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Uganda, Rwanda Cold War: Kagame Rules out Room for Mediation

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has said he doesn’t see the bad blood between Uganda and Rwanda being resolved through mediation, Chimp Corps report.

“I do not believe that (mediation). There is no place for that. As I told Yoweri Museveni, everything depends on him,” said Kagame.

The Rwandan leader made the remarks in an interview with Jeune Afrique, a French-language weekly news magazine, founded in 1960 in Tunis and subsequently published in Paris.

He was responding to a question from the Magazine’s journalist who wanted to know whether there was room for mediation in resolving the sticky issues between Uganda and Rwanda.

Kagame said Museveni “cannot repeat that he has nothing against Rwanda… The key to the problems is in Uganda, it is in the hands of Museveni himself.”

The President’s comments diminishes hopes of the standoff being contained by diplomats.

The fiery remarks also fuel speculation of a possible armed conflict between the two states.

While President Kagame has been attending live fire military exercises in Rwanda; Museveni recently embarked on a tour of barracks across Uganda to for a firsthand account of their vigilance and preparedness.

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Destabilisation

Kagame further told Jeune Afrique that the evidence he has against Uganda planning to destabilize Rwanda is “irrefutable, and we have provided it” to the Ugandan authorities.

The Rwandan leader added: “Kampala offers help and logistical facilities to people from South Africa, Burundi, DR Congo, Canada and Europe, who gather in the Ugandan capital to plot against Rwanda, under the benevolent eye of the government. Our information comes from multiple channels, including leaders of the rebel FDLR [Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda] arrested in late 2018 in the Congo and extradited since. We even interviewed an individual who was coming from Iran and planned to carry out attacks after passing through Uganda.”

Kagame did not reveal the identity of the person from Iran who intended to destabilize Rwanda.

Ugandan officials have lately decided to stop making comments on Rwanda’s accusations.

But Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa recently dismissed Rwanda’s claims, saying Uganda and Rwanda have always, at the highest level, made confidential engagements and that Kigali is fully aware that Kampala cannot allow subversive elements targeting a neighbor to operate from her territory.

“Rwanda knows this very well as it has been a matter of confidential communication at the highest level of the two countries. Uganda does not and cannot allow anyone to operate from its territory that threatens a neighbor as alleged,” said Kutesa.

Kutesa stressed that Uganda is focused on development and transformation and peace in the region is imperative.

“We are aware that our own development and transformation cannot take place without peace in the region. It is for this reason that Uganda has championed closer collaboration and coordination within regional frameworks like EAC, ICGLR, IGAD and even at the continental level,” the minister emphasised.

Additionally, a passport, which Rwandan authorities said was issued by Ugandan authorities to a member of Rwanda National Congress (RNC), Charlotte Mukankusi, was found to be a forgery as it lacked known features on new official passports.

RNC

Nevertheless, in the Magazine interview, Kagame said the letter which President Museveni wrote to him about RNC mobilizing support from Uganda leaked before he received it.

“The truth is that Kampala is the place of contact and coordination between all these negative forces, be they the former genocidaires, the Kayumba Nyamwasa RNC or the small group of Paul Rusesabagina,” said Kagame.

Kagame, however, did not speak out on Museveni’s letter sent to the Rwandan leader in 2018 on resolving issues raised by Rwanda such as alleged RNC’s activities in Uganda and the businesses of Rwandan billionaire Tribert Rujugiro.

Asked why he thinks he is not in Museveni’s good books, Kagame said he had asked himself the same question but did find anything of substance apart from the feeling that Rwanda should be indebted to Museveni.

Uganda under President Museveni provided arms, food, logistics and manpower to help Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Kagame to take power in 1994.

The people of Kabale, Ntungamo and Mbarara were mobilised to support the RPF war.

Mbarara turned into the logistics hub for the RPF. The border points were used to sneak in guns and recruits to help RPF rebels.

On his part, Kagame fought in the NRA war that brought President Museveni to power.

Speaking on the clashes of Uganda and Rwanda’s armies in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kagame said: “We defeated them three times, that’s right…”

However, according to Museveni’s speeches to Parliament during the clashes in Kisangani, Ugandan forces were always ambushed by Rwandan forces.

“The companies were scattered in the town guarding buildings such as hotels, mosques and office blocks; so, they were not really deployed to fight,” said Museveni in a speech to Parliament on August 30, 1999.

“They had only been deployed to stop disruption but they were being attacked day after day,” he added.

On respecting Museveni as an elder, Kagame observed: “I respect him as President of Uganda. But he is not the president of Rwanda and will never be. It must be resolved. We do not accept to be dictated to, no matter where it comes from, you know it well. From a geographical point of view, Rwanda is a small country. In terms of how we think and do politics, we are a big country.”

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