Uganda-Rwanda border conflict: Speakers push for MPs mediation

Friday November 22 2019

Speaking out. Speaker of the Rwandan

Speaking out. Speaker of the Rwandan Parliament, Ms Donatile Mukabalisa, (left) and Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah (right) at the sidelines of the African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Parliamentary Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda on November 22, 2019. PARLIAMENT PHOTO 

By Moses Kyeyune

Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah and Speaker of the Rwandan Parliament, Ms Donatile Mukabalisa, are pushing for the intervention of legislators from both countries in the long border standoff between both countries.

The Rwanda-Uganda border at Gatuna has remained closed to Ugandan goods and services since February. Rwanda accuses Uganda of espionage and hiding dissidents, while Kampala has accused the Kigali administration of trade sabotage.

Avenues for diplomatic engagement remain frail, after Rwandan authorities called off a Kampala meeting early this week.
Mr Oulanyah in a meeting with the Speaker of Rwandan Parliament at the sidelines of the African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Parliamentary Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda, discussed how the border impasse can be resolved.
Ms Mukabalisa, who was in the company of her deputy Sheikh Musa Fazil Hareramana, said the standoff between the two countries is disappointing.
She said Rwandans still fear to travel to Uganda due to reports of kidnaps and torture and called on Parliaments of the two countries to make a contribution towards the ongoing efforts to resolve the conflict.

“Considering the role of MPs, as parliamentarians we should always put first the plight of the people we represent,” she said.
Mr Oulanyah re-affirmed that the conflict is ‘heartbreaking for people who shared so much in common and lived peacefully for many years.”
He said the major victim of the conflict is the ordinary citizen, hence the need for Parliament intervention.
Mr Oulanyah also suggested that the two states should use the Sudan and South Sudan peace approach which saw the two countries carry out an exchange visit of representatives.
He, however, cautioned both countries against reliance on fake news, saying it escalates conflict.

“Some of the things that came out from the press; we also just read them and nowadays there is so much fake news, we should all be vigilant about that,” he said.
Mr Oulanyah is leading a delegation of Ugandan MPs that include WillIam Nokrach (PWDs, Northern Uganda) and Juliet Kinyamatama (NRM, Rakai District) who are attending a conference of the African Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Parliamentary Assembly in Kigali.

mkyeyune@ug.nationmedia.com

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