PRESIDENT MUSEVENI: KAGAME’S LEADERSHIP IDEOLOGICALLY BANKRUPT (2001)

Rt. Hon. Claire Short
Secretary of State for Overseas Development)
94 Victoria Street
LONDON
SW1E5JL
RE: UGANDANS CONCERNS VISA VIS RWANDA

 

Salutations from your friends in Uganda. I hope your trip around (lie Great Lakes 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 supportof the Rwanda Government. We hear 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
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 not 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, 1 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 die 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 (his 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 tills region, it is 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, tank 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.

Indeed, this was the aim when we demobilised 60,000 soldiers in
1992, remaining with only about 40,000 soldiers.

The purpose was to have a smaller but better equipped and (rained Army. We have never achieved this because of the perennial under-budgeting. This incomplete development of our Army notwithstanding, we have had to stand by Rwanda in Congo although they do not seem to show any appreciation for the sacrifice and also cope with the destabilization by Sudan. Given that Mr. Kagame is turning the sister state of Rwanda
into an enemy state to Uganda, we cannot go on with the hamstrung position of having a small, under-equipped Army in such a volatile situation. Besides, the endemic terrorism, targeting soft targets (civilians), scares away tourists who could easily make a big contribution to our economy if only there was total peace. It also stops petroleum exploration, which is promising. Therefore, adequate military and security spending is actually a most primary economic investment.

We have ruled out the option of expanding manpower because a lot of manpower creates a lot of recurrent costs (wages, housing needs, drugs, uniforms, etc). However, in order to have a strategic capacity to dissuade or defeat any aggressor in the region, we need 3 elements: a large number of officers and NCOs trained before hand (a lieutenant leads 40 people); adequate numbers of technical staff (pilots, (tank and Artillery crews, field
engineering, etc); and a large militia who are not part of the regular Army and are, therefore, not paid. With these, we can maintain nearly the present number and only add on a few thousand officers and technical staff with equipment. In order to create this capacity in the next three years we need an extra US $139 million on top of approximately US $113 million we are getting for defence per annum currently. (This is, actually, a very modest figure rather than continue to risk the security of our country in (lie face of irresponsible adventurers and reactionaries in the region. ‘

Tin’s infrastructure is comfortable. With adequate leadership of the Army. (lie equipment and the technical staff in place, the small manpower is no( a problem. If there is no war started by adventurists, then you stay as you are. If some foolish people start a war, then you stalemate the aggression for a few weeks, using the small manpower and the good equipment you have
already procured as you massively call up the reserve militias around the leadership (officers and NCOs) and the technical staff (pilots, crews of tanks and Artillery, field engineering staff, etc). To wait to do these when war has started, is a recipe for disaster. We are not such fools and we have never been.
I need to inform you that Rwanda currently has got an Army of 100,000 officers and men. They maintain this big force by, apparently, not paying wages for their soldiers in Congo. Apparently, they tell their soldiers in Congo that they will get their salaries when they go back home. We are beginning to interest ourselves in the internal mechanisms of the Rwanda
Army, which has never been our business. It is possibly this level of
manpower that gives them the arrogance to think that they can interfere in the internal affairs of Uganda. Tills is in addition to the ideological bankruptcy of their leadership I have had occasion to mention to you.

In conclusion, I am writing to you. Honourable Minister, for two reasons:

1. To inform you of the deteriorating relationship between Uganda and Rwanda on account of Mr. Kagame planning aggression against our Country. You remember how he tried to have a quisling regime in Uganda by supporting Mr. Besigye against me in the last Presidential elections. Even recently Rwanda intelligence was involved in the so-called “escape” saga of Mr. Besigye. If you can do something to persuade Mr. Kagame from his dangerous course, it would be goodfor the region.

2. To tell you of our minimum strategic measures to guarantee the
security of our Country. I forgot to tell you that we have rejected and treated with contempt the idea of using proxies against Rwanda. This is bankrupt and can only be done by those that are ideologically immature. First of all, it is against the OAU principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of member slates except in the extreme situations like the regime of Amin in the 1970s and Mobutu’s regime recently. Secondly, I cannot send proxies against the people of Rwanda to plant mines that kill civilians, The people of Rwanda are not our enemies. If Mr, Kagame decides to be our enemy, it will be himself that is the enemy and his few collaborators. Unfortunately, though, since they lead
that country, they can, initially, mobilize their Army and their Ugandan criminal agents against our country. These are the ones we will have to deal with and we shall do so ourselves directly and never through proxies.

Rt. Hon. Short, please accept my assurances of my highest consideration
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA