No change in Rwanda, Uganda ties

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A regional newspaper, The East African, has reported in their latest issue, about what they call the “ease of tensions” at the Rwanda – Uganda borders.

The paper bases this analysis on an interview they had with a couple of residents around the border area, mainly at Gatuna border post.

This is far from the truth, according to officials who are well versed with the goings-on between both countries.

According to officials who spoke to The New Times, the very reasons that were advanced by the Government of Rwanda which they said are responsible for the strain in relations with Uganda still exist, and there has not been any change to the effect of addressing the three main problems.

The three issues that were presented by Rwanda include the targeting and persecution of Rwandan nationals on Ugandan soil and Uganda’s continued hobnobbing with individuals who harbour plans to attack and destabilise peace in Rwanda.

The third reason is economic sabotage, where Uganda has not taken any step to address these issues that economically hurt Rwanda, the source said.

The travel advisory was issued at the beginning of March.

None of the above has changed according to available information.

For instance, two months since Rwanda made the necessary steps to protect its citizens by advising Rwandans against travelling to Uganda, there has not been any change in terms of efforts to stop harassing Rwandans in Uganda.

Rwandans continue to be targeted in Uganda.

In fact, the situation has since deteriorated, now involving assassinations where two Rwandans have been murdered on Ugandan soil, including one in Kisoro town and another one in Kabarore.

On April 15 2019, at around 10p.m, unknown assailants trailed and shot dead a Rwandan businessman named Lambert Sanabo.

The deceased, 52, was the manager of a famous wine factory, Isimbi Wines.

The assailants, who were in a Premio saloon car, white in colour, trailed the deceased who was riding his Bajaj motorcycle registration number UDS 105H, before shooting him as soon as he arrived at his house.

Sanabo’s body was repatriated to Rwanda on April 17, through Cyanika border post.

Another Rwandan, Theogene Dusengimana, 28, who was working in a tea plantation in Kabarole District, Uganda, since 2014, was on April 7 killed by unknown people.

The Ugandan Police in Kabale District intercepted people who were transporting his body to Rwanda via illegal routes on April 9 and immediately took it to Kabale hospital for further management.

The body has since been repatriated, also via Cyanika border post.

Besides the assassinations, many Rwandans are still held in different ungazetted places by Ugandan security operatives, as evidenced by figures that are available for the past two months.

According to border records, between March and April 2019, a total of 94 Rwandans were dumped at the border with Uganda, having first been arrested and detained for varying periods of time.

These illegal deportations have happened at all the three official borders with Uganda with Cyanika border receiving 22, Gatuna 51 and Kagitumba 21.

Equally, abduction of Rwandans has never stopped, going by testimonies from those who have been fortunate enough to come out of the torture chambers alive.

Secondly, Uganda’s assistance to Rwanda National Congress (RNC) has never stopped, according to information available.

In fact, it is during these past one and half months that President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda received a delegation of senior officials from RNC, led by their head of diplomacy, Rwandan dissident Charlotte Mukankusi.

He acknowledged this much in a letter he wrote to his counterpart, President Paul Kagame, that was sent through New Vision – a Ugandan government daily – which published it on March 19, in which he said he had “accidentally met Mukankusi”.

It would later come out that the Ugandan authorities issued Mukankusi with a Ugandan passport, which she now uses to travel around the world mobilising support for the terrorist group.

The only thing that has changed perhaps is the progress that has been made towards the completion of the Gatuna One Stop Border Post, at least on the Rwandan side.

In fact, Infrastructure Minister Claver Gatete and his Foreign Affairs counterpart, Dr Richard Sezibera on Friday visited the border and would later report that works on the Rwandan side are nearly complete and within the deadline.

 “Look forward to speedy completion on the Uganda side so the OSBP can become operational within timelines agreed at the Northern Corridor summit,” Sezibera tweeted Friday.

According to Minister Gatete, the works are at 93 per cent of completion.

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