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Who are these Rwandese being deported from Uganda?

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On the morning of 15th August 2017, a joint army and police security operation blocked vehicles along the Isingiro-Mbarara-Masaka highways in which 95 Rwandese children and adults were netted. By the evening of the same day, all the 95 people had been ferried to the Uganda-Rwanda border post in two hired buses. The press was highly stopped in covering this operation. The army’s 2nd Division Intelligence Officer (I.O), Fred Mushambo said that the arrested lacked ID documents before adding that if they were to conduct a countrywide operation, thousands of Rwandese would be netted.

However, other reliable sources indicated that the arrested and deported Rwandese had the required national IDs and entry coupons and that is why they could not be taken to court.  Why were these particular travellers of that day hastily targeted when, as put by the I.O, tens of thousands of Rwandese are illegally residing in Uganda?  A look at their physical appearance (pictured) gives the answer. Could the victims have been fleeing gross repression and economic hardships in Rwanda? In some instances, it is a state policy for Rwandese to migrate in order to ease the pressure on limited land and other resources and Uganda has been the top most destination.

On 1st January 2014 Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda under the auspice of their Coalition of the Willing (COWI), entered into a pact that allows free movements of their citizens among their three countries. It allows for the use of their respective National ID documents as travel documents to be presented to an Immigration Officer at the border post who in turn issue a stamped coupon as an entry permit. Statistics show that at it’s inception (January 2014 – June 2015) by using ID/students Cards, 1.311,827 Rwandese travelled to Kenya and Uganda while a total of 256,691 Kenyans and Ugandans travelled to Rwanda during the same period.

Through the 1995 Constitution, Museveni recklessly granted Ugandan citizenship to all Rwandese.  In pursuance of this golden opportunity, the Rwanda’s Constitution allowed Dual Citizenship to its people. On 10th April 2016, the then figurehead Minister of Internal Affairs, Rose Akol ordered Rwandese nationals holding Ugandan national IDs to surrender them. She said; “There is still a big number of Rwanda nationals possessing our national IDs; the high number of illegal immigrants has increased pressure on the economy.”

The Immigration Officer at Mirama Hill, Stephen Mutambi also disclosed that some Rwandans are using Uganda IDs to enter the country while others were using illegal routes such as River Kagera. He further said; “Apart from those that possess two IDs and are Ugandans, there are those using illegal routes like R. Kagera, especially when the water levels have reduced.”  Why would some one take the trouble to use risky and illegal routes when there are no restrictions at the official entry and exit points???  Why would an immigration officer contend that “…those that possess two IDs and are Ugandans”!!!!! No wonder, the following month Minister Rose Akol was sacked because she had questioned the Rwandese possession of Ugandan IDs.

In January 2017 the police in Kabaale rounded up and deported eight Rwandese sex workers whom they accused of stealing from their clients. Since time in memorial Rwandese sex workers are renown for flocking into Uganda for sex business. It’s not by coincidence that last week it was reported that the police chief, Gen. Kalekyezi had hired sex workers at 200,000 to each of the 200 sex workers in order to boost his spy network.

Early this month 9,674 Rwandese in Uganda cast their vote in Rwanda’s general elections at the Rwandese Embassy in Kampala. Of these, 9,554 (99.08%) voted for Paul Kagame. These voters came from different parts of Uganda. Of course, many more tens of thousands of Rwandese who do not wish to be publicly identify as Rwandese did not show up.

On 4th August 2017 the army under Col. Joseph Balikudembe led an operation in Mubende to violently evict illegal gold miners.  The army claimed that the mines had become a hub for illegal immigrants including Rwandese and their genocidal Interahamwe rebel group.

On 10th August 2017 a Rwandese National, Reno Rutagugira resident in Kampala was kidnapped and held by Uganda’s CMI operatives under Capt. Agaba. He is accused of having been a Rwanda government spy in Uganda who has been instrumental in hunting down suspected Rwandan dissidents in Uganda. The Rwanda Embassy has come out to say that the victim had lived in Uganda with his family since 2014 as a businessman and that he was being held by CMI.

Is it the Gen.Tumukunde and Gen. Kalekyezi power struggle at play or a resumption of the Kagame and Kaguta power ego of the Congo War? However, what is clear is that Museveni’s constitutional provision granting citizenship and the COWI free movement of citizens’ pact have come back to haunt him and the country at large.


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