By Our Reporter
Kampala: The soured diplomatic relations between Uganda and Rwanda have now sucked in media houses – with each country blocking what they regard as the other regime’s ‘propagandist’ media houses
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) on Thursday 22 August 2019 blocked access to Rwandan Websites including the state run New Times website and 6 others saying the websites have continued to publish harmful propaganda against Uganda.
The UCC Spokesperson, Ibrahim Bbosa, said UCC had directed “internet service providers to block New Times for publishing harmful propaganda that endangers national security of Uganda”.
Adding that, “We are engaging the regulator in Rwanda and hope this will be temporary,” Bbosa said. Currently, an attempt to visit the newspaper’s websites from Uganda returns an error.
On Friday 23 August, Rwanda also responded ‘positively’ by blocking some of Ugandan sites for the same allegations.
The blocked sites include; The Observer (www.observer.ug),NilePost (www.nilepost.ug),Softpower (www.softpower.ug) and New Vision (www.newvision.co.ug), Daily Monitor (www.monitor.co.ug), The Independent (www.independent.co.ug) by Rwandan authorities was in retaliation to UCC’s move. The blocked websites can only be accessed via virtual private networks (VPN).
The blockage of websites comes just a day when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda signed a peace pact in Angola on Wednesday, signaling an end to the bitter diplomatic relations between Kampala and Kigali that had resulted into the closure of Gatuna border.
Despite the signing, the New Times newspaper, which is Rwanda government’s mouthpiece, continued to publish propagandist articles blaming the Kampala regime for the impasse.
It should be remembered that on 21 August, President Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda signed a memorandum of understanding
According to the memorandum of understanding, Rwanda and Uganda undertook to:
- Respect the sovereignty of each other’s and of the neighboring countries,
- Refrain from actions conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of the other party and neighboring countries, thereby eliminating all factors that may create such perception, as well as that of acts such as the financing, training and infiltration of distabilizing forces
- Protect and respect the rights and freedoms of the national of the other party residing or transiting in their national territories, in accordance with the law of the country.
- Resume as soon as possible the cross-border activities between both countries, including the movement of persons and goods, for the development and improvement of the lives of their populations.
- promote, with the spirit of pan-Africanism and regional integration, comprehensive cooperation in the fields of politics’ security, defense, trade and cultural exchange, investment, based on complimentary and synergies.
- Establish and Ad Hoc commission for the implementation of this memorandum or understanding, headed by the ministers of Foreign Affairs and composed of the Ministers responsible for internal administration and head of Intelligence of both countries.
- Keep facilitators regularly informed of progress in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understiand.