There has been a standoff at the Uganda-Rwanda border since last Wednesday last week. On Tuesday this week, the Foreign Ministers of both countries addressed the press about the current situation of the standoff in their respective countries.
Richard Sezibera, the Rwandan foreign minister, accused their neighbor of sabotaging trade operations and also maltreating Rwandans in their country. He also said Uganda provided support to rebel groups who oppose President Paul Kagame. On his part, Sam Kutesa, the Ugandan foreign Minister, vehemently denied all the accusations leveled against Uganda by his Rwandan counterpart.
In this article, we bring you five talking points about the Uganda-Rwanda impasse you probably didn’t know about.
Rwanda’s grudge against Uganda
The Rwandan foreign minister stated clearly the reasons why both countries are at logger’s heads. The reasons include:
- Illegally abducting and detaining Rwandans in their country.
- Providing support in different ways for rebel groups suspected to be working against Paul Kagame’s government.
- Hindering trade, especially by intercepting goods going to Rwanda from Uganda.
Rwanda placed an embargo on the movement of trucks from Uganda into the country from the Katuna border. This border is seen as the busiest between Uganda and Rwanda. The restriction was enforced last week. Rwanda gave the reason for the restriction to be the completion of the revamping project on the Katuna border.
Ugandan authorities, however, said it was a shame that movement through the Katuna trade route was restricted. The Rwandan government also warned its citizens to refrain from traveling to Uganda due to the harassment and arrests going on currently.
On Tuesday, Uganda vehemently denied all the accusations leveled labeling each one as false. It is however on record that a Rwandan national, Annie Bilenge Tabura, was deported by the Ugandan government. At the time she was the Head of Sales and Distribution of MTN, the biggest telecommunication company in Uganda. Also, Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan President, had severally referred to foreign agents as wanting to destabilize the country.
When the Ugandan president hosted the Rwandan president he simply passed off the breakdown in the relationship of both countries as a result of poor communication.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA, HON. SAM KUTESA ON THE RWANDA / UGANDA SITUATION. pic.twitter.com/7Xg5gVAEHM
— UgandaMFA ?? (@UgandaMFA) March 5, 2019
The proximity between Uganda and Rwanda
Both countries share a lot more than just borders. They have a lot in common with respect to political, security, and ethnic history. Over the last few decades, both countries have been friendly and hostile to each other at different points.
Kagame had taken part in the guerilla war that brought Museveni to power in 1986 while Museveni’s forces supported Kagame’s bid to rise to power after ending the Rwandan genocide. The armies of both countries also clashed in the DRC during a peace-keeping mission in the late 1990s. This almost led to a civil war between them
Rwanda receives most of its goods from the Indian Ocean port in Mombasa, Kenya’s capital through Uganda. The same route serves Burundi and the DRC.
Both foreign ministers in their statements said that their countries are working hard to sort out the impending issues. The Rwandan minister also said his country was already working on getting an alternative trade route.
Citizens of both countries share a lot in common and are hoping that the issues can be resolved and things can return to normal.