RWANDA CHALLENGES UGANDA OVER TALKS AFTER 30 DAYS, KAMPALA QUITE?

UGANDA-RWANDA TALKS: UGANDA IS SUPPOSED TO HOST RWANDA DELEGATION AFTER 30 DAYS, KAMPALA QUITE?

On 16th September 2019, Uganda and Rwanda officials met in Kigali, the Capital City of Rwanda to break the ice on the frozen relations of the two countries. One of the key resolutions was a follow up meeting in Kampala after 30 days which was yesterday 16th/10/2019.

The New Times Publications posted, “When Rwanda and Uganda officials met in Kigali last month on September 16, both parties agreed that a follow up meeting, to iron out the the differences between both countries would happen 30 days later in Kampala, Uganda”.

Those 30 days, however, elapsed on Wednesday with Kigali not hearing from Kampala.

“Uganda-Rwanda ties: NO WORD FROM KAMPALA AS 30 DAYS ELAPSE”

If Kampala fails to call a meeting soon, does it mean the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Angola by Rwanda and Uganda will fail? The locals at the closed borders want leaders to end months of tensions which have gone on for over two years now.

The planned convention serves a clause in the Luanda agreement which calls both countries to establish an Adhoc committee for the implementation of the MoU headed by the ministries of foreign affairs and composed of the ministers responsible for internal administration and intelligence chiefs.

Kigali and Kampala also held talks over the back and forth censorship of online media websites that each country deems to be spreading “propaganda” and inciting insecurity.

The Uganda Communication Centre on August 16 ordered internet providers to block Rwanda’s only daily newspaper, The New Times, as well as online tabloid Igihe, on grounds of national security.

The Rwanda Utility and Regulatory Authority countered by blocking a host of Ugandan sites including New Vision, Daily Monitor, The Observer, Chimp Reports and The Independent.

Meanwhile, businesses continue to count losses as the closure of the common border enters the seventh month.

Some Ugandan companies with operations in Rwanda have reported losses and some have laid off workers.

“The border closure has caused us huge losses. Some of us had bank loans, now we don’t know where this is headed but they really ruined our trade,” he said.

“I don’t know how we will recover, even when things normalise,” he said

The meeting was aimed at normalising relations between the two neighbouring nations.

After months of high-level political dialogue, Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame signed an MoU on regional co-operation and security, setting the pace for the improvement of political and trade relations between Uganda and Rwanda.

According to the pact, the two leaders agreed to “respect the sovereignty” of Uganda and Rwanda and other neighbouring countries.

The two leaders also agreed to “resume as soon as possible the cross-border activities between both countries, including the movement of persons and goods, for the development and improvement of the lives of their population”.

Kutesa and co are in Kigali for the harmonisation of the implementation process of the accord.

Officials from around the region attended the meeting, particularly from neighbouring DR Congo and Angola.

Foreign affairs State minister Olivier Nduhungirehe is leading the Rwandan delegation. Manuel Domingos Augusto, Angola’s external affairs minister and Gilbert Malamba, DR Congo’s Deputy Prime Minister of interior, security and customary affairs, attended the meeting.

A delegation of Rwanda and Ugandan officials and ministers are “working on” a joint meeting to discuss the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Angola by Rwanda and Uganda leaders to end months of tensions which have gone on for over two years now.

A highly placed source told The EastAfrican that the first high-level official meeting could happen in “the next few weeks.”

“Both parties are confident that the agreement will be ‘fully implemented’”, said the source without giving details on the date and venue for the meeting.

The planned convention serves a clause in the Luanda agreement which calls both countries to establish an Adhoc committee for the implementation of the MoU headed by the ministries of foreign affairs and composed of the ministers responsible for internal administration and intelligence chiefs.

No update has been provided as of this week regarding what has so far been implemented from the agreement.

President Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni embarked on busy schedules since signing the agreement last Wednesday and have not publicly commented anything regarding its implementation.

Today another diplomatic question arose as Rwanda barred Ugandan pilgrims from entering its country through Katuna border.

Rwanda Immigration Officers at Katuna border have blocked 61 Ugandans from crossing into Rwanda over “ebola” scare. The Pilgrims from Kasese diocese were heading to Kibeho for prayers.

 Kibeho is a small town in south Rwanda, which became known outside of that country because of reported apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ occurring between 1981 and 1989.

Joseph Muhindo team leader confirmed to Kigezi News that they were told to return back to Uganda because an epidemic was reported in their area of Rwenzori which borders Eastern Congo that battled Ebola for months killing thousands of people.

“We tried to convince the Rwandese authorities that Uganda was safe of ebola but heard non of our pleas. We returned back to Uganda and heading to Central Uganda to continue prayer”.

The 61 Ugandans had booked service providers for the next three days and were in tears after losing the money they paid in advance. We have taken time saving for this trip but its sad we cant be allowed in Rwanda.

Mid 2019,  Rwandan troops blocked about 200 of their citizens from crossing into Uganda to attend a Christian pilgrimage, a Ugandan government official said on Monday, amid a spat between the neighbours.

The Rwandans were seeking to attend the annual Martyrs Day commemoration in Uganda but were turned back, the official said.

“More than 200 Rwandans who were coming to attend Martyrs Day were stopped by the military from crossing to Uganda and sent back,” Janinah Busingye, an official at Katuna, the border town with Rwanda, told AFP at the time.

“This is how bad the situation has become between Uganda and Rwanda. People’s right to worship is now being interfered with.”

She said pilgrims from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi had been using the same crossing to enter Uganda via Rwanda, and had not encountered any problems.

One 66-year-old pilgrim, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP she travelled in a large group to the border but was denied entry.

“We were told that we cannot cross into Uganda for the sake of our security,” she told AFP.

Martyrs Day on June 3 commemorates the execution of 45 converts to Christianity in the 1880s.

Their death was ordered by the then king of Buganda, which is now part of Uganda.

They included 22 of his pages, who had converted to Catholicism and were burned alive on June 3 1886. They were beatified by the Holy See in 1920 and canonised in 1964 by Pope Paul VI.

Several hundred Rwandans typically used to travel to Uganda for the event, tourism figures show but this has changed.

But Rwanda closed its border with Uganda in February, freezing a key regional trade route, as hostilities between President Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni boiled over.

Rwandan traders have been prevented by force from crossing the border into Uganda, where many used to work during the day.

In late May, Ugandan police accused Rwandan soldiers of entering the country and killing two men but Rwanda said the incident happened on its soil.

Recently, officials of Uganda and Rwanda met in the capital Kigali to discuss the tensions but after one month nothing seem to be moving.

Credit: The East African

About Goodluck Musinguzi

Born on 12th March 1979 in Kabale district, South Western Uganda near the Rwanda and Eastern Congo Borders. Started Journalism around 1999, the Kibwetere inferno was a turn around. Entatsi newspaper and Monitor FM were interested in my stories. I covered extensively the Amama Mbabazi-Garuga Musinguzi Parliamentary elections extensively for Monitor Newspaper,Monitor FM, Voice of Kigezi and Entatsi Newspaper. Later I worked with Uganda Radio Network. Newvision gave me opportunity to cover War in Eastern Congo. Did investigation stories. Am now the Chief Executive Officer Kigezi News Agency Limited, we publish for a number of websites in Uganda.

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2 comments

  1. The memorandum that was signed btn two countries was useless as it never served its purpose.

  2. Should we presume that uganda is Not the one taking it into consideration as its in wrong?why is it quite

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