Rwandan Border Remains Closed Despite Museveni, Kagame Peace Deal

Rwandan Border Remains Closed Despite Museveni, Kagame Peace Deal

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By Andrew Irumba

Despite Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame signing a peace pact on Wednesday in Luanda, Angola, the Rwandan border posts at Gatuna and Chanika remain closed to both travelers and traders.

The signing was witnessed by Angolan President, João Lourenço and his DRC counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi.

In the agreement, the two leaders agreed to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of the nationals of the other party residing or transiting through their national territories, in accordance with laws of their countries and desist from financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces. 

Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame after signing the Peace Pact

Both countries also agreed to resume cross-border activities, including the movement of persons and goods.  The presidents also undertook, in the spirit of Pan-Africanism and regional cooperation, to comprehensively cooperate in politics, security, Defense, trade and culture. However, because of the continued border closure business is yet to normalize at the Uganda-Rwanda border posts

Signing of the Peace Pact between the two countries began with a quadripartite summit on July 12, 2019 where the four leaders met and agreed to begin a resolution process.  Despite the agreement, life has remained the same at the Uganda-Rwanda border at Gatuna, which borders Kabale district and Chanika in Kisoro district,

Sources reveal that heavily armed Rwandan soldiers are still manning their territory and there is no movement of trucks to either side of the border. Besides that, no Rwandan nationals are being allowed to cross to Uganda like it has been in the past months since Rwanda closed the borders.  

Jack Tukesiga, a money changer at Katuna border, said they are happy that the two leaders had finally accepted to resolve their differences and signed an agreement. He said his  prayer however was seeing the border open for business to resume.

However, insiders reveal that Rwanda still accuses the Ugandan government of having in detention several  Rwandan nationals and before they are released the borders are not likely to be opened soon.

Simpson Muhangi, a businessman at Chanika border told our reporter on phone that they still doubt the agreement until Kagame opens the border. 

He said  although the agreement wasn’t meant to take immediate effect there is no slight indicator that the border which was closed in February 27, 2019, is likely to be opened.

So far, several people have been shot dead as they tried to sneak from Rwanda into Uganda.

For instance, n May 2019, Rwandan soldiers shot dead John Batista Kyerengye, a resident of Nkoma cell in Ntarabwe parish, Nyagatare District at Kiruhura village in Kashekye parish, Kamwezi sub county, Rukiga district while attempting to cross with second hand clothes to Rwanda.

Later Alex Nyesiga Atuheire, a resident of Nyakabungo village in Kamwezi Sub County in Rukiga district in Uganda was also shot dead while trying to stop Rwandan security officials from arresting Kyerengye.

Then on May 3, 2019, Rwandan soldiers shot Innocent Ndahimana, a beans trader and resident of Nyakabungo Village in Chumbe in Gicumbi District Northern Province in Rwanda while smuggling beans to Uganda through Katuna border in Kabale. But the Rwandan forces RPF have since  denied the allegations in all cases.    ~

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