- Jun 4, 2021
Motives for Rwanda's speculated assassination attempt of Uganda’s General Katumba Wamala
Without beating around the bush, I would speculate that General Wamala Katumba’s assassination attempt was orchestrated by Rwanda. Attempts to blame ADF rebels and others are just deflections. Why would I think it was Rwanda?
1 – Building of roads in DRC and Tanzania. Uganda has embarked on aggressive plans to supposedly build roads for trade in DRC and Tanzania, and yet within Uganda, there are roads that urgently need building. So, what are Uganda’s motives for building these roads other than for trade? The western proposed road from Bunagana to Goma in DRC, forms a route that runs north west of Rwanda, which will completely block Rwanda’s north western border access to DRC. The eastern proposed road passing through Tanzania from Kitagati in Uganda via Karage in Tanzania to Kobero border in Burundi, will effectively block Rwanda’s eastern border access to the rest of Tanzania. Leaving Rwanda’s border to the North as hostile Uganda, its border to the south as hostile Burundi. Rwanda will be boxed in and only left with about 60 Km of usable border to the DRC from Ruziz-1 to Rukuna-1. Rwanda, has not been comfortable with what could be future security arrangement that Uganda hammered with its Neighbors in these road construction deals. As rumors have already surfaced that the firm contracted to build these roads is out shopping for military equipment, Rwanda’s position is one of suspicion. All these road plans followed the high-level visits of DRC, Tanzania, Burundi presidents to Uganda. In recent developments, Uganda has already started moving military equipment and personnel as well as setting up military bases in DRC in the name of a joint operation to fight Ugandan ADF rebels.
2 - General Wamala’s ministerial docket and security Implication to Uganda. Wamala is the Minister in charge who attended the meetings regarding the building of these Roads and was also the one tasked with the building of these roads. Wamala is also the Minister in charge of Uganda Airlines. Wamala was Uganda’s chief of the army as well as Police chief. These are one of the highest organs of Ugandan security, indicating that Wamala is high up in Uganda’s security network. It is unlikely that Rwanda intended to Kill Wamala. It was a deadly warning. With over 50 bullets fired in a duration of over 5 minutes through a bullet-proof-less car, and only slight injuries to the arm of the intended target, while two killed and one completely unhurt, I can only conclude that the assailants did not want to kill Wamala. They just want to scare him as well as generate fear by killing his daughter (family)as a deterrent to him and any high-level Ugandans involved in building of these roads.
3 – Revival of Uganda Airlines. Contrary to believe, I think, the revival of Uganda Airlines was not primarily for the benefit of easing travel for Ugandans as there were several airlines already providing travel, with most of these airlines running losses. However, the revival was to curtail Rwanda’s increasing influence over Uganda through Rwandair. Rwandair for years had been running losses in the millions of dollars as it very often undercut pricing for flights to Uganda to become a leading airline to and from Uganda. Uganda had already accused Rwanda of spying and was not comfortable with Rwandair’s influence and access to its dignitaries who often found every lame excuse to fly abroad.
4 – Corruption at Uganda Airlines. At the time of Wamala’s attempted assassination, Wamala was the minister in charge of investigating the corruption and theft of funds within Uganda Airlines. These too could have created enemies for him, within Uganda and the top Uganda government cabal that looted Uganda Airlines. Then there was the Issue of Ephraim Bagenda the former CEO of Uganda Airlines who was also a director with RwandAir. Bagenda had been accused by elements within Uganda Airlines as being compromised by Rwanda. They claimed Bagenda was an agent of Rwanda, to the point of even claiming he was of Rwandan decent. Hence his sitting atop Uganda Airlines could should be treated as a security threat. The replacement of Bagenda with Cornwal Muleya as CEO was rigged with intrigue.
In conclusion, Rwanda often is accused of extrajudicial assassinations of its enemies within foreign country boundaries. In Wamala’s assassination attempt, Rwanda is sending out a strong psychological and strategic message that Uganda’s internal security is vulnerable, and that Rwanda at will is capable of reaching key security personnel in Uganda. It also a message that says Rwanda will not sit idly by, while Uganda sounds the drums of war with an attack that would economically and strategically box and suffocate Rwanda as a land locked country.