Lt Joel Mutabazi
Legislators have demanded for an explanation from the government over what they have labeled as the “illegal arrests and extradition” of Rwandese accorded refugee status in Uganda to Kigali.
The MPs said this is in contravention of international conventions and protocols about refugees to which Uganda is signatory.
Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga said many ‘Ugandan-Rwandese’ are apprehensive about the spate of such acts, including the murder last year, of a Rwandese journalist who had sought asylum in Uganda.
“The country deserves an explanation on this matter because we have thousands of families whose family lineages straddle the two countries,” Mpuuga said.
Underscoring the importance of respecting international conventions on refugees, Wamai Wamanga wondered how the top echelon of Uganda’s government can fail to appreciate the predicament of refugees, yet many of them had spent “a considerable chunk of their lives as refugees” during Uganda’s turbulent years.
“Many of us spent years in foreign countries as refugees, but those countries never extradited Ugandans to the governments of the day,” Wamanga said, adding: “If there are people who should know better what it means to seek asylum in a foreign country, it should be the top leadership of this government.”
However, with Public Service minister Henry Kajura denying knowledge of any “abductions, murders, arrests or extradition” of Rwandese nationals in Uganda, Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah ordered Mpuuga to furnish government with a comprehensive statement about his allegations before the relevant ministry can make a statement next week.
The latest development follows the arrest and extradition to Rwanda of Lt Joel Mutabazi – a former personal bodyguard of Rwandese president Paul Kagame – without following the due process.
Following Mutabazi’s extradition, the United Nation’s High Commission for Refugees lodged a formal complaint to government resulting into the suspension of Joel Aguma – the deputy CIID director in charge of crime intelligence.
It’s alleged that Aguma coordinated the arrest and extradition of Mutabazi last month.
Long sought after by the Rwandese government, Mutabazi had been granted asylum in Uganda, although according to Police Spokesperson, Judith Nabakoba, Kigali had handed the Ugandan authorities his warrant of arrest over criminal charges related to a bank robbery.