Minister Mateke denies Uganda-Rwanda war tweet

Sunday January 26 2020

Mr Philemon Mateke, Uganda's State Minister for

Mr Philemon Mateke, Uganda's State Minister for Regional Affairs. PHOTO BY STEPHEN OTAGE 

By STEPHEN OTAGE

Regional Affairs State minister Philemon Mateke says government has launched investigations into the authorship of a tweet claiming he asked government to “respond” to the killing of Ugandans by Rwandan military forces.

Early this week, social media, was awash with shares of a tweet attributed to the junior regional affairs minister, in which he is alleged to have asked government to “respond” to the killing of Ugandan by Rwandan forces.

The tweet suggested that the minister had lost faith in the use of diplomacy to mend relations between the two countries because Rwanda appeared uninterested in the use of diplomacy.

The tweet further indicated that the minister had earlier warned Uganda not to sign a pact with Rwanda because it would not work, adding that no good can ever come out of signing a pact with her southern neighbour.

Speaking at the side-lines of the India’s 70th national day celebrations on Friday, where he was chief guest, Dr Mateke said he does have a Twitter account, adding that his mobile phone handset, is not smart. He believes that the tweet has origins in Rwanda.

“I have instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs to investigate the authorship of that message. See the only phone I have. There are people inside Rwanda who have issues with me,” he said.

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Responding to questions around the number of Ugandans that have died and what government has so far done about it, Dr Mateke said the Presidents are engaged in discussions about the matter.

“Harmony between Uganda and Rwanda is good for the two countries and the East African Community. I need to compile the number of people who have been killed. President Museveni must do something,” he said.

Minister Mateke’s comments are a departure from the position that the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr Okello Oryem, recently stated in Parliament where he presented the Ministry’s budget framework paper for the Financial Year 2020/2021.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials had been barred from discussing or making public statements about the relations between Uganda and Rwanda for fear they could make “provocative statements”, which could derail ongoing talks.

RWANDA RESPONDS

Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Uganda, Maj Gen Frank Mugambage, who also attended the Friday function, which was held at the Indian High Commission in Kampala, declined to comment on the tweet, which he described as “rubbish”.

sotage@ug.nationmedia.com

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