Ministers recommend that Museveni, Kagame reopen border

Sunday February 16 2020

President Museveni (right) and Rwanda’s P

President Museveni (right) and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame at State House Entebbe on March 25 2018. FILE PHOTO 

By RISDEL KASASIRA

The ad hoc commission formed in August last year in Angola to de-escalate tension between Uganda and Rwanda has recommended that Rwanda reopens its border.

This was during a meeting of the Commission in Kigali on Friday where the delegations from Uganda and Rwanda also agreed that both countries respect the human rights of nationals from the either countries.

The recommendation, according to the joint statement signed by Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and Rwanda’s State minister for East African Community Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe has been forwarded for consideration in a meeting between President Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame on February 21 at Katuna border.

“Subject to the fulfilment of the above undertakings, the ad hoc Commission recommends to the Quadripartite summit to consider the issue of the normalisation of the activities and mobility of the people and goods across the common borders between Rwanda and Uganda,” they said in a joint statement signed by Uganda.

Rwanda was yesterday expected to formally write to Uganda to show how Rwandan dissidents are using Ugandan territory to undermine the government in Kigali.

“The Government of Rwanda will formally write to the Government of Uganda on February 15, 2020, notifying the latter about some specific issues related to the alleged distabilising activities carried out by Rwandan rebel groups from the Ugandan territory,” the statement said.

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Uganda has previously denied these allegations, saying it cannot allow dissidents to use its territory to undermine the government of Kigali.

Uganda and Rwanda formed the ad hoc commission in August last year in Angola to implement the Memorandum of Understanding signed by President Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame to end tension between the two countries.

During the same meeting, both countries agreed to verify the number and the status of the nationals detained in either country and report back in three weeks.

Rwanda has claimed that more than 100 of its nationals are being held in the Ugandan cells but Uganda says those under arrest are criminals who must face the law.

This week, Rwanda deported a Ugandan ICT expert, Ivan Peter Egessa, who went missing in Kigali in December last year and had been in the hands of the Rwandan security agencies. Kigali declared Egessa “prohibited immigrant” without spelling out his crime. Last month, Uganda released nine Rwandan suspects to ease tension between the two countries.

The Kigali meeting came after the previous one which took place at Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo in Kampala in December hit a dead end after Rwandan and Ugandan delegates disagreed and referred the issues to President Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart to resolve.

Museveni and Kagame would later return to Luanda, for talks. The principals have since agreed to meet again on February 22 at the Katuna border.

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