Dr. Philemon Mateke, the 76 year-old Ugandan state minister for regional cooperation has for the first time spoken about Rwanda issues.
Dr Mateke’s name has repeatedly appeared in local Rwandan media accusing him of being the Uganda government ‘point man’ for handling contacts with Rwandan dissidents. He has never responded to the accusations.
In interview with Daily Monitor, Dr Mateke added his voice to the deteriorating Rwanda-Uganda relations following the Gatuna border closure. He says Uganda will petition the East African Community.
The “interfering with cross-border trade by Rwanda violates the East African Community guidelines yet it (Rwanda) is the chair of the community,” said Mateke.
This portion of the interview is what is reported. It is unclear if that is all he said.
In January, local media was awash with details of alleged meetings organised by Mateke for FDLR militia commanders in Uganda that were eventually apprehended as they headed back to the DRC. The so called democratic forces for the liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are based in DR Congo, whose members took part in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
More than five news sites carried the reports including IGIHE.com, one of the main Kinyarwanda online publications in Rwanda.
These media outlets reported that between December 14-15, FDLR spokesman Ignace Nkaka alias LaForge Bazeye Fils and the deputy intelligence chief Lt Col Nsekenabo Jean Pierre alias Abega Kamala were in Uganda.
It is alleged that when the duo secretly crossed into Uganda, they spent some time at Hotel Mubano in Kisoro district owned by Minister Mateke.
The FDLR men allegedly travelled to Kampala in Hon Mateke’s personal vehicle.
In Kampala, it is alleged that Minister Mateke hosted a meeting between the FDLR commanders with other dissidents representing the Rwanda National Congress, whose leaders are based in South Africa.
The meetings were to make the two outfits operate a joint program against the government of Rwanda, reports then indicated.