Preparations for Katuna border talks in high gear

Monday February 17 2020

Mr David Bahati (centre), the State Minister fo

Mr David Bahati (centre), the State Minister for Planning, who doubles as the Member of Parliament for Ndorwa West, inspects the Katuna/Gatuna border with district leaders on Saturday. PHOTO BY ROBERT MUHEREZA 

By Robert Muhereza

The preparations for the February 21 high profile meeting and talks between President Museveni and his Rwanda counterpart, Paul Kagame, over the Uganda-Rwanda border stalemate are in high gear.
The meeting, scheduled to take place at Katuna border, is aimed at resolving the tension between Uganda and Rwanda.
Angola and DR Congo leaders are also scheduled to attend.

Katuna Town Council leaders and the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) officials at the weekend said they were engaged in a beehive of activities.

Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija, the mayor of Katuna Town Council, said they are upgrading the border point and maintaining hygiene of the meeting’s venue.

“We are painting commercial buildings and collecting garbage,” he said on Saturday.
Mr Augustine Kabanda, an engineer attached to Unra in Kabale station, was supervising the roadworks at Katuna border.
“We are involved in several activities to prepare the venue that shall host the heads of state,” he said.

On February 28, Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda at Gatuna and Cyanika in Kabale and Kisoro districts, respectively.
Hundreds of cargo trucks destined for Rwanda got stranded at the border points. Rwandan authorities advised the truck drivers to turn back and use the Mirama Hill border in Ntungamo District, about 100km away.

In August last year, Mr Kagame and Mr Museveni signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Luanda, Angola, that was meant to end the border standoff.

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“The fact that the heads of state meeting has been organised to take place at the border of the two countries unlike in the past where they were being held in Angola, we are optimistic the meeting may answer the prayers of border communities,” Mr Nshangabasheija said.
The Ndorwa West MP, who is also the Kabale District NRM party chairperson, and State Minister for Planning, Mr David Bahati, on Saturday visited Katuna border post and thanked the organising team for the work being done.

“I appeal to all Ugandans and peace loving people to pray for this day so that a solution is found,” Mr Bahati said.
He said the closure had affected local famers and traders in the border communities. “Before the closure of the borders, 100Kgs of Irish potatoes used to fetch Shs200,000 but now it has reduced to Shs120,000. It is our wish for positive deliberations,” Mr Bahati said.

The closure of borders resulted in smuggling of goods from Uganda to Rwanda and the culprits have either been shot dead or arrested by Rwanda security operatives.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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