How Uganda-Rwanda Row Cost Andrew Mwenda His Job as Kagame’s Advisor

Ugandan veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda was absent as Rwanda President Paul Kagame addressed his 23-man team of advisors in New York, USA, on Sunday.

Mwenda was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) in 2011 during one of their annual meetings in NewYork, USA.

PAC is a group of experts in different fields and of different nationalities who offer strategic advice to the President and the Government of Rwanda.

The council, which met in New York, includes Andrea Redmond, Ashish Thakkar, Christian Angermayer, Dr Clet Niyikiza, Dale Dawson, Dr Donald Kaberuka, Dr Éliane Ubalijoro, Bishop John Rucyahana, Kaia Miller, Michael Fairbanks, Prof. Michael Porter, Michael Roux, Dr Paul Davenport, Pastor Rick Warren and Scott Ford.

However, Mr Mwenda was nowhere to be seen with sources saying the journalist was recently removed from the position amid the ongoing diplomatic standoff between Kigali and Kampala.

According to Mr David Himbara, a former confidant of Kagame, Mwenda’s offense is in the article ”Uganda and Rwanda’s slippery slope” which he authored at the height of tensions between Uganda and Rwanda.

The article reads partly: ”The conflict between Uganda and Rwanda is escalating and, if not arrested, will most likely lead to war. Last week, Uganda claimed that Rwandan troops had crossed into Uganda and shot two people dead. Rwanda said the incident took place on its soil. Given the circumstances, the facts do not really matter. In such tense situations, these incidents only provide propaganda value to partisans on each side to prove their side to be the aggrieved party.”

According to Mr Himbara who is familiar with Kagame’s ways, it was unacceptable for Mwenda not to be entirely on Rwanda’s side.

“The Mwenda piece seems to be tame and reasonable. But in the land of sycophants we call Rwanda, Mwenda committed high treason for not calling Kagame a saint, and for not calling Museveni, evil.”

Himbara foresaw the sack in June when he wrote on his medium platform thus: “Dear Mwenda, perhaps, this is a wake-up regarding your complex relationship with Uganda and Rwanda. In Uganda, you built your reputation with journalism. In Rwanda, you became a senior advisor to iron-fisted Kagame. Can you achieve both purposes in times of lunacy whereby a ruler can close an international border in the 21st century? I highly doubt that. In any event, good luck.”

However, Mr Mwenda reportedly said he was not aware of being removed from his position, insisting that he missed the meeting because of other commitments.

In his speech, Mr Kagame praised his advisors for their support, which he said has facilitated inclusive growth for all Rwandans, be it in urban or rural set-ups.

“After so many years of being together in PAC, things keep changing and they change for the better. People have been working hard, and the people of Rwanda have been a central part of this story,” he said.

“Today, we can say that we have good news in a sense of where the country is. We are not yet there as we all know, but we have made progress. It is still work in progress,” he added.

“Whether it’s education, coffee, or any kind of support, it has become a real-life story that people tell. They tell you where they have been, where they are and how they made it to where they are now,” he added.

Mr Kagame is expected to address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday.