Uganda-Rwanda Border impasse: Re-opening talks extended to the next meeting to be held in Uganda after 30 days
Uganda-Rwanda border – Peace talks aimed at resolving the strange relations between the two sister countries started yesterday on Monday 16 Sept 2019, in Rwanda’s Capital City Kigali in which the two delegations arrived at a numbery of agreements of mutual interests.
The two countries delegates attended the first Ad – hoc Commission arranged to implement the earlier Memorandum of Understanding agreement signed in Luanda Angola Capital in August 2019, by Rwanda and Uganda heads of States, that’s president Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda.
In particular, the meeting was aimed at normalising relations between the two sister East African countries.
So, in the agreement, the two countries agreed to treat each other’s citizens’ with due respect.
But on the issue of re-opening the Uganda-Rwanda border and free movement of people, it was pushed over to the next meeting to happen in Kampala after 30 days.
Still, in the communique signed by the Rwanda Minister of State in charge of the East African Community, Oliver Nduhungirehe who led the Rwanda delegates and the Uganda Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa agreed to re-open the border that will see free movement of people to the next meeting due to happen in Kampala after 30 days.
The communique also indicated that Rwanda delegates provided a list of Rwandans who according to them are illegally detained by the Uganda government. However, the communique also showed that Uganda delegates vowed to rectify the mess for purposes of providing judicial process.
“There are things that have continued to hinder our bilateral relationship and these include; habitual arrests, detention and torture of innocent Rwandans in Uganda and acts of economic sabotage,” Nduhungirehe said.
And the Ugandan officials committed to checking against the names of Rwandans said to be under illegal detention, release all those who have no charges to answer while those with criminal cases to answer will be formally charged.
The two countries also agreed to desist from destabilising peace in both countries.
“Both parties agreed that due process will be followed in dealing with each other’s citizens. Both parties reiterated their commitment to refraining from any acts of destabilising against each other,” stated the communique.
More to that, the communique showed that the two countries also agreed to finalise the extradition treaty to provide a framework to return each other’s criminals under detention.
Meanwhile, both countries have not, yet, agreed to open up each other’s online news websites which were blocked as a result of the impasse.
In February 2019, Rwandan authorities closed up its border point at Gatuna blocking entry of Ugandans and their goods to Rwanda and also blocking Rwandans from entering Uganda over security fears in Uganda.
So Monday talks were meant to end the diplomatic rows between the two East African through activation of the peace deal signed by Museveni and Kagame in Luanda Angola Capital.
Commenting on the agreement arrived at by the two countries, Hon Theodore Ssekikubo, Lwemiyaga County legislator Ssebambule District said that free movement of people, goods and services should have been cleared first before dealing with other issues.
“Well, I think the communique is a combination of the meeting that was held in Kigali today between the Rwandan and Ugandan delegation. But the wording of the communique it’s self gives a lot to be desired. Well as all of us whelming Ugandans and I think, of course, Rwanda would wish to have normalised relations, but unfortunately this communique gives a lot to be desired,” Ssekikubo said.
“For instance; the last item of that communique talks about the free movement of people, goods and services that one can wait! that shall wait, at a later date in 30 days to come. And yet the agreement between the two sister countries was people should be free to move across the borders as it was in the past,” Ssekikubo added.
In Ssekikubo’s further remarks, issues like release of detainees should have waited and re-opening of the Uganda-Rwanda border points dealt with first because it was the main issue in the Luanda Angola signing by the two presidents.
“To me, the main concept was to allow free movement of people goods and services. Then these others could come in, now taking it from the first item, from the first point as you read it if you say the due process shall be followed, then that means there should be a process of screening, now where does this leave the two countries? The Angola summit was meant to do away with all that to normalise relations.”