KAMPALA – Exiled Rwandan General Kayumba Nyamwasa has hit out President Paul Kagame for reviving talks over the Uganda and Rwanda army clashes in Kisangani, DR Congo, and described the Rwandan president’s reported account of the defeat of the Ugandan army as insensitive and a terrible shame.
In an interview with the Ugandan newspaper The New Vision published over the weekend, Gen. Nyamwasa, who has lived in exile in South Africa for more than a decade, having fallen out with President Kagame, said:
“What did he gain from that war? One needs a psychological medical examination to ascertain why and how a sane human being claims credit for killing his brother or friend. Nobody won in Kisangani. It was a terrible shame for both sides”.
President Kagame’s comments, published in Jenue French-Africa in April, illustrated his frustration as tensions between Uganda and Rwanda dominated discussions in the region. Kigali accuses Kampala of harassing it’s nationals through arrests and torture and has since advised Rwandans to restrict their travel to Uganda. On the other hand, Kampala denies, claiming those detained are individuals suspected of spying. Rwanda also accuses Uganda of harbouring dissidents including Gen. Nyamwasa, that plan to destabilise the country, an accusation Uganda has dismissed as baseless.
Selected Excerpts of Gen. Nyamwasa’s interview:
New Vision: In your understanding, what do you think is the cause of Rwanda-Uganda standoff?
Gen. Nyamwasa: Paul Kagame thinks he can control, dominate and dictate to neighbouring countries. If any other leader wants to assert his authority in his country, then it becomes a source of tension and conflict. Look at what has been happening in DRC for decades, to the extent of lobbying for a reversal of a court decision after announcing an election in DRC. He quickly forgot that he had rigged his own election to the tune of 98%. Tension with Tanzania was palpable during the time of President Kikwete. It is common knowledge that Rwanda facilitated a failed coup d’eat in Burundi. Even with Kenya, the Rwandan embassy was closed in the late 1990s because of assassinations. Ugandan should take solace that they are not alone, faced with an aggressive and belligerent Rwandan foreign policy.
New Vision: What do you say about Kagame’s claims that Uganda is sourgraping because of the defeat in Kisangani?
Gen. Nyamwasa: That is insensitive and uncalled for a national leader. What did he gain from that war? One needs a psychological medical examination to ascertain why and how a sane human being claims credit for killing his brother or friend. Nobody won in Kisangani. It was a terrible shame for both sides.
New Vision: Kagame says RNC is a terrorist organisation and that you fled Rwanda because you had committed crimes.
Gen. Nyamwasa: That is how all dictators describe genuine opposition. It is also common knowledge that dictators construe political criticism as crimes. Even where crimes do not exist, Kagame will fabricate them to justify a witch hunt. Look at Pasteur Bizimungu, Charles Ntakirutinka, Victoire Ingabire, Gen Frank Rusagara, Col Rugigana, Col Byabagamba, Lt Joel Mutabazi, all prisoners of conscience, but convicted with imaginary crimes. Considering the publications of human rights watch, courts decisions in South Africa, international media reports in relation to Kagame, it is amazing how he gets the audacity to call anyone a criminal compared to his record. Before he labels other people criminals, I wonder whether he knows how other people view him.