Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Masters of deceit: 25 years of the Hima-Tutsi empire

By Timothy Kalyegira
The Uganda Record
Monday, 12th July 2010

Photo:
Finalists of the Miss Rwanda beauty pageant in Kigali, Aug. 1, 2008.

Since 2005 for Uganda and 2010 for Rwanda, the two governments that rose to power as part of a western-based effort to secure Anglo-American interests and influence in East-Central Africa, have come under a blaze of criticism and re-consideration of what they stand for.

The BBC World Service, in their "The World Today" news hour this morning, Tuesday July 20, 2010, remarked that "A sense of unease is creeping in the international community over Rwanda".

This is a far cry from the unquestioning support that the RPF government received starting in 1990 and intensifying after they seized state power in July 1994.

In July 1985, when the UPC government of President Milton Obote suddenly was overthrown in a military coup, the National Resistance Army (NRA) guerrillas led by Yoweri Museveni got a new lease on life.

By mid August, the NRA had cut off western Uganda and established their own quasi-government. Five months later, in Jan. 1986, they took over power in Uganda. Looking back 25 years since the events of July 1985 and what has transpired since then, we have to wonder: how did this happen?

How did scores of millions of people get so deceived by the NRA, by Museveni? Fighting alongside and in the NRA in 1985 were Tutsi refugees in Uganda since 1959.

Five years later, in 1990, these Tutsi would invade their mother land Rwanda under the name the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and start a guerrilla war that would lead them to power.

There is so much that we now know about the NRA and RPF that many had no clue about 25 years ago. The dictatorial tendencies, the grizzly massacres they committed against civilians and the armies they fought, the frightening skill they have in concealing the truth of their deeds. Something about this stealth is virtually unknown in the last 100 years of African history.

The NRA-RPF charm school

To understand the mind frame of Museveni dating back to the late 1960s, it takes more than just an advanced western education and this is what the FBI agents in Uganda to investigate the July 11, 2010 bombings are about to discover.

They will be met by warm, charming, smiling, well-educated Ugandan military and security officials who will sound and seem so decent and sincere.

That is why the Uganda Record has urged in its memo to the FBI on July 19, 2010 that the FBI carry along lie detector kits during their meetings with Ugandan security officials.

Wait for the FBI's comments in Kampala as they get underway with their investigations of the bombings. Museveni and his men are capable of charming even these FBI agents.

These are some of the most cunning and deceptive men in the world.

I remember a summit in March 1994 at the Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe between President Museveni and Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana. I was a news reporter at Kampala's Capital Radio and had come to cover the press conference with Catherine Watson, the wife of the New Vision Editor-in-Chief William Pike.

In the hotel's parking lot just before we left for Kampala, the Commanding officer of the Presidential Protection Unit (the forerunner to today's PGB), Lt. Col. Godfrey Akanga Byaruhanga, joined us and started up a chat with Watson.

He was warm, well-dressed, likable, sounded sincere and I could see how taken up Catherine Watson was by that show of charm. During the first few days of the RPF war, in Oct. 1990, Watson and several other western journalists held regular briefings with one of the RPF's commanders, Major. Dr. Peter Bayingana.

He came across as charming, well-educated, principled, and easily swept the foreign journalists off their feet.

When Museveni first came to power in Jan. 1986, millions of Ugandans still remember how magnetic he appeared. They had never seen anything like this since independence. He was a charmer, spoke off-cut, in an astonishingly natural and unscripted, witty, almost vulgarly down-to-earth way.

He would describe himself as "a fellow" and speak of how comfortable he could sleep on grass or on a cheap bed built in one of the many Kampala slums. He would wipe his face with his cap. There was something raw, real, immediately appealing about this man. Millions were charmed by the sight of the new head of state before them.

The first RPF commander, Maj. Gen. Fred Rwigyema was very much like Museveni and another of those NRA-RPF commanders, Gen. Salim Saleh, Museveni's younger brother.

Affable, easily accessible, handsome, humble in many ways, Rwigyema was a major star in Kampala after the NRA came to power.

In 1989, when the Kampala football club, SC Villa, won the national league title, Rwigyema who was an ardent Villa fan celebrated with his bodyguards by firing AK-47 rifle gunshots in the air at Nakivubo Stadium.

This wild, undisciplined act was forgiven and even treated with amusement by the public, because "That is Fred!" When many Ugandans think of Rwigyema, they think of his friend Salim Saleh. Same charm, relaxed air, man-of-the-people style, football fan, undisciplined in a way that, rather than attract condemnation, causes people to smile.

Another of the top commanders, Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, is from that FRONASA-NRA-RPF charm school of bad boys. He speaks in the same vulgar and direct way Museveni does, does not seem to care about the way he dresses or how he is perceived.

A few days after Museveni took power, the Daily Nation newspaper of Kenya published a large front-page photograph of Janet Museveni, his wife, declaring that this was the new First Lady of Uganda.

If showed a young, beautiful Janet Museveni and somehow, in the minds of the Daily Nation editors and Kenyans who saw that photograph, represented a fresh political beginning for Uganda.

Even to this day, 25 years later, the army of the gullible is still large. A senior Daily Nation Managing Editor and former Editor of the Daily Monitor, Charles Onyango-Obbo, recently waxed enthusiastically on his Facebook page about meeting President Kagame and "his beautiful wife" Jeanette Kagame in Kigali.

Many women in Kampala often spoke of liking the late Brig. Noble Mayombo, the ruthless Chief of Military Intelligence, because "he's cool!" or "He looks boyish".

In late 1985, as Museveni toured the "liberated" NRA areas in Mbarara and other places, his mistress Winnie Byanyima by his side, in military uniform, driving Museveni, many residents of Mbarara were charmed by this couple --- the humorous NRA commander and the beautiful young Byanyima in his company, looking cool and having fun.

These NRA-RPF "hunks: and their beautiful wives charmed their way into the hearts of many more people and by that, they became the hope of a new Africa.

By 1994, following the RPF's victory in Kigali and President Yoweri Museveni's prestige and military credentials at an all-time high, word started making it into the public and popular imagination that this radical former student of Dar-es-Salaam University was set to create a Hima-Tutsi empire that would span East and Central Africa and re-create the old Bachwezi empire of the 14th century.

Many Bahima in Uganda spoke of how a Seer of old had foretold that a young man would rise to power in Uganda and perform wonders. This man, it was now concluded, was Museveni.

To some degree, the Uganda Record can understand the incredulous reactions by many Ugandans at its suggestion that Museveni could actually mastermind the bomb blasts in Kampala. He seems so decent, so commonsensical, so rational, how can he do that?

It was not just gullible Ugandans who were swept away by the Hima-Tutsi charm offensive. Many western diplomats, politicians, academics, and others became blinded by the smooth-talking, easygoing Museveni and his NRA commanders and RPF protégées.

This was deception on a worldwide scale.

25 years later, with regular reports of assassinations in Kagame's Rwanda, fleeing RPF Tutsi officials, the brutality meted out to the Hutu from 1990 to the present, the reports of abnormal brutality in Museveni's security agencies, observers are starting to pick up the pieces of the shattered illusions and asking: How did we get so deceived for so long?

NRA-RPF wars: Victory by deception

In Sept. 1990, the RPF started to assemble Ugandan army lorries at Kololo Airstrip in Kampala ready to invade Rwanda.

Trucks covered in Red Cross tarpaulins in Mbarara town in western Uganda set off for the border with Rwanda. Foreign diplomats did not realize this.

During the early years of the RPF invasion of Rwanda, RPF officers and men dressed up in Ugandan army uniform would accompany western diplomats to the Uganda-Rwanda border and point to RPF soldiers, also in Ugandan uniform, as proof that the RPF had pulled back from Rwanda. The western diplomats would believe that, unable to distinguish between a Ugandan from, say, Ankole and a Rwandan Tutsi.

During the 2006 general election in Uganda, in many parts of Ankole, NRM supporters dressed up as illiterate peasants and claimed, under the watchful eye of European Union observers, that they needed the help of their educated relatives on how to vote. The European observers and diplomats fell for the trick.

Throughout the 1981 to 1985 Luwero Triangle civil war in western Uganda, this method was used with great success by the NRA rebels.

The late former President Milton Obote was one of the very few people with a complete working picture of the Museveni method.

In Oct. 2004, the then Daily Monitor Managing Director Conrad Nkutu dispatched the then Political Editor Andrew Mwenda to Lusaka, Zambia to interview Obote in a series of autobiographical narratives.

In the one published by the Daily Monitor on April 15, 2005, Obote put this method into its historical perspective:

"Museveni has for the last twenty three years [speaking in 2004] fought different enemies in different parts of Uganda…In all these wars, the adversaries are different, the theatre of war different, the period different. There are only two elements that are constant: Museveni on the one hand and massive atrocities on the other….It is Museveni who employs atrocities against civilians to achieve military victory, but in a more subtle way by ensuring that his adversary instead takes blame for Museveni's atrocities."

"At the burial of [UPC stalwart] Adonia Tiberondwa recently [on December 28, 2004], Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, for example, revealed that the National Resistance Army rebels used to wear UPC colours and then go into villages in Luwero and kill people in order to make the people think these were actions of the UPC government. Otafiire was boasting of the "tricks" NRA employed to win support in Luwero, but was also revealing the sinister side of Museveni and his insurgents..."

"The truth is that most of the soldiers in the army who were committing atrocities were Museveni's people. And whenever we zeroed in on them, they would run to join him in the bush in Luwero. Take the example of [Colonel] Pecos Kutesa. He had an interview with William Pike on Capital Radio in Kampala in [January] 1995 in a programme called Desert Island Discs. He told Pike that he was in UNLA but as an NRA infiltrator whose mission was to undermine the credibility of the army from within.

"Pecos Kutesa's testimony is instructive of how Museveni personally orchestrated the killings of innocent people and the harassment of civilians not just in Luwero but other parts of Uganda as well during the 1980s. His testimony is also important because it fits very well with what Otafiire and Lt. Gen. Elly Tumwine have confessed. Let us listen to Pecos Kutesa, whose interview on Capital Radio I have kept as my evidence. He told Pike that he used to be at a roadblock in Konge [in Makindye-Lukuli in Kampala]. As a lieutenant, he was the man in charge of that roadblock.

"According to Pecos Kutesa's own testimony on Capital Radio, Konge roadblock was the most notorious in harassing civilians, robbing them of their money and killing some. Kutesa says reports reached army headquarters of his harassment of the civilians and Oyite Ojok summoned him to Kampala for disciplinary action. He ran to the bush." (Daily Monitor, April 15, 2005)

On Nov. 19, 1991, just over a year into the RPF guerrilla war, the government-owned Radio Rwanda in Kigali broadcast a news report that said "rebels [the RPF] have been intensifying their activities along the Rwandan border with Uganda. The rebels are alleged to be backed by the Ugandan army and the report accused the rebels of shelling Ugandans so that Rwandan armed forces would be blamed."

The RPF guerrillas, just as they had done under their mentor Museveni in Luwero, fought a war largely by deception and somehow, nobody seriously questioned their claims.

In a news story, the new-defunct Democratic Party newspaper, The Citizen, in Jan.1991 explained how the RPF was fighting its war, in the same way that Obote outlined to the Daily Monitor of April 15, 2005:

"The Rwandese government has denied allegations that its troops abducted four Ugandans on 28 December 1990 at Mugali in [the] Katuna area. In a statement issued by the Rwandese embassy in Kampala on 31st December 1990, Rwanda's government accused the rebel RPF of perpetuating these crimes in the border area with the aim of antagonising the relationship between the two neighbouring states...The Rwandese government statement revealed that RPF rebels had acquired some Rwandese armed forces uniforms and since they are fluent in Kinyarwanda pose as Rwandese government troops. 'This RPF sinister scheme was brought to the attention of President Museveni at Cyanika summit on 20th November 1990'...Again people residing along River Kagera are reported to be scared by floating bodies. The bodies are believed to be from the Rwanda side of Akagera National Park" (The Citizen, January 3, 1991)

The phenomenon of this FRONASA-NRA-RPF deceit that goes undetected for years and even decades will require a whole subject of special study.

To be able to understand and penetrate the minds of men like Museveni and Kagame and their aides and lieutenants requires more than an Ivy League education.

It requires an understanding of the Bachwezi and Bahima-Tutsi-Babiito cultural myths and histories, the role that witchcraft and the says of Seers and other "abaraguzi" (fortunetellers) have often played in the history of these East-Central African Hamitic kingdoms and cultures.

It also requires an in depth understanding of Marxist-Maoist guerrilla warfare and finally, the special level of cruelty that Africans, behind their exterior friendliness and sense of family, are capable of.

It also requires an understanding of the subject of demonology and whether certain people are possessed by evil spirits, as Middle Ages and ridiculous as this might seem to the modern mind.

One has to be able to understand that a Uganda government official, with a Master's degree, in a top military or security or political office, can be and indeed often is what in Uganda is termed a "muyaye", a smooth, shady, uncouth, deceiving, greedy person and that public officials in Museveni's government should not be taken at the face value of their offices.

One must know that, unlike in Europe or America, presidents like Museveni or Kagame or NRA-RPF officers like Rwigyema, Mayombo, Lt. Gen. Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, Gen. James Kabareebe, Emmanuel Ndahiro, Gen. Salim Saleh, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, Gen. Charles Kayonga, Kahinda Otafiire, Amama Mbabazi, think with much more cunning than usual.

They can tell outright lies or conceal the truth, with a charming smile and humility, to a respected western diplomat. The western diplomat or journalist will be won over in five minutes.

To understand the RPF-NRA rulers of the region today requires much more than what CNN, BBC, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, the New York Times or an Oxford or Harvard University education can give. One almost needs to think like a devil to understand how these devils operate.

To understand what has been going on in Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi since 1985 requires a level of cunning and detailed knowledge and in-depth research and understanding of how deceptive this Great Lakes region of Africa is, that the Uganda Record doubts that even the FBI or CIA have.

Where all conventional education and western news formats fail, one might have to consult a Seer to probe into Museveni's or Kagame's hidden thoughts, to get first-hand intelligence on what is about to happen or on deadly evil and sensitive secrets hidden from the world's view.

Otherwise, the scale of the cruelty, corruption and evil that Yoweri Museveni unleashed on Uganda and Central Africa since 1971 will remain one of history's least-understood secrets.

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