Parliament has asked the Executive to prepare a statement to explain the causes of Rwanda’s hostility towards Uganda. For the past six days, the Rwandan authorities have blocked Ugandan goods from entering their country and warned their nationals against travelling to Uganda, claiming safety concerns.
According to Police reports, even students who attend university and lower level education in Uganda have been barred by the Rwandan authorities. After concerns raised by some MPs on the matter, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, directed the Executive to present a statement on the matter on Thursday.
“I want the Government to take this matter seriously. We have continued to see blockage of goods. It has now gone to human beings. Can we get an explanation? Ugandans want to know whether they should plan to take goods to Rwanda. You need to give hope to Ugandans,” Kadaga said.
Responding to some of the queries, Deputy Premier Gen. Moses Ali told Parliament that the sour relationship between the two countries was no longer a secret.
“We cannot say we do not know what is happening. The Government is taking the necessary action. This House will be informed at an appropriate time when the Government is ready,” Ali said.
Gen. Ali’s response triggered murmurs of dissatisfaction from the legislators. Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko reported that over 100 Kampala traders had communicated to him that they were stranded with their merchandise at the border.
“There are more than 175 trucks of merchandise stuck at the border at Katuna. The situation is affecting both Uganda and Rwanda,” Nsereko said.
“We cannot claim all is well when Rwanda is issuing travel warnings to Rwandans not to travel to Uganda. It is affecting our international image. It is affecting our tourism,” Nsereko said.
Youth MP Anna Adeke said she had raised the matter earlier, but it was not taken seriously,
“On December 18, last year, I raised this matter before it got to this level. I gave names of Rwandans who had been arrested and detained by the Government. I was surprised when the internal affairs minister wrote to me to give him the details as if I am in charge of detention facilities.”
The Kilak South MP, Gilbert Olanya, said:
“I have a person who works in Rwanda. He told me Rwanda has notified them that with effect from next month, they will no longer be allowed to work in the country. There is a terrible problem between Uganda and Rwanda. They are hiding some information.”
Over the weekend, Rwanda Times newspaper quoted the Rwanda foreign affairs minister, Dr Richard Sezibera, attributing the conflict to harassment and arrest of Rwandans in Uganda. He also accused Uganda of offering a safe haven to armed groups that want to destabilise Rwanda.