By Hanning Mbabazi
Katuna: The government of Rwanda has finally decided to open the Katuna border to operate for 13 (thirteen) days as they monitor the diplomatic tension with Uganda.
The diplomatic feud between Rwanda and Uganda had stopped most cross-border business transactions and movements between the two countries, a situation that has since negatively impacted the daily lives of people in both countries. But Rwandan authorities in a letter Dated 07th, June made it clear that they will open Katuna (Gatuna) border post to heavy trucks starting today 10th June until 22nd June, 2019. The border post was abruptly closed on February 28, 2019 leading to tension and souring relations between Uganda and Rwanda. The re-opening of the border, however temporal, could lead to softening the tension. The letter from Rwanda Revenue Authority reads thus;
“The management of Rwanda Revenue Authority is pleased to inform the general public that heavy trucks are allowed to provisionally cross Gatuna OSBP between 10th and 22nd June in order to facilitate these trial activities as requested by RTDA…” The letter was signed by Pascal Bizimana Ruganintwali, the commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority. Rwanda and Uganda are close neighbours, both economically and culturally. Uganda has often hosted large numbers of Rwandan refugees and is still home to around one million Rwandan descendants who are constitutionally recognised as one of Uganda’s indigenous peoples. Several of Rwanda’s ruling elites today, including President Paul Kagame, previously lived in Uganda, while the now ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front’s (RPF) campaign to take power in 1994 was launched – and received significant financial and material support from Uganda.
Since 1998 when their armies clashed in the DRC, however, Uganda and Rwanda have had a love-hate relationship with several ups and downs. Today’s relations represent a notable low in this long history, though a full-blown conflict remains implausible. It is possible, however, that the tit-for-tat could create security problems for a region already fractured by periodic episodes of civil conflicts and socioeconomic collapse. The breakdown of ties also threatens to jeopardise progress on regional cooperation and integration. Both countries are members of the common market and single customs territory framework under the East African Community (EAC).