Uganda has rejected and described as untrue, claims that Rwandan opposition group in exile, Rwanda National Congress (RNC) regards Uganda as one of its provinces and that mid month, it held elections for its Executive Committee in Kampala.
A letter regarded by Uganda as fabricated purportedly presented a new RNC Committee, to a one Jerome Nayigiziki tagged General Coordinator of RNC Washington DC. The fabricator also signed off Lwanga Charles tagged General Secretary Uganda Province. The letter widely tweeted by Rwanda government’s numerous trolls on Twitter claimed that the opposition group has for years been operating in Uganda and as such, opted to create a leadership structure as means of easing its operations. The Rwandan trolls also attempted to circulate the ‘letter’ by tagging several Ugandan media houses on Twitter.
“After many years the province of Uganda operating without a coordination organ at a provincial level, leaders at the district level as well as other leaders, convened in a two days meeting from 12-13th/11/2019 in Kampala in which a provincial executive committee was elected to direct and coordinate the work of RNC in Uganda,” reads the Statement in part.
“This meeting was a follow up to several other meetings that started last year that called for the formation of provincial executive committee to ensure proper coordination and management of work,” it adds.
However, Government of Uganda says the said RNC Committee elections in Kampala is a fabrication, explicitly reiterating that Uganda doesn’t have any links with the rebel group.
“The Government of Uganda strongly rejects and disabuses the renewed calculated fabrication by elements yet to be understood claiming that Uganda hosted a meeting for purposes of election of a Committee of a shadowy rebel outfit, the Rwanda National Congress (RNC),” writes Ofwono Opondo, Uganda Government spokesperson.
RNC maintains it is an opposition group and that the Rwandan government is so tolerant of political opposition organisations that many of their leaders are either jailed or flee the country to save their lives.
“Uganda reiterates that it doesn’t know, host, or deal in anyway with such a group, a fact that has been ably communicated through the appropriate channels to the Government of the Republic of Rwanda. Uganda doesn’t harbor any intentions or interest of destabilising the Government of Rwanda,” he adds.
The development comes at a time when Kigali continues to accuse Uganda of harbouring elements considered hostile to Kigali as well as illegal detention of Rwandan nationals. Ugandan government has repeatedly denied hosting Rwandan rebels or giving them training ground to topple Kagame’s government.
In February this year, Rwandan authorities closed Katuna border and stopped heavy trucks from Uganda from crossing initially citing road construction works. They trucks were diverted alternative routes of Kagitumba and Mirama hills, but these border points had also been closed. President Kagame would later reveal that the closure was political and had nothing to do with construction works.
Rwanda would later come out with a long list of accusations against Uganda including hosting Rwanda’s dissents as well as blocking her citizens from coming to Uganda.
In March while dressing Rwanda leaders attending the country’s National Retreat at Gabiro combat training school in the country’s eastern province, Kagame said he shared information with President Museveni how Tribert Rujugiro, a wealthy Rwandan national running business in Uganda and then pump money into subversive activities against Rwanda.
Rujugiro who fled Rwanda many years ago owns the Meridian Tobacco Company, a $20 million (Shs 72 billion) operation which opened in the West Nile town of Arua last year.
Rujugiro also owns Africa’s biggest tobacco company that has businesses in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.
Rujugiro denied the allegations, describing them as highly careless. His strings of businesses in Kigali have been auctioned by the government.
“President Museveni replied to me that he didn’t know Rujugiro at all but when I presented evidence, he responded that he would look into the matter,” Kagame said.
During the meeting, Kagame said Museveni also told him that Rwanda should always learn to differentiate between business and politics.
Kagame said Rwanda has weathered many challenges, adding his government and himself can never kneel before any other people.
“You can shoot me with a gun and kill me .But there is one thing that is impossible, no one can bring me to my knees. Men and women of our country, you should never accept that,”
In the same month, Softpower News held an extensive interview with Rujugiro who rubished Kagame’s claims whom he said is simply jealous of his wealth.
“Kagame knows I am single and I can live on USD 1,000 a month. I worked from humble beginnings as a clerk and I have over the years built my businesses. I care for our people and I help, Rwandan authorities are aware of that,” Rujugiro said.
“I have invested in Arua (Uganda) and I have businesses in 24 other countries; Angola, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Nigeria, Angola,” he told this news website.
“If I closed my business in Uganda, I would still be running business in other countries. The Income from my investments in Uganda is not even 10% of my total income. If I I wanted to fund activities of the so-called dissidents, I could still use the income from the rest of my businesses outside Uganda,” explained Rujugiro.
The businessman said there is no reason for him to fund activities against the government of Kigali, saying President Kagame has his own internal problems which he should deal with.
“These allegations are false and President Kagame knows very well that I am not interested in politics. When I funded the struggle that brought him into power, I was a refugee who had no passport from my own country. That was a legitimate struggle,” Rujugiro said.
“We were all suffering outside the country, my brothers and friends, so many people. I now have no reason to involve myself into politics,” Rujugiro added.
He said the authorities in Kigali clearly understand his capacity, saying if he “opted to help the rebels Kagame claims are fighting him (Kagame), it will not take less than six months to defeat him”.