March 12, 2019

Uganda Opposition Begins ‘Dialogue Between Ugandans and Rwandans’ Excluding Governments

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Some of the Rwandans detained in Uganda

The biggest opposition party the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has launched a process to bypass the governments of Rwanda and Uganda to have a “dialogue” between what they call the “citizens of the two countries”.

FDC party spokesman Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda announced the new action which will start with official letter sent to Government of Rwanda asking for full explanation on what is really going on. The Uganda Government will not be asked to do the same.

“If we are blessed by a response from Rwanda,” said Ssemujju at a press conference in Kampala on Monday March 11, the party will contact religious leaders “because of their neutrality” to start a dialogue.

Member of Parliament Ssemujju added: “We need a dialogue between the citizens of Uganda and Rwanda. [The religious leaders] may forget about [President] Museveni and the leadership in Rwanda, but we have a dialogue between the citizens of the two countries.”

FDC did not provide any more details as to how and where the dialogue will be conducted, and if religious leaders from Rwanda will be involved.

The party, which leads the opposition bloc in parliament, was founded by Dr Kizza Besigye, the husband of Winnie Byanyima, the Oxfam International Executive Director.

She came under attack on Twitter from Rwanda recently for suggesting President Kagame and Museveni should “ship out and let others restore peaceful relations”.

FDC last week unveiled what has been branded as the ‘Peoples’ Government’, a step they say is meant to regain the power that was stolen from them by President Museveni following the 2016 elections.

They claim to be operating a national administration parallel to the legally established Government.

Meanwhile, a team of lawyers claiming to be representing six Rwandans detained, have accused Uganda intelligence agencies of charging their clients with “possession of arms” so that they are prosecuted in military court martial.

A Kampala law firm Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates told journalists that the “fabricated” charges will be challenged because civilians cannot be tried in the military courts.

They claim to be the legal team for Rene Rutagungira, Emmanuel Rwamucyo, Augustine Rutayisire, Darius Kayobera, Claudine Uwineza and Claude Iyakaremye.

Five of the Rwandans except Claude Iyakaremye are on the list of 20 people that has been circulated widely by Government of Rwanda, whom Kigali says are illegally detained.

Iyakaremye was reported missing in March 2018. He was a boda boda rider (known as moto taxi in Rwanda) in a park where buses from Rwanda parked in Kampala. Witnesses say he was bundled in Toyota Noah UAJ 921G which sped off at high speed.

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