President Paul Kagame had a speech yesterday with the Diplomatic Corps in Kigali, Rwanda. This is the most direct his been in a while in concern of the border dispute with Uganda. That has lasted all through 2019 and continues to linger in 2020. The big-men are fighting shadow games and trading blame. While the peasants are hurt in the midst of the battling between. That part never dies in these sort of diplomatic disputes.
What was striking was a few of his remarks. I will not cover the whole speech, but give a few interesting tide-bits of it. Which is deserving a little look into and some social commentary. Because, inside the Republic everyone will eat his every word and to many are paid to do his praises abroad. So, something gotta give, in this case, me.
Here we go:
“ This is what has happened between Rwanda and Uganda in the recent days. We have had hundreds of Rwandans arrested in Uganda. And we have raised this matter with Ugandan authorities. We have families of hundreds of families coming and appealing to us asking why don’t you ask Uganda to release our people. And that matter has been raised with Uganda repeatedly, several times, by different layers of our administration. I myself travelled there” (Kagame, 29.01.2020).
“As that is happening, and I am calling it good progress — forget about the other stories of how they have been mistreated — the other side says, you see we have shown a good gesture. Now you must also do something. We say, what? Something that tells Rwandans to start traveling to Uganda. And I asked one of the officials who came to see me and told me that: I can easily say that, make a statement that you released nine people, everything is okay, you can start going to Uganda. I told this official, suppose I start doing that, and the next day and another day more Rwandans are arrested and those still in custody are not released. Are you suggesting I would go tell these Rwandans, you know what, I was deceived. Again stop going there” (Kagame, 29.01.2020).
“What I am being asked to do is say Rwandans can start comfortably going to Uganda. That’s what I am being asked. And I am holding on to that because I am not yet comfortable that I can tell Rwandans to start doing that. That they won’t be arrested and relatives will then come tell me you put our relatives and friends into trouble” (Kagame, 29.01.2020).
These three paragraphs are the most striking in the whole speech in concern with the spat and dispute between Rwanda and Uganda. As the Rwandan President have never been so clear during the whole process. His now totally assaulting the way the Ugandan counterparts are treating the Rwandan citizens on its soil. The President is directly saying the Ugandan authorities are illegally arresting, detaining and selecting Rwandans on the border.
There are evidence of a certain amount of Rwandan captives and arrested people, both in the hands of ESO (External Security Organization), ISO (Internal Security Organization) CMI (Chief of Military Intelligence) and other agencies, both in safe-houses and gazetted facilities. Some have been through the legal system, some are conspiring terrorist and spies, which have been detained by CMI and ESO for those reasons. These cases are usually following other procedures, which should be known to the former Acting Chief of Military Intelligence (CMI) in Uganda and now President of Rwanda. So, if someone knows this game and knows his former ally Museveni. Kagame knows, but instead speak in small riddles.
Kagame knows and has an idea, but trying to act aloof and act innocent in all of this. Like his border patrol and others haven’t done anything of sort. That the Rwandan counterparts haven’t attacked nor shown aggression towards the Ugandan. Which by all counts is hogwash. They have both acted in ill fate, but the Rwandan President trying to clean his dirty hands too. It might work on his propaganda stations, but not with me.
Kagame, you better start talking to Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Museveni better start talking to you. So, you to can settle your grievances and hurt, maybe even kiss and make-up. Then after that tell each other war stories, which would a moment of nostalgia between the too gentlemen. Peace.
Today, was the rescheduled 2nd Ad-Hoc Meeting, which was supposed to happen in October, but since then been postponed. This has all happen since the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding was signed on the 21st August 2019 and the first meeting was in the middle September in Kigali. Today, it was in Uganda, as the parties met together with the other stakeholders too.
Well, the parties couldn’t resolve anything. They couldn’t even drop a joint communique from the 2nd Ad-Hoc Meeting. The MoU isn’t a legally binding document, neither was the first joint communique from September. However, the breakdown today is surely not the signs in the stars that the public needs.
The Rwandan and Ugandan parties are not able to settle grievances, they are not able to negotiate or even talk. Not even for the PR perspective. They were together and had the opportunity to settle things, instead they are back-stepping and mudding the waters more.
The various dignitaries today cannot proud of their work, neither for themselves or for the East African Community in general. This is putting a hold on a needed relations, as they are neighbours and will be connected whether they like it or not. If it is the ego of the head of states. If it is the grudges from the past.
This is not only a border dispute, the way both republic’s a treating their citizens. It is also about the possible shadow-war done in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The spoils of militias inside there, which the parties doesn’t want to put on the table. Neither also take responsibility for. Because, that means knowingly taking responsibility for in the insecurity, they both are promising to help, all of the time.
These two parties needs to settle it and the citizens are paying the price, the traders and border regions are hurt by this. The Uganda-Rwanda tensions needs to be resolved, as there been a long stalemate and need to figure the next few steps. The stakeholders needs to put forward steps and timelines. If not this will drag-on into 2021 or even escalate further by possible violence at a border point. Which has already occurred, but if it happens again. It might be more than just letters of warning between the parties. But actual further actions made, which none of us wants to see. Peace.
“You cannot be here benefitting from the peace and security that we have created, that we have paid for in blood over many years and then you do things behind our backs and cause us problems. We will put you where you belong, there is no question about it” – President Paul Kagame (14.11.2019).
Today is yet another snag in the relations and the growing tensions between the Republic of Rwandan and the Republic of Uganda. Where the two big-men’s pride continue to stride and cost for the public. This is after yet more questionable deaths at the border point between Rwanda and Uganda this weekend.
In September 2019, the parties had agreed to hold a second Ad-Hoc Meeting, but by mid-October there was nothing in sight. The Rwandan diplomats and such was crying foul, but nothing happened about it. They were awaiting an invitation for a meeting, but now that it has come. The Rwandan parts has cancelled the Second Ad-Hoc Meeting in mid-November 2019.
This is all happening after the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties on the 21st August 2019. Therefore, the whole time after this there been no change between the parties. As the border points are closed. The lack of trade and the closure of movement, which has happen because of allegations and finding of illegal arrests of Rwandan citizens inside Uganda. And the support of militias to undermine Kigali. Clearly, the parties have a lot of things to work with combined with the measures made by Rwanda, with closure of border, suspend trade and also violent attacks across the border points towards Ugandan citizens. This is all creating a uneasy field and tensions between the Republics.
This has now happen during most of this calendar year, since the start in about March 2019. That is why this is an continuation of the policies and the acts of both governments. The lack of trust and the playing games. Doesn’t make this better and shows the value of an MoU. Which is at this point worthless, as the Ad-Hoc Commission is doing nothing to settle the score nor making the parties work together. That is why since September 2019, there been no progress or proof of finding any middle ground. To stop either insurgencies, to support militias, to stop the policies of trade and everything else. The supposed aliens and spies from Kigali in Kampala too. All of this is creating an uneasy atmosphere.
What we are learning with time is that the egos of Museveni and Kagame is strong. As none of them is backing down and is warning each other. The Republics and the egos are now spiralling this out. They are not only testing the grounds, but there are already victims there. That has been on both sides of border and this will continue. As long as they are doing this to each other.
Today’s revelation of the cancellation of the second Ad-Hoc Meeting isn’t only a worry, but shows that Rwandans are answering the warning note after the fatalities during the weekend. This is happening after mid last month, they were awaiting an invitation to another meeting. Therefore, the last Kigali meeting of September is the last word for now.
Both Kagame and Museveni needs to talk, sit down properly, kiss and make-up. They got to not only make a worthless document and a process, which creates nothing. That is futile and a waste of time. They need to negotiate and actually iron these things out. Since, this cost innocent civilians, this costs trade and also suspects illegal activity by both parties. Which is again infusing more uncertainty between the neighbours, which should be more friendly between brothers. Now, they are making small battles and small tiny victories, but nobody is really winning. As they are just postponing either diplomacy or filling the chambers with guns.
We rather hope for peace, not war. But these two are warlords who rules the Republics. They are known for militias, warfare and using armed personnel to get their way. Back-in-the-day, they worked together, but now the pride is going to their head. They want to be on top and be the big-man of the region. Neither want to look small compared to the other. That is how it seems. Instead of settling the difference and just talk. Peace.