By Andrew Irumba
Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kahamba Kuteesa is in Kigali, Rwanda, where he traveled with a team of Ugandan delegates, with whom he is to engage the Rwandan government over peace talks between the two counties.
The Ugandan team is headed by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa while Richard Sezibera, the Rwanda minister of foreign affairs, will lead the Kigali team and they are to further the peace deal signed between presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame in Angola in August this year.
Spy Uganda has learnt that the talks are expected to lead to the opening of the Gatuna border which has been closed since February, something that has jeopardized trading between Uganda and Rwanda for months.
A recent Bank of Uganda reports indicates that between March and July 2018, Uganda exported USD 88m worth of goods to Rwanda (that is formal trade).
However, this trade volume dropped to an alarming USD 6.5m in March and July 2019, the period the border between the two countries has been closed and it is expected to drop further in the proceeding months.
The talks have now raised optimism among business and political experts although some insist the problem between Kigali and Kampala is political and can only be ended by the two presidents.
Dr Enock Twinoburyo, a Ugandan economist based in Kigali, noted that there is hope the talks will yield fruits. He said this is because there is an MoU in place already to act as a guide.
“Both sides remain very expectant athough uncertainty hovers over short term,” he said.
He added that “The economies are too interlinked socially and economically, that it makes sense to restore parity. The bigger issue and challenge, is stickiness of political standoff which over and above may prevail over economics and social aspects.”
This comes a few days after Uganda releasing and deporting 32 Rwnadese who had been in custody for illegal entry into the country.