Sunday, 13 January 2019

AFRICA: Blood is thicker than water - Museveni's about-turn on Nkurunziza


CHANGE OF GUARDS - Following the three rounds of deadly clashes between Museveni and Kagame armies in Eastern DRC's Kisangani during Congo's 2nd War, the conflict was shifted to the capitals of the two countries. Both Museveni and Kagame demonstrated their resolve to ouster each other from power through support for respective dissidents. By late 2001, the situation was threatening to escalate into a full scale war between the two countries. Museveni appealed to the British Minister for Overseas Development, Claire Short who mediated the conflict.

A catastrophe was averted and relations seemed to have improved but Museveni still harboured intentions of ousting Kagame. With the emergence of the Rwandese dissident RNC under Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa, Museveni grabbed the opportunity to once again hit Kagame. This time round, he found an ally in Burundi's Nkurunziza. The Tutsi RNC is seeking allies in both Museveni and Nkurunziza. Another Rwandese dissident group, FDRL which Kigali links with the 1994 Genocide is also more linked to the Hutu dominated government of Nkurunziza. The RNC is seeking to enter into alliance with FDRL and other groups and it's only Nkurunziza who can unite them. On the other hand some groups like FDRL can't trust Museveni owing to his role in dislodging the Hutu from power during the 1990 RPF invasion from Uganda.

In this regard, Museveni has been cordially working with Nkurunziza. However, as had been the case with Congolese dissidents in the late 1990s (RCD Kisangani and RCD Goma), Musevebi has been manipulating both RNC and FDRL. Around mid December 2018, top FDRL dissidents were arrested by Congolese authorities as they returned from Uganda where they had been state guests. Museveni advised Nkurunziza to make a formal complaint to him (as Chairman of EAC) against Kagame's alleged support for Burundian dissident groups. He was only to turn around and rebuke him leaving the RNC in a dilemma that prompted a top RNC official, Theogene Rudasingwa to critique Museveni.

1. The Nkurunziza government had issued an international arrest warrant for former President Pierre Buyoya for his role in the assassination of the first democratically elected Hutu president of Burundi, Melchior Ndadaye in 1993. Museveni who was a close ally of the then minority Tutsi leadership in Burundi gave shelter to some of the junior Tutsi army officers who had carried out the assassination. Some sources also suggest that he sent troops to help Buyoya battle the Hutu insurgents. He now fears that reviving the case will criminally implicate him.

2. On a lighter note, he thinks he can tame Kigali's aggressiveness by playing harsh on Nkurunziza.


In his new year message, Rwanda's Kagame hit at both Museveni and Nkurunziza.
"Some neighbours have tried to revive the danger posed by FDLR, RNC, and other negative forces. This jeopardizes the otherwise good progress in East African integration as well as regional security. For one neighbour, we expect it. However, we are surprised by another neighbour, where the evidence we have, and which they must also have, shows clear complicity, despite public denials. This matter is being handled, and we continue talking with our neighbours in the spirit of African solidarity.”

The seemingly bad blood between Museveni and Nkurunziza negatively affects the Rwandese dissident groups who are trying to bury their ethnic differences.


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