Magazine article New African

When Yoweri Wrote to Clare. (Feature: Uganda/Rwanda)

Magazine article New African

When Yoweri Wrote to Clare. (Feature: Uganda/Rwanda)

Article excerpt

Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda came to London on 6 November to hold talks with Tony Blair and his minister for overseas development, Claire Short. New African can now reveal that the meeting was called after Museveni had written an astonishing letter to Claire Short about Uganda-Rwanda relations. Kagame, we hear, hit the roof when he saw a copy. We publish Museveni's letter here unedited for the insight it offers. Please read on...

Rt. Hon. Claire Short Salutations from your friends in Uganda. I hope your trip around the Great Likes region was pleasant and fruitful.

I am embarrassed to have to communicate with you about the deteriorating situation in the bilateral relations between Uganda and the government of Rwanda, led by President Kagame.

We have no doubt that Rwanda is planning aggression against us either using proxies or, even, directly. There are some Ugandan army officers who ran from here, jumping bail or fleeing potential prosecution for a number of crimes, to Rwanda.

Since some months these officers, who we hear were given amnesty in Rwanda, have been frantically telephoning many serving army officers in Uganda asking them to betray their country by spying for Rwanda and fighting our government and people.

Furthermore, they have been recruiting Ugandan youth and taking them to Kigali for military training. We are now sure that they have opened three training centres around Kigali with the full support of the Rwanda government. We heat that they have also opened another centre for the same purpose in Rutshuru, a part of Eastern Congo they control.

Meanwhile, their intelligence is very aggressively inquiring about the strength of various army units of ours and so on.

You remember, just before you came, I went to Rwanda and met Mr Kagame at the border, on the Rwanda side. In that meeting we agreed that the dissidents of the two countries entering either country should nor only not be supported by the host government, but they should also not be allowed to carry out any hostile activities against their home country.

The prohibited activities included propaganda, not to mention military training and spying. Unfortunately, the Rwanda government is doing the exact opposite.

I had hoped to talk to Mr Kagame in Arusha and in the recently concluded SMART Partnership meeting that took place here. As Mr Kagame did not come to either, I managed to talk to him only on telephone. I am soon sending our foreign minister to raise these matters again.

Right honourable minister, we have just defeated the protracted terrorism organised against us by Sudan, both in the West of Uganda and in the North.

We cannot countenance nor tolerate another round of terrorism this time organised by Mr Kagame whom we sacrificed so much to stand with when the whole world was either against their cause or indifferent to it.

I am, therefore, writing to you for two reasons:

1. First of all, to inform you about the sad and childish developments here which, nevertheless, are very grave for this region.

2. Secondly, to request you to show understanding to our Intention to raise our defence spending beyond the 1.9% of GDP we had agreed with the donors.

You remember, I have always held the view that given the instability of this region, iris naive and inviting trouble to underspend perennially on defence. 1.9% of GDP has, recently, been translating into about US$110 million per annum.

This figure could be alright if we had finished the capital development of our army involving training of officers, NCOs and technical staff (pilots, rank crews, artillery crews, etc.); buying or making arrangements to receive requisite equipment in case of conflict given this unstable region with all sorts of adventurers with distorted concepts about society; and building barracks for our army to have decent accommodation. …

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