The Rwandan community in Uganda this Saturday afternoon paid homage to the victims of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi that are laid to rest at a site in central Uganda.
It is the second commemoration event after that held on April 7 at the Rwandan High Commission in Kampala.
At both events however, there were no senior officials from the Ugandan Government as has been the case before.
At the first event last Sunday, High Commissioner Gen Frank Mugambage hosted the Rwandan community and other foreign diplomats in Uganda. Candles were lit as the commemoration flame.
Mugambage was also the final speaker.
Today, the envoy also led Rwandans and well-wishers to the Lambu Genocide Memorial Site, located in Masaka district – more than 130km away from Kampala. Some 3,332 victims are buried here.
Today, there are three genocide memorial sites on the shores of L. Victoria─ Kasensero in Rakai district, Ggolo in Mpigi district and Lambu in Masaka.
Together, they host the remains of more than 10,000 victims, whose bodies floated from rivers in Rwanda, on to Lake Victoria, and on to shores in Ugandan villages.
Previously, there was a Uganda government representative at the level of cabinet Minister.
For example last year 2018, Uganda’s State Minister for regional cooperation, Philemon Mateke attended.
But after the bitter fallout between Kampala and Kigali, it has also emerged that Minister Mateke has been President Yoweri Museveni’s contact link with Rwandan FDLR rebels based in DR Congo, whose members took part in the genocide.
These details emerged earlier in December last year, but have again been reinforced by data released in the bail court hearing of the FDLR commanders in Rwanda.
They are FDLR spokesman Ignace Nkaka alias LaForge Bazeye Fils and deputy intelligence chief Lt Col Nsekenabo Jean Pierre alias Abega Kamala.
The two apparently left DRC forests facilitated by Minister Mateke, crossed border into Uganda and stayed in a hotel owned by him.
They also reportedly traveled with him to Kampala where they were persuaded to work with other Rwandan dissidents under the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), who leader Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa lives in South Africa.
Rwanda’s relations with Uganda have deteriorated recently with the former accusing the Government of President Museveni of “three outstanding issues”.
These are: support to individuals and groups including RNC of Kayumba Nyamwasa and “P5″─ groups focused on fighting the Rwandan government; arresting, torturing and deporting Rwandans as well as economic sabotage.
Since February 28, when the crisis exploded, Rwanda has even issued travel ban on Rwandans from going to Uganda – saying it cannot guarantee their safety there.
At the kwibuka 25 events in Uganda, envoy Mugambage is the main speaker.
It is unclear if Uganda was not invited to the events, or it was but stayed away.
Meanwhile, in Rwanda, the week-long national commemoration ends today. Starting tomorrow Sunday, the country will return to normalcy.
However, the commemoration continues until July 4, to mark the 100-day period during which the genocide lasted in 1994.