as how brief it was in Kigali and also in Entebbe. Its also special, that there was no issued statements, joint communications or anything significant dropped hours after the visits. There only been minor dropped quotes and citation in the likes of New Times Rwanda, Chimps Reports/Soft Power News, which are positive and government friendly media outlets in respective countries. Also, some acknowledgement in the Kenyan Press. However, nothing official about this.

Even though it is positive that the Kenyan President have visited Kigali and Entebbe within this short time, as the escalation and growing tensions between the state has significantly strained over the past two weeks. As the Rwandan has closed the border, the Ugandan have arrested and questioned Rwandan nationals, as the states are retaliating against each with various of measures. While not talking or having dialogue between them. As well, as even more questionable behaviour of both …

The talks today between Kenyatta and Kagame might have been pleasant, as the pictures of the event seems joyful. Also, that the cordial meeting between Museveni and Kenyatta, seemed decent enough in the circumstances. But whatever progress or whatever the talks was about. Is surely not easy to know. There was no minutes, was no official documents or any communique of any sorts, that has been released. Not even the pre-text for the 24 hours hasty meetings in Rwanda and Uganda of the Kenyan counterpart.

It is positive that Kenyatta does this, but we doesn’t know with what intention, what mandate or anything he plans to get out of this. Except he is trying to the be giant in the East Africa. The Big-Man able to settle the grievances between neighbours. Because what does it say, that Kagame and Kenyatta held a “a tête a tête” meeting for a brief while, while later holding bilateral talks at Entebbe State House with Museveni. Who knows what it produced or didn’t produce.

That is what I bugged about, because this sort of meetings shouldn’t be kept secret. The narratives, the stories and their plays should be public. For the regard of the trust between the Heads of State and their citizens. All three’s best interest are the public trust and the lack of transparency in this matter. Shows why the tensions between the state is filled with conspiracy and mistrust between both parties. Is because of the lack of open government and lack of proper consultation between the President and the general public. Peace.

Uganda-Rwanda Tensions Part II: More retaliating measures!

As we have seen over the weekend at the border points between Rwanda and Uganda. There been stoppage of trucks at Katuna Border Post. A place where the trucks been stuck and not able to cross. There are even some whose been able, but they have been fined with higher rates to cross with certain goods like maize and other exports from Uganda to Rwanda.

With this in mind, there been also higher fines on the buses with Rwandan nationals crossing into Uganda. There also been reports of more deployment of soldiers close to the border. As well as three Rwandan Generals arrested, this being Joseph Nzabamwita, Fred Ibingira and Emmanuel Ruvusha. Whose all been arrested as this tension between the Republic are spiralling.

We certainly knows that the Rwandan government is retaliating. They are making it harder for the Ugandans to cross into Rwanda. Also, as the Rwandan government warned their citizens about doing this. Therefore, the buses and trucks are paying more for crossing the borders. That means, in the end the businesses on both sides will be affected and most likely the produce and imports will be more costly for the consumers in the respective country. That is what Rwandan citizens will be doing in the end, because the Ugandan traders have to get their ends.

That is the minor scratches of this, which now is very spiteful. This is happening as there is speculations of spies, sudden arrests and even missing Rwandan nationals in Uganda. As well, as the big-man play of Yoweri Museveni who is possibly supporting rebel outfits in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the RNC and FDLR, whose sole mission is to destroy Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Paul Kagame surely won’t take that kindly and might be the reason for three General arrested recently.

Therefore, the border dispute is getting ugly. As the possible acts of the Presidents are going hard. They are ordering their security organizations and spies all over. The CMI and ISO are surely working overtime, as there reports of new editorial line at Radio Simba FM, where they are coming with spiteful chants about Rwandans. This is surely in retaliation against what is happening.

Now, there is a jam, a long line of trucks, where about 130 are waiting in line waiting to able to cross into Rwanda from Uganda. This is sure sign of how the Rwandan are looking at Uganda. Also, the way the Ugandan are able to deal with Rwanda. As this has been going on for over 4 days, and the measures on the other side is getting more restricted and costly.

There are surely some paranoia both ways, as there are possible ways to diplomatically end this dispute. Where the ones losing is the citizens and businesses. The ones not losing is the ones in power and the elites. It is the bus-passengers and the exporters whose paying the initial price. The public are pawns in the giant chess-set of their masters. The Presidents are playing their game and the pawns are the ones taken out, one by one.

Right now, the Rwandan are exercising their sovereign state activity, they are allowed to close their borders and put tariffs on imports. However, its done as a retaliating measure and not through any notification. Neither, has there seemingly been a regard for the each others nationals behind bars. Which has been used as well as reasons for this. There been no talk about the possible rebel outfits or the sponsoring of such, as that that would be on shady back-stabbing ground.

We will not know how this is going, but surely the template is that it will go on. Until one of the President humiliate himself and actually asks to talk to the other. So, that the functions of the borders goes back to normal and that they can settle the differences that is there. They are both known for playing shadow murky games. This could be more of that, we don’t know at this point. Because, they are not transparent and open about this. Since, then we would see the dark-side of their reign. Peace.

MTN Uganda Not Subjected to an ISO Raid on Friday 15 February 2019 (16.0.2019)

MTN Uganda Scandal: Why are all of these people deported?

There are speculations going on there as the biggest Telecom Company MTN Uganda Limited have been under fire since the midst of January 2019. This has been shown over the recent month, as the leadership and executives have been deported. By my count since mid of January, there been four people.

The three firsts was addressed like this by MTN Group:

MTN Uganda has not been officially notified of the grounds for these arrests and deportations and is trying to establish the precise reasons for the deportations. We are understandably concerned about these developments and the wellbeing of all our employees. MTN Uganda is fully committed to respecting and operating within the laws of the country. Notes to the editor: On Saturday, 19 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, was arrested by police at Entebbe airport upon arrival from a business trip abroad. On the morning of Monday 21 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Head of Sales and Distribution, Annie Bilenge Tabura, was arrested by unidentified security personnel upon arrival at the MTN headquarter offices, in Kololo, Kampala. Subsequently, both Mr Prentout and Mrs Bilenge have been deported from Uganda to their home countries, France and Rwanda respectively. On the 22 January 2019, Elza Muzzolini, Head of Mobile Financial Services was also deported from Uganda. – Issued by MTN Group Regulatory and Corporate Affairs” (MTN Group, 23.01.2019).

Therefore, three people has already been deported, this being Prentout, Tabura and Muzzolini. They have all been banished from the Republic. Today, it has escalated again, as CEO Wim Vanhelleputte, whose also has been interrogated and been questioned by ISO/CMI during January 2019. Was today on the 14th February 2019 deported to Belgium by the authorities.

Clearly, the state is retaliating, as they are fearing for their safety and the data shedding the company is doing. As there been speculation that the company has had disgruntled staff leaking intelligence to Rwandan Intelligence Service. This has been reported by various of online news-outlets. Therefore, some thinks it is connected to this, that the President and the regime is afraid of this. That is why these people are all deported from the Republic.

It is clear, that there something going on behind the scenes. As the Security Organizations summons, interrogate and deport MTN executives from the Republic. This is happening, as the state are trying to silence the MTN or stop leaked intelligence to Rwanda. We don’t know if that is true or what. But what we do now, is that the Ugandan government and authorities are acting swiftly and retaliates against the high-ranking officials within the Telecom. Peace.

The 200 Shillings of Doom: Tumwebaze mixed messages concerning the Social Media Tax!

We knew that the statements of 2018, as the loyal ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze hadn’t done his due diligence, as the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) issued a Social Media Tax last year after President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance asking for the opportunity to tax this.

That has no been done over the last few months, but as the realization of the effects are coming. The forewarning of CSBAG and others wasn’t listen to. I wrote that it lacked due diligence of the tax in June 2018 and today. As I open Daily Monitor and seeing that Frankie Boy has changed his ways. He has opened his eyes and seeing what some of us saw all along. As the cost of content, the cost of using social media and that this has ensured that it is less viable. Since, its the elites who can use it, but the lower level civil servants cannot afford to be online. That was natural, that the 200 shillings per day would be taken directly of the plate and also evaporate funds for investment within the Republic. It is a negative tax, and therefore, naturally have reverse effect, than what the state promised when they levied it.

Tumwebaze statement in July 2018:

When Ministry of Finance is borrowing, we, the Parliament and civil society are grilling them for borrowing. But when we say this is a sector that has grown in the economy so let’s get a bit of it, let’s get Shs. 6,000 from every holder of a smartphone consuming OTTs, what production capacity will it stifle?” (…) “Is USD 1,4 too much for a citizen to contribute to tax yet you have money to buy a smartphone, minimumly at Shs. 300,000 that is data enabled, and you load bundles of over shs. 30,000? Logically it doesn’t make sense” (Frank Tumwebaze, 17.07.2018).

Tumwebaze statemetn in January 2019:

The committee chaired by Annet Nyakecho said Over The Top tax seems to negatively affect the consumption of ICT services and products. In response, ICT Minister, Mr Frank Tumwebaze admitted that the tax is has had adverse effects on the sector. He said they were “hoodwinked” by their counterparts in the Finance Ministry that the introduction of the tax on the basis that it would widen the country’s revenue base” (Ssebuliba, 2019).

ICT Minister Tumwebaze was so positive and thinking this was the future. This was how to widen the tax-base, but instead. It has as expected made the usage of Social Media expensive. Which means also there is lack of funds for the ones operating within the Social Media and making Online Businesses. This is both happening because of the hard hitting taxes on Social Media, but also the Mobile Money Tax. Both taxes has both the Mobile Money Industry and the ICT development, as they are both having less activity and less usage. Which is natural, when the costs are going up.

The ICT Minister should have known this before speaking so warm about it. Any tax are taking money out of the system. The 200 shillings of doom is clear. The state could have listen to the advice, but didn’t open the ears to it.

In June 30 2018, Daily Monitor reported this: “Civil society organisations have accused the government of trying to stifle debate online with this tax, while others like the Civil society Budget Advocacy group CSBAG, say the tax will have a negative impact on a business.” (Hinamundi, 2018).

So, if the ICT Minister Tumwebaze could have known and stopped this. They could have done the right thing and not continued this path. Instead they have hurt the industry, because they are all blindly following the orders of the President. That is what the state did and they levied the 200 shillings of doom, as it was anticipated by anyone else. Than, the authorities itself. Peace.

Reference:

Samuel Ssebuliba – ‘Parliament orders assessment on impact of social media tax’ 18.01.2019, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Parliament-orders-assessment-impact-social-media-tax/688334-4940312-rph8g3z/index.html

Collins Hinamundi – ‘How government will collect the new social media tax’ 30.07.2018, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/How-government-will-collect-new-social-media-tax/688334-4639596-juy8n3z/index.html

Opinion: President Museveni wants more telephone surveillance and praise his OTT Tax!

I wonder if Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ever listens to himself and his own advice. Because his own words so often are compelling to his own activity. Just like yesterday, he continues his rants of wisdom. This is something from the 32 years regime, who continues to pursuit their own game. It is nothing, that seems to stop them in their ways. They are just collecting whatever they can, even when there is no proof of doing any good by doing it. They are pushing taxes on the public, without giving service delivery back. They are just taxing them and making life harder. 

President Museveni also spoke on surveillance of the Telecommunication Industry and use of Cellphone. Because he believes that the Companies are not paying their fair share. He is really proving his dictating ways and his micro-managing to the next level. He has the answers for more taxation and the answers to solve the lack of funds for the state reserves. Take a look!

The third measure is electronic monitoring of telephone calls because the telecoms have been under-declaring their revenues. URA was depending on figures provided by the companies instead of independently monitoring them” (Museveni, 23.11.2018).

Fourth, we must electronically monitor all money transfers. URA and BoU should do this. We recently started a tax on mobile money and social media. The mobile money tax was good because we had a large portion of people who are in non-monetary GDP.” (Museveni, 23.11.2018).

What is more worrying is that he wants to practically surveillance of the telecom industry. He wants to follow the airtime and cellphones, to check if the Telecommunication Companies are underwriting and lying on the usage of the telephone-services. This is furthering the opportunity of the state to follow and monitor the public, they will have the excuse to do so, by checking if the Airtel, MTN or other companies are telling the truth.

The last piece is that the President says the Mobile Money tax was positive, because it shown the amount of people who living in a non-monetary society. That the Mobile Money Tax are showing to what extent the public are living without bank-accounts and by direct cash services. That is why the Mobile Money has been important all over Uganda, because it has given people ability to pay over another platform, which wasn’t costly, but opening to transfer from instance family members in Kampala to the ones up-country.

Therefore, the Mobile Money tax has made it more costly and more of a bother. This hasn’t made it better, but made life harder. However, the President doesn’t see the good for the people, but the good for his spending in the State House. Which has grown by adding more taxes and not checking the consequences of doing so. Peace.

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