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Museveni, Kagame Meet Amidst Uganda-Rwanda Tensions

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Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s Kagame have met and chatted amidst reports of tensions between Kigali and Kampala.

The tensions between Uganda-Rwanda relations stems from tabloid reports that Museveni was planning to overthrow Kagame.

The reports were first run by Rwandan news publication named Rushyashya.

Ugandan tabloid The Red Pepper letter adopted the reports under a screaming headline: ‘M7 Plotting to Overthrow Kagame – Rwanda’.

Uganda’s foreign affairs ministry was quick to dismiss the reports as “malicious”.

“The ministry dismisses, with contempt allegations carried by any media publications or platforms to the effect that relations between Uganda and Rwanda are anything but strong and cordial,” read a statement by Uganda’s foreign affairs ministry permanent secretary Patrick Mugoya.

Mugoya termed “ the continuous innuendos by the likes of Rushyashya… and Red Pepper” as “mischievous at best, irresponsible at worst and meant to sow discord between our two sister nations”.

He also described Uganda-Rwanda relations as “strong and cordial”.

KAGAME, MUSEVENI AT UHURU INAUGURATION

And today, when Museveni and Kagame met at Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration in Nairobi, they chatted over issues and exchanged smiles — as if to suggest that the two nations enjoy a friendly relationship.

The event organisers also sat Museveni next to Kagame.

And near each other they sat all through — including during Kenyatta’s somewhat long inauguration speech.

In one of the pictures captured at Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi, Museveni is seen stressing a point and Kagame paying attention. (See featured image).

Museveni looks on as Kenyatta greets Kagame
Museveni looks on as Kenyatta greets Kagame

In the other image, Kagame exchanges greetings with Kenyatta, as Museveni looks on with a pottage of a suppressed grin and a pensive mood.

Museveni greets Kenyatta. Standing next is Kagame
Museveni greets Kenyatta. Standing next is Kagame

Museveni and Kagame are old boys of Ntare School in the western Ugandan town of Mbarara. Kagame was involved in the bush war that brought Museveni to power.

RED PEPPER WOES

On Monday, a court in Kampala sent eight Red Pepper directors and editors to Luzira prison over a story on Rwanda-Uganda relations.

The eight appeared  Monday before Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court a week after their arrest and detention.

Red Pepper bosses were arrested last Tuesday and their offices put under lock and key.

Police detained them at Nalufenya in Jinja.

The eight are:

Directors: Arinaitwe Rugyendo, James Mujuni, Johnson Byarabaha, Patrick Mugumya and Richard Tusiime;

Editors: Ben Byarabaha, Richard Kintu and Francis Tumusiime.

Court has charged them with seven counts as read to them by Chief Magistrate Ereemye Mawanda:

OFFENSIVE COMMUNICATION

  • Disturbing the peace, quiet and right of privacy of President Museveni, Gen Henry Tumukunde and Gen Salim Saleh.

LIBEL

  • injuring the reputation of Museveni, his broth Gen Salim Saleh and security minister Henry Tumukunde
  • And subjecting them to hatred, contempt and ridicule.

PUBLICATION OF INFORMATION PREJUDICIAL TO SECURITY 

  • running a headline story regarding military operations, strategies and troop locations, which publication  is likely to disrupt public order and security.

RED PEPPER TREASON CHARGES DROPPED

Court has however dropped treason charges against Red Pepper staff.

Last week’s Charge and Caution Statements had included treason charges.

NO BAIL FOR RED PEPPER BOSSES

Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda has remanded the eight to Luzira Prison.

The directors and editors will be jailed at Luzira until December 5, 2017.

Court denied their lawyers’ plea bail.

Max Mutabingwa and Kandeebe Ntambirwaki are representing the publication’s bosses.

US and international freedom of expression groups have condemned the detention of Red Pepper staff.

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