To ensure stable relations between Uganda and Rwanda, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has started cracking the whip against all critics and enemies of President Paul Kagame and his RPF government residing in Uganda.
In February this year, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Special Presidential Advisor on Special Operations and Commander, Land Forces, who since the beginning of the year has been leading Uganda’s efforts to normalize relations with Rwanda, promised to neutralize elements and negative forces including the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) that are fighting President Kagame using Uganda.
Gen Muhoozi revealed the Rwanda National Congress almost caused a ‘stupid war’ between Uganda and Rwanda.
“General Kayumba and RNC, I don’t know what problems you had in Rwanda with the mainstream RPF/RDF? But I warn you not to dare use my country for your adventures!” Gen. Muhoozi tweeted, sharing a picture of President Paul Kagame.
Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa reportedly heads RNC that has openly declared war against the RPF government. He is the leader of the P5 rebel group active in Fizi and Uvira territories in South Kivu.
The P5 is a coalition of Rwandan opposition groups including the Amahoro People’s Congress (AMAHORO-PC), the Forces démocratiques unifées-Inkingi (FDU INKINGI), the People’s Defence Pact-Imanzi (PDP-IMANZI), the Social Party-Imberakuri (PS IMBERAKURI), RUD-Urunana and the Rwanda National Congress (RNC).
Muhoozi added in his tweet; “This is not about political points. I have no interest in politics. The illegal and criminal activities of RNC in Uganda in the past were driving us to a stupid war! All those who were involved in that deceitful enterprise will be found out!”
Consequently, the First Son has started hunting down all enemies of President Kagame. Apparently, Gen Muhoozi wants Kagame’s enemies to leave Uganda.
On Saturday, April 2, 2022, Gen Muhoozi tweeted that the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence had deported Robert Mukombozi, whom he called an enemy of both Uganda and Rwanda.
On Sunday, April 3, 2022, Robert Mukombozi, a former Ugandan journalist posted on his facebook page that for the second time, Rwanda’s President Gen. Paul Kagame tried unsuccessfully to “kidnap me in Uganda over the past weekend.” He added, “First, it was Nairobi & now Kampala!”
AFP reported that Ugandan authorities had deported a leading figure in a banned Rwandan opposition group, Rwanda National Congress. Chimp Reports reported that Mukombozi was head of the RNC chapter in Australia.
Commenting on his comment via facebook, Mukombozi said that “details were false” meaning that in his opinion he was not deported but was rather running from Kagame’s kidnappers.
Exactly one month later, another suspected Kagame critic has reportedly been contained. Mr Obed Katurebe, who works with the Uganda Media Centre, has reportedly been detained by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.
The Rwandan authorities believe Obed Katurebe is the author behind the RPF Gakwerere blog that publishes negative propaganda against the RPF government Rwanda.
Rwanda says Obed’s grievances emanate from the fact that he is a nephew of RNC co-founder late Patrick Karegeya, who was assassinated by alleged Rwandan agents.
Under the facebook account-Robert Patrick Fati Gakwerere page-the author wrote; “Yesterday, on 2nd May 2022, at around 1:15 PM when LDU operative Muhoozi Kainerugaba decided to kidnap Mr Obed Katureebe, I knew about it, and I know what sparked his final decision to kidnap him despite remotely knowing that Mr Obed Katureebe isn’t me. We all know Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s weakness, he has always lacked critical thinking, unintelligent character.
“When Muhoozi Kainerugaba briefed the kidnapping team at around 2:00 PM, I knew about it and I know each person who kidnapped Mr Obed Katureebe. When Mr Obed Katureebe was arrested at around 3:35, I knew about it. When Mr Obed Katureebe arrived at Kisaasi, I knew about it. I know all the questions that Muhoozi has sent to his operatives to question him. It’s not the first time that Mr Obed Katureebe has been questioned for being me, Corporal RPF Gakwerere.”
However, Obed Katurebe’s boss, Ofwono Opondo, the Executive Director of Uganda Media Centre said his subordinate was not under detention but protective custody.
“Obed is under security protection because of threats allegedly against his person details of which am yet to be provided with. I have been assured that he’s safe and not under arrest,” Mr Opondo said and later added, “I can confidently state that Obed Katureebe matter is being handled appropriately and professionally with those concerned. I will update the media when necessary.”
The arrest of Obed Katurebe and the deportation of Mukombozi have sparked panic within the RNC community forcing some of the elements into disarray.
Sulah Nuwamanya, a former journalist with the RPF-owned The New Times, but currently a top critic of President Kagame based in Uganda, has even appealed to Gen Muhoozi not to arrest him.
Sulah Nuwamanya and his business partner Prossy Boonabana are alleged to be RNC coordinators in Uganda and sponsors of the anti-Kigali rhetoric on social media and have toned down their vitriol.
The two run a Non-Governmental Organization, Self-Worth Initiative, which seeks to provide assistance to vulnerable people including refugees. But Rwanda claims the organization NGO operates RNC terror cell in Uganda.
Rwanda particularly accuses Nuwamanya of being instrumental in coordinating Abaryankunda group, a small terror cell in Kampala.
“We are your fellow Africans and more so am your fellow Musiita and Muchwezi by extension, if you kidnap me for a job of your uncle, the gods and God almighty will judge you,” he wrote on his facebook page.
In the past few days, all RNC elements turned their guns against Gen Muhoozi for reviving warm relations between Uganda and Rwanda, a development that would disrupt the activities of the Rwandan rebel group.
RNC elements teamed up via social media platforms to malign Gen Muhoozi and counter his latest tweets.
“We are going to take MK [Muhoozi Keinerugaba] to court for threatening the peace of refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda especially those from Rwanda. His tweets are not causing sleeps but fear,” said Sulah Wakabiligi Nuwamanya, who has consistently been insulting Lt.Gen.Muhoozi on social media.
According to Taarifa, a Rwandan online news site, Nuwamanya has allegedly been conducting meetings with ex-FDLR fighters in Kampala and some of RUD-Urunana members assuring them that Gen Muhoozi would soon be dropped from the army.
“He has been assuring them that what’s happening between Rwanda and Uganda has nothing to do with President Yoweri Museveni and alerted them of upcoming army reshuffle where Museveni will be dropping Lt.Gen. Muhoozi,” Taarifa reported.
It appears Sulah Nuwamanya is worried he could be the next target after Rwandan authorities included him on the list of those that should be extradited to Rwanda and be prosecuted.
It should be noted that for Rwanda to fully open her border with Uganda, Gen Muhoozi committed himself to removing barriers that were holding back the two countries. The major barriers include making it exceedingly risky for Rwandan negative forces to use Uganda as a base for their activities and also for Kampala authorities to stop harassing Rwandan citizens.
That is why on March 16, Rwanda Government Spokesperson, Ms Yolande Makolo, published on her tweeter account some of the most wanted operating on Ugandan territory.
“Despite all the positivity and progress of the second visit to Kigali by Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, there’s still need to pay attention to underlying unresolved issues, raised from the start, of known hostile persons bent on destabilizing Rwanda, still operating in Uganda. Also pending is continued hateful media propaganda produced by Uganda-based individuals including Obed Katurebe aka Robert Patrick Fati Gakwerere, Sula Nuwamanya, Gerald Tindifa, Robert Higiro, Asiimwe Kanamugire, etc. We patiently await action by Ugandan authorities on this unfinished business,” the government of Rwanda spokesperson, Ms Yolande Makolo tweeted on March 16.
As Gen Muhoozi continues to crack the whip, spectators wait to see how other government agencies cooperate to consolidate gains in mending relations with Rwanda.
Rwanda fully reopened the Gatuna border with Uganda, ending a three-year impasse on the Northern Corridor, one of East Africa’s key transport arteries that funnel goods from the Indian Ocean seaport of Mombasa to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
On January 22, President Kagame met Lt. General Muhoozi. Three days after the visit, in a gesture of goodwill, Museveni replaced intelligence chief Major General Abel Kandiho, who is considered in Kigali as “anti-Rwanda”. Three days later, Rwanda announced a partial reopening of the Gatuna/Katuna border crossing.
But on 31 January, Rwandan deputy government spokesman Alain Mukuralinda told Rwanda TV that Uganda had not yet addressed all of Kigali’s grievances.
Gatuna Border Post finally reopened after three years of closure on Monday, March 7, paving way for traffic across the border located in Gicumbi District.
The reopening was part of the implementation of a directive by the cabinet issued on Friday March 4, that all land borders linking Rwanda to neighbouring countries would reopen on Monday.
But this was after Muhoozi tweeted that he would be visiting Rwanda again to “sort out all outstanding issues between Uganda and Rwanda”. “After a long discussion with my uncle, President Kagame, this morning we have agreed that I will return to Kigali in the coming days to sort out all outstanding issues between Uganda and Rwanda,” Lt. Gen. Muhoozi tweeted on February 28, 2022. Gen Muhoozi visited Rwanda the second time on March 14.
Then on April 25, President Kagame visited Uganda for the first time in nearly four years, a clear sign of thawing relations between the two countries. Kagame privately visited Uganda to attend Gen Muhoozi’s 48th birthday celebrations. And a number of issues were resolved between the two leaders including mobilizing troops for a regional force.
Rwanda is expected to host the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting between June 20 and 26. Sources indicate Kigali is looking forward to hosting the highly prized meeting and its conflicts with neighbours Uganda and Burundi seem to have caused discomfort among the Commonwealth states.