Who Is The True Rwandan Dissident Robert Higiro?

The East African Legislative Assembly has granted leave to two Members to introduce Private Members’ Bills pursuant to article 59(1) of the Treaty and Rule 64 of the Rules of Procedure.

Uganda’s representative, price Hon. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa will move the EAC Whistleblowers Protection Bill, help 2015 while Hon. Frederic Ngenzebuhoro has been granted permission to introduce the EAC Retirement Benefits for Specified Heads of Organs Bill, pills 2015.

The object of the Whistleblowers Protection Bill, 2015 is to create an enabling environment for both the Partner States’ citizens and non-citizens to disclose freely, information on corrupt or improper conduct both in the public and private sectors in the Community.

The Bill is premised on Article 6 of the Treaty in which Partner States undertook to promote the principles of good governance including adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, accountability, transparency, social justice and equal opportunities among others.

It hopes to provide for the protection from victimisation of whistleblowers as well as procedures for making disclosures.

In her justification, Hon. Zziwa decried the increasing reports of graft, corruption and public plunder of resources across board in the EAC region.

The recent Papal visit according to Hon. Zziwa was in addition to seeking forgiveness, also an opportune moment to reflect on a number of issues.

“You will recall the Papal decried tribalism, sectarianism which has caused pain in Africa and called for forgiveness and love. He further urged leaders to desist from corruption likening it to the licking of sugar,” the legislator said.

“Corruption and graft has eaten on to the very fabric of our society and we must find ways out of the vice,” Hon. Zziwa said, adding that a number of stakeholders including Auditor Generals had shown support for the envisaged Bill.

The Bill will enhance accountability, social justice and ultimately, the rule of law.

A second Bill that shall be introduced to the House by Hon. Frederic Ngenzebuhoro is entitled The East African Community Retirement Benefits for Specified Heads of Organs Bill, 2015.

The Bill seeks to make provision for retirement benefits for specified leaders who have honourably served and completed their terms on the service of the Community.

It specifically provides retirement benefits for the former President of the East African Court of Justice, the former Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly and the former Secretary General of the East African Community.

The mover said that the Heads of Organs of the Community are an embodiment of the Integration process.

“EAC should take care of their former leaders, since even in retirement, they are an embodiment of the EAC and a resource,” Hon. Ngenzebuhoro said.

The Bill is seconded by Hon. Dora Byamukama who says the practice of giving retirement benefits is not new to the Community.

“We are adopting best practices from some of the Partner States such as Uganda,” Hon. Byamukama said.

“It is from this House that we are also getting eminent persons who continue to be champions of integration and make a pool of resource for the Community”, she added.
The controversial Senior Presidential Advisor on media, rx Joseph Tamale Mirundi appeared this morning on the government broadcaster UBC TV despite recent restrictions.

The Uganda Communications Commission early this week issued a unilateral order banning Tamale from appearing on any media station in the country due to concerns from unnamed sections of the public, healing who accused him ofusing abusive language and tarnishing their reputation.

Contrary to the UCC`s directive, see UBC TV today hosted Tamale on its political program “Good Morning Uganda” not to get his comment on the broadcasting authority`s ban but to dissect on the current affairs that unfolded during the week that is ending.

Clad in a dark blue suit and purple necktie, Tamale looked not moved and maintained his confident appearance throughout the show.

And as has been the case Tamale didn’t leave his offensive brand at home. He attacked the Democratic Party President Norbert Mao who failed to be nominated for the Gulu Municipality seat on Wednesday for lack of an identity card; comparing him to a man who goes to the toilet with the tissue.

“Mao just like Mbabazi is a very scandalous fellow. He is like a man who goes to the toilet without toilet paper knowing very well that he will need it,” Tamale said during the show.

Mao’s nomination was turned down by the Independent Electoral Commission over lack of national identity card and the absence of his name on the voters’ register. In his defense, the DP president said he was bed ridden by the time of the nationwide exercise.

Tamale also castigated the Forum for Democratic Change`s Kitgum Woman MP, Beatrice Anywar and the DP`s Mukono Municipality MP, Betty Namboze for being double-crossers.

Tamale said the two women are like brides who maintain multiple boyfriends till the wedding moment and expect everything to be normal.

“Anywar and Namboze thought picking money from everywhere was a good idea. They are like brides who keep more than one boyfriends up to wedding and expecting success in the marriage. They picked money from different masters and time for the needful comes when they cannot make quick decisions,” Tamale said.

Anywar and Namboze joined Mbabazi at the start of presidential campaigns but recently took to Besigye`s side. Anywar who is now standing on Independent ticket for Kitgum municipality MP, on Wednesday campaigned for Besigye in the northern town.

Meanwhile Tamale uncharacteristically praised the FDC presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye for rejecting the ideas of former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan and the former International Criminal Court`s Chief Prosecutor, Moreno Occampo. The two international figures allegedly wanted Dr. Besigye to stand down for Go Forward`s Amama Mbabazi.
Roke Telecom in partnership with Google’s Project Link on Thursday launched the largest consumer WiFi network in Kampala.


Roke Telecom’s WiFi network will use google’s Project Link fiber with over 120 hotspots around Kampala allowing people to access the internet on their phones, medications tablets and any other WiFi capable device.

Project Link first started by building a super-fast fiber network in Kampala that could be used by any mobile operator or Internet service provider to help them improve the quality of access and launch new services, rx such as 4G.

By bringing abundant capacity to the city, information pills which is used today by a dozen local providers, Project Link’s fiber network is providing a foundation for better connectivity in Uganda’s capital.

As with the Project Link fiber network, the Wi-Fi hotzone network will equip mobile network operators (MNOs) and Internet service provider (ISPs) with infrastructure they need to deliver improved services to end users.

Speaking during the launch, John Nasasira Minister of Information, Communications and Technology thanked google for choosing Uganda as the first country for this project.

He divulged that the Ministry is also developing a national broadband strategy which presents a unified approach to planning, investment and development of broadband infrastructure as well as services at national and regional levels in order to provide affordable and reliable access to broadband resources for all citizens.

”With the help of Project Link’s new Wi-Fi hotzone network, Internet providers in Kampala will have access to shared infrastructure that can help them enhance their Wi-Fi services and meet the bandwidth needs of Uganda’s largest city,” said Ela Beres, Project Lead on the Wi-Fi effort.

“Local providers can use this new network to bring Wi-Fi to people on-the-go in the city’s busiest locations,” he added.

“Lately Uganda has experienced phenomenal growth in demand for Internet, fueled by the advent of lower-cost smartphones,” said Roger Sekaziga, Chief Executive Officer of Roke Telkom.

““Project Link’s Wi-Fi network allows us to deliver cheaper and more reliable Wi-Fi service to a quickly-growing, often underserved market segment,” he added.
By Maj. (Rtd) Arthur Mitima

‘Kasisi’.  That is the name most remembered by those of us who served alongside ex-RDF Major Robert Higiro. Loosely translated as ‘the destructive one’, approved Kasisi is a label the former officer earned and upheld throughout his military career.

As with many self-proclaimed dissidents, symptoms Higiro newfound fame as a “heroic voice against oppression” is a result of the simplistic but persisting stereotype according to which any opposition to an African government must be righteous. This coupled with the former officer’s well-known taste for self-aggrandizement could only lead to more Kasisi-like trouble.

I began working with Robert Higiro during our early days as soldiers through the liberation struggle and later on in Darfur, click Sudan as peacekeepers. Throughout our time together, Kasisi remained true to his nickname.


For example, while in Kamina DRC in 1997, he single-handedly led to serious tensions with a military contingent from Tanzania, following an incident where he insulted a fellow Tanzanian instructor he was supposed to work with in training Congolese soldiers.

He was called back to headquarters in Kigali, where he already faced possible dismissal on disciplinary grounds, but he was accorded a chance to continue serving, after receiving his first formal warning and counseling. Years later, after the withdrawal of all Rwandan troops from DRC territory, Higiro made an unprecedented move for any RDF officer.

Disguised as a civilian, he crossed back the border on his own and returned to Kamina in pursuit of some shady deals he wouldn’t tell anyone about.

He was apprehended, repatriated and sentenced to jail term. He was eventually released and swore to become an exemplary officer if he was allowed to remain in the army. A pledge he wouldn’t withstand for long…

A few years later, in 2008, Higiro was deployed at the Rwanda Military Academy as an instructor. Following the inadequate handling of visiting instructors from the United States, the RDF Chief of Defense Staff called a meeting during which Higiro had another of his characteristic outbursts, insulting the CDS in front of fellow RDF officers.

His unruliness towards fellow officers –superiors, equals and subordinates alike- and his tendency to use any opportunity to undermine the very institution that had accorded him countless chances continued to deteriorate over the years.

The last straw came during another peacekeeping tour in Darfur where Higiro and I lived in the same house.

Disregarding my words of caution, Higiro kept jeopardizing our force cohesion and the very safety of fellow peacekeepers; he continuously undermined our superiors referring to them as “illiterate and useless commanders” whose authority he scorned.

Incident after incident his slurs kept aiming higher in the hierarchy reaching a point where he would publicly question the leadership and competency of RDF Generals, and eventually the Commander-in-Chief himself.

After numerous warnings, Higiro was dismissed from the army in 2010. He left Rwanda well aware that his chances were much greater as a dissident than a repentant offender; he quickly rebranded himself as a voice calling for the very values he had failed to uphold during his time in Rwanda.

As a retired officer myself, I would not try to claim the high moral ground, but as a businessman, I still contribute to my Nation’s development and I care about its image. I remain proud of my years in uniform and I feel as offended as any one by Higiro’s shameful acts.

In fact, the only thing I would blame the RDF for, is too high a level of tolerance towards a man whose true colors were far from the service, sacrifice and honesty required from one of the most disciplined armies on this continent.

Higiro’s path is the notorious road travelled by too many across this continent.

There has been previous Kasisis… Some just aim to reach and settle into some elusive ‘western Eldorado” and will only stop manufacturing grievances once they have reached their destination; others have bigger ambitions and agendas… they are bent on using these El Dorados as harbor bases to wage propaganda war in their homeland, and to legitimize the use of violence against the political leadership they wish to overthrow and replace.

Turning Higiro into a hero for an exciting journalistic plot is not simply crossing an ethical line, it means willingly giving a platform to a man who openly associates with violent networks responsible for deadly attacks against the very innocent Rwandans he once pledged to protect.

Higiro’s supporters should learn from other cases of unscrupulous individuals who earned visas, fame and money through fabricated testimonies… and ended up embarrassing those who sponsored them.

The lesson from such cases is quite simple: think twice before granting the ‘heroic whistleblower’ label to individuals with dubious backgrounds. Do your homework, or be prepared to share the blame when things turn sour.

 The author is a retired army officer and businessman


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