December 14, 2019

Uganda Dismissed Proposal to “Expel” Rwandan Dissidents

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Rwanda’s State Minister in charge of East African Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe, and Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa held a joint press conference after the talks collapsed

Rwanda has accused Uganda of being responsible for collapse of talks on Friday aimed at settling ongoing Kigali-Kampala fallout.

A Rwandan delegation arrived on Friday afternoon at Speak Resort Munyonyo, including: Foreign Affairs State Minister in charge of East African Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe, Internal Security Minister Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye, Local Government Minister Prof Anastase Shyaka and NISS Chief Gen Joseph Nzabamwita.

With their Ugandan counterparts, they spent up to 8hours in the closed door talks. By late evening, they came out without a joint communiqué.

Nduhungirehe and Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa addressed a press conference jointly. They each, but diplomatically, blamed the other for the collapse of the talks.

The Rwandan delegation travelled back home last night and has been on a media offensive.

Nduhungirehe on Saturday gave a rare account of what transpired inside closed doors. He says Uganda’s delegation “refused” a proposal by Angola and DR Congo, who are the talks facilitators, to send Rwandan dissidents out of the country.

Rwanda has accused Uganda of hosting training camps and recruitment cells for the Rwanda National Congress (RNC) of ex-army Chief Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa, who lives in South Africa.

Kigali also says Ugandan President Museveni’s government has been facilitating talks between RNC and FDLR militia, whose members were involved in the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi and fled to Congo.

Specifically, Kigali has named elderly Uganda state minister for regional affairs Philomene Mateke as the point-person for the FDLR-RNC talks.

Nduhungirehe said today: “In their wisdom, the facilitators proposed to the Ugandan delegation to expel, from their territory, known leaders and members of the RNC and other armed groups, as an important confidence-building measure. This didn’t entail any admission of guilt or support.”

He added: “They (Ugandan delegation) refused.”

Back in Kampala at the joint press conference, Uganda’s foreign minister Kutesa, for the first time, explained why Uganda has arrested hundred of Rwandans. Some have been dumped at border after horrific torture.

He said the Rwandans had been identified as “interfering” in the security apparatus of Uganda. It is the first time such details has been said.

Since February when the current standoff started, Uganda’s President Museveni has maintained there is “no fundamental problem” with Rwanda. Yet Rwanda has given nearly all its concerns publicly.

Kutesa has said in two statements previously about the issue that Rwanda had imposed trade embargo on Uganda, blocking its exports. In essence, Uganda is making the whole issue about the border

Rwanda was the first to come out publicly. President Paul Kagame himself has put forward “three outstanding issue”; support for Rwandan dissidents and rebels, arrest and torture of Rwandans, and confiscating Rwandan exports transiting through Uganda.

Kutesa’s allegations of Rwandan spies in Uganda have for months been relayed in obscure websites, some of which have been revealed in Rwandan government-supported media as operated by Ugandan intelligence agencies.

Back to the talks on Friday, the delegations said the talks had been referred to the Heads of States Kagame and Museveni.

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