By Spy Reporter
The government of Rwanda on Friday filed defence in the case where a Ugandan lawyer Steven Kalali sued the it over the closure of the Uganda Rwanda border points in Gatuna and Chanika.
Kalali, who claims several Ugandans, including him incurred multimillion losses because of the border closure, filed the case before the East African Court of Justice. Kalali asserts that Rwanda’s actions have infringed on the rights and freedoms of its people, and those in neighbouring countries, and caused financial loss to hundreds of traders. He now prays to court for an order declaring the border closure illegal. However, according to the court documents that have been filed in defence, Rwanda denies the allegations lodged by Kalali. In the affidavit sworn by Rwanda’s Senior State Attorney Nicholas Ntarugera, they contend that the borders were closed for a number of reasons including protection of Rwandans from harassment.
They also admit that the closure of the border was to expedite the completion of the one-stop order Post construction with an aim of facilitating smooth floor of goods and services at the Border Post. Rwanda further notes that the EAC citizens were officially informed about the decision to close the border through the Commissioner General of Rwanda Revenue Authority-RRA, Bizimana Ruganintwali. On June 7th, 2019, the RRA Commissioner General Bizimana said that he had allowed the opening of the borders for only two weeks effective June 10th to today June 22nd, 2019. In March 2019, Rwanda, through her Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Richard Sezibera, issued a travel advisory note to Rwanda Nationals cautioning them against travelling to Uganda. Sezibera alleged that their safety in Uganda is not guaranteed. Rwanda now wants court to rule in their favour when determining this case. The case is yet to be fixed for hearing in the East African Court of justice and it remains unclear whether Rwanda will close her borders to Uganda again, a situation that led to the loss of some lives and greatly affected relations between the two countries.