Source: Inyenyeri News Group
Tom Byabagamba’s latest appearance in court has triggered an outpour of outrage from his former comrades.
Inyenyeri news reached out to some of these officers for comment :
“To see Tom Byabagamba in that military police cage just tells you where RPF is today. None of our bush war commanders would believe it. It is a good thing they did not live to see what we have become. When people see Afande Tom in handcuffs, in that prison uniform, escorted like a common criminal, disrespected for his service … All that smear campaign against him is psychological torture for those of us who know him.”
Tom Byabagamba became Kagame’s trusted bodyguard after Sentongo and Ronald Mugabo. He was a fighter, I knew him when he was Afande Bitamazire ‘s escort. Along with comrade John Gasana. When Bitamazire was killed, Afande Tom and comrade Gasana escaped capture, and somehow found their way back to us through Akagera Park back and Kagame took interest in their brave escape. Tom was assigned to his security detail and went on to become his most trusted bodyguard. He did an excellent job. He was even wounded in Nkana, where Kagame was almost captured.
He became a chief escort in charge of his ( Kagame’s) comings and goings, his meals- everything; and those were dire times, death was a very common occurrence, after Rwigema, we were all candidates. Tom was his rock, he knew he was one of the few, if not the only one among his officers that he could rely on; he promoted him to C.O. He was the only one who could advise Kagame on changes of itineraries. The only one who could tell him where he was not allowed to go for his security’s sake. The only one who could make him walk the red carpet “ whether he liked it or not “. He was the voice of reason to Kagame’s paranoia.”
“I personally do not understand how he (Kagame) can sleep at night knowing what he has done to this man (Byabagamba). Especially when I see how they are parading him to the media in that cage, in those shoes. An RPA fighter! A career RDF officer who was in charge of the safety of the CIC for years! What message does that send with regards to the wages of loyalty in his (Kagame’s) army?! And blaming this psychological abuse on Himbara ( Byabagamba’s brother ) is a story only civilians can believe.
The truth is that RDF is not what it used to be for anyone (from Uganda ) since Kayumba’s departure. We have all become pariahs, his (Kagame’s) entourage has labeled us “traitors loyal only to the memory of Afande Rwigema”.
“How many of our own are left in his (Kagame’s) close protection?
No one said anything when our boys were killed and dumped in Rweru in RNC T-shirts. And let us not blame this development on Himbara.
Himbara is not the reason he ( Kagame) has entrusted his security to our Bagogwe brothers and our brothers from Burundi. “
”Tom is smiling through his humiliation. Even in those handcuffs, he stands tall, taller than his tormentors. Because he is innocent. They all know it. Those boys escorting him to and from the court are the ones looking uncomfortable, enforcing directives they do not believe in.“
“Tom, maybe in jail but does that mean the boss is safe with the sort of close protection that keeps him in hiding …When he had Tom, he could afford to be confident in public. Today he prefers the security that keeps him behind the screen. Kabarebe will not admit it, but l know he is laughing privately. And Kazura is too busy fearing for his life in between his impossible missions.”