Kigali has dismissed reports that Rwanda and Uganda could be closing in on an understanding to quell tensions between the two countries following unconfirmed reports that President Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa met behind closed doors last week to discuss bilateral ties.
A list of things to do has been named by Rwandan officials which Uganda has to do in order for peacefully negotiations to take place. Rwanda wants Uganda to stop arming Rwandan insurgencies fighting the government and also to release all Rwandans in Ugandan prisons.
Rwanda’s Minister of State in Charge of the East African Community Olivier Nduhungirehe told KT Press a Rwandan news tabloid that as far as the Government of Rwanda is concerned, Uganda is yet to address the issues Kigali raised and as long as it hasn’t, the current situation will remain.
Ambassador Nduhungirehe refused to confirm whether indeed Rwandan President Kagame met with Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Kivejinja who reportedly presented a special message from General Yoweri Museveni, pointing out the situation remains the same because Uganda has not responded to the concerns Rwanda pointed out and presented evidence for.
“The situation is still the same. There is no significant progress made because Uganda is yet to act on the issues we raised. We have not seen anything different or new. Many Rwandans are still languishing in jail without trial, though we see some being dumped at the border,”
“Support for terrorist groups has also not stopped. The likes of the Rwanda National Congress are still active in Uganda. Despite giving Uganda all the details, nothing has been done to address these two issues,” Amb. Nduhungirehe said in an interview.
Nduhungirehe said that Uganda’s Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs Kirunda Kivejinja who recently led a Uganda delegation to the 25th Liberation anniversary celebrations delivered a letter from President Museveni stating that he could not make it for the occasion.
“We met and had talks with the Ugandan Deputy Prime Minister who explained that President Museveni could not be present and we also held discussions on the relations between the two countries but we were categorical that as long as those issues are not addressed, we will continue to express our concerns,”
“It doesn’t require a summit or the two Heads of States meeting. Uganda needs to address these two issues. We have provided all the details required and we are waiting for the Ugandan government to act,” he added.
Regarding the reopening of Gatuna One Stop Border, Minister Nduhungirehe said that the frontier will reopen as soon as construction works are finished but said that the advisory to Rwandans not to travel to Uganda will remain in place if the East African country doesn’t address the issues raised.
“ Rwandans will still be advised not to travel to Uganda if the country does not act because we cannot guarantee their security while in Uganda,” he said.
Rwanda maintains that hundreds of Rwandans continue to languish in jail in Uganda without trial while hundreds more have been arbitrarily deported back to Rwanda despite illegally entering Rwanda –something Kigali says violates the free movement of people and goods protocol.
Kigali also maintains that subversive Rwandan groups mainly RNC are active in Uganda and are supported by security organs in their efforts to distabilise Rwanda.
Kampala on the other hand said those arrested were engaged in acts of espionage and were operatives penetrating Ugandan security institutions. Rwanda categorically denies the accusations.
Efforts by President Kagame and President Museveni to meet have not resolved the outstanding concerns.