A few days ago, social media was awash with reports of Museveni training anti-Kagame Rwandese fighters. They quoted an online news outlet affiliated to the Kigali regime’s security circles. The Museveni Army’s Spokesman brushed off the reports as baseless and both the Kampala and Kigali regimes have not formally commented on the matter.
To accurately analyse the above development, one ought to take note of the following facts: –
1. The Kigali regime is dominated by Rwandese Tutsi who had for three decades stayed in Uganda as refugees. They participated in the Museveni Bush War that brought him to power in 1986. In 1990, with Museveni’s help the Rwandese refugees in the army attacked Rwanda. They fought for four years culminating into the 1994 Genocide and eventual dislodgement of the Hutu from power.
2. Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu was made the figure head President while the more powerful Paul Kagame became the Vice President and Minister of Defence. During the First Congo War, Museveni, Kagame and Burundi’s Buyoya worked closely to overthrow Zaire’s Mubutu. However, during the 2nd Congo War Museveni and Kagame disagreed and their armies fought three rounds of fierce battles in the Congolese city of Kisangani in which Museveni was humiliated.
3. Following the Kisangani humiliation, the conflict was brought to the respective capitals. Museveni accused Rwanda of financing Dr. Besigye’s presidential campaigns during the 2001 elections before
declaring it an enemy state. Museveni elevated Gen. Kaziini to take charge of the army with a sole mission of a full-scale invasion of Rwanda. Senior army officers from both sides defected to each others capitals and were facilitated for dissident activities by their respective hosts. A bloody confrontation was only thwarted by the intervention and mediation of the then UK foreign Secretary, Claire Short.
Both countries were compelled to relocate the renegade army officers to the USA and Sweden. A Joint Monitoring and Verification mechanism was put in place. The emergence of Gen. Aronda and Gen. Kayihura at the helm of Museveni’s security forces played a major role in cementing relations.
4. Kagame overthrew Bizimungu and became the President but Museveni did not like it because he preferred the former who whom he could give orders. On the surface of it, relations seemed to have improved. While Kagame broke all relations with Uganda’s opposition, Museveni maintained relations with Rwandese dissidents. While Kagame had an upper hand in terms of tactical intelligence, Museveni beat him on strategic intelligence. He managed to infiltrate and antagonise Kagame with his top Generals and confidants like Karegyeya and Kayumba.
Dissident Rwandese activists continue to enjoy residential and free movement in Uganda. Uganda hosts thousands of Rwandese refugees but interestingly some dissidents have been forcefully returned to Rwanda with full connivance of Museveni’s security apparatus. The M23 is a joint venture by Museveni and Kagame. When they were flushed out of eastern DRC they found sanctuary in both Uganda and Rwanda from where they have been helped by their hosts to sneak back into Congo for resumption of rebellion. The presence in Uganda of a prominent Rwandese dissident and financier of dissident activities, Filbert Rujugiro as a top investor in the tobacco industry is a matter of concern for Kigali.
5. Museveni’s recent appointment of Col. Kandiho as Chief of Military Intelligence yet it is an open secret that he had been the security custodian of Rwandese dissidents when he was head of the antiterrorism agency (JATT) is interesting. The most recent bouncing back of senior military
intelligence officers to take up strategic positions is a subject of serious interrogation. Col. James Kaija had been in long service as the western Uganda based 2nd Division Intelligence Officer during the days of heightened tension. He is well versed with Uganda/Rwanda/Congo border security and a close friend of Rwandese dissident, Gen. Nyamwasa. He has been brought back from distributing seeds to CMI to head the Defence Engagements.
Col. Damulira, who during the days of heightened tensions was manning Karandi/Operation Romeo (Rwanda Desks) under CMI, has been brought back from distributing seeds to CMI to head the strategic Counter Intelligence. Shortly before, Brig. Karemire and Col. Mbonye who are historically close to the Kigali establishment were dislodged from the positions of Deputy CMI. In the same regard by appointing Col. Paddy Ankunda as the Director of Strategic Communication at CMI, Brig. Karemire is being restricted from speaking for and accessing CMI.
6. Kagame’s effective management style that has put Rwanda on the world map is a source of envy by Museveni. Museveni’s poor performance is always subjected to comparison with Kagame by Ugandans.
Therefore, like is the case with South Sudan, Somalia, Congo and Burundi, Museveni would so much wish to see a failed Rwanda state so that he is called upon to find solutions for it. Kagame must be
concerned by the growing political dissent by Ugandans against the Museveni regime. He is also concerned by the growing animosity by Ugandans against Rwandese in Uganda who are associated with Museveni’s repressive and thieving regime.
Given its small geographical size, Rwanda can’t afford an exodus of Rwandese from Uganda into Rwanda in the event Museveni is violently dislodged from power. In this regard, Kagame feels that a friendly post Museveni government would be in Rwanda’s best interest. However, there is no public information about Kigali’s intent to cause a regime change in Uganda that would call for a corresponding action by Kampala.
7. No 6 above not withstanding, it is a fact that individual players within Uganda’s pro-change may resort to using arms to dislodge Museveni. To achieve this, they will need an external base in the form of a ‘hostile’ neighboring country. This is the scenario that Museveni has been struggling to avert by pushing for an East African Community federation and the EAC Standby Force. Assuming the alleged fresh Museveni/Kagame fall out turns out to have been a hoax, its motive would be to lure such desperate individual pro-change activists into seeking the aid of Rwanda for an armed option. That way they would fall into a trap. On the contrary, if the fall out is real, then it’s good news. However, where can Museveni hide his alleged hostile activities against Rwanda because Kagame’s roving eye is in every corner of Uganda?????