Uganda will soon blame Rwanda for COVID-19 -Kagame speaks on Espionage claims

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Rwandan president Paul Kagame; Courtesy Photo

Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, has blamed the leadership in Uganda for wanting to accuse Rwanda for almost everything that goes wrong at home including those that are totally unrelated.

In an interview with Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), Kagame said Uganda has made it a habit to blame Rwanda for unrelated issues and soon they will blame Rwanda for COVID-19. The interview covered a range of issues including Rwanda’s foreign relations, governance at home and the country’s COVID management strategy.

On relations with Uganda, Kagame instead accused Ugandan authorities for continued mistreatment of Rwandans and turning around to blame Rwanda for all sorts of ills and flaws.

“It has become a trend for Uganda to blame Rwanda for anything, even for things that are totally unrelated. Don’t be surprised if they blame Rwanda for COVID-19. It takes two to tango. If you look at how Ugandans in Rwanda are treated, it is totally different from how Rwandans are treated in Uganda. We have engaged Uganda on several occasions in vain. How the issue ends is really not in our control.” Kagame said.

Kagame’s interview comes at the height of long-standing frosty relations between Uganda and Rwanda which culminated into closure of a common border and counter claims of hostile treatment of one others’ citizens.

It also comes just two days after Dr Lawrence Muganga -a prominent Ugandan of Rwandan descent was arrested by Ugandan authorities and questioned over alleged cases of espionage.

Asked about matters related to spying on his neighbors as was published by global reporting investigations when the Pegasus Project showed that Rwanda reportedly wiretapped conversations of top Ugandan officials using Israeli-made technology, Kagame denied the accusations saying his country doesn’t have such technology.

He however noted that Rwanda collects intelligence information but through “so many ways.”

“No, we don’t have it. Therefore we don’t use it. How can we use what we don’t have?” Like any other country in this world, Rwanda does collect intelligence. And, there are so many ways of doing that. Do we spy with this tool (Pegasus)? The answer is a big NO.”

Kagame however said, the strained relations with Kampala and Kigali do not benefit either side and his government is eager to continue pushing for improved relations.

“There has been efforts to improve the situation, and they will continue. No one benefits from not relating well to each other as neighbors.” He noted.

On relations with Burundi another unfriendly neighbor, Kagame did not give a direct answer but expressed optimism towards improved relations in the near future.

“There is nothing so important that would be equated to having good relations between the two countries. We want to improve the situation, and from what we have heard and seen, Burundi also wants to. Our Ministers and security officials continue to meet. I think the situation is getting better. There is good progress.”

President Kagame also took a swipe at those who attack Rwanda’s governance as a dictatorship; “Those who do so think they can impose things or change the country into what they want, including the leadership. They have done it in several places, but history shows it never works.”

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