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Delayed opening of Gatuna border sparks anger among locals

Patience Tusiime ,one of the concerned locals

Gutuna, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT |  The failure by Uganda and Rwandan Presidents to re-open the Gatuna border after their meeting on Friday has sparked anger and condemnations among locals and area leaders. 

The two presidents; Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame met at Katuna on Friday, President  in a meeting mediated by João Lourenço, the President of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi. The meeting was one of the resolutions of the quadripartite summit held in Luanda, Angola on February 2, 2020. 

During the meeting at Katuna, it was resolved that Uganda, within one month verifies allegations by the Republic of Rwanda about action from its territory by forces hostile to the Kigali government. If the allegations are proved, the Ugandan government should take all measures to stop it from happening again. 

They also resolved that once the recommendation is fulfilled and reported to the heads of state, the facilitators will convene within 15-days, a summit at Katuna for the solemn reopening of the borders and subsequent normalization of the relations between the two countries.

However, after the meeting, locals and area leaders expressed and accused the Presidents’ of foiling their expectations. 

Jacob Byarugaba and Paul Muhwezi, both residents of Katuna Town Council say that their expectation from the meeting was to see the border open and allow their businesses to resume. They say that they were very angry when the meeting ended and the border remained closed. 

They fault Museveni and Kagame for prolonging the border opening resolutions over issues that should have not been let innocent locals suffer. 

Dalton Byakatonda, Arthur Norman Arineitwe, Francis Magezi and Christopher Twebazomwe, all faulted Kagame for being arrogant and disrespectful to innocent citizens who did not contribute towards his misunderstandings with Museveni. They say that the border closure has left them in dire poverty.

Patience Tusiime, another concerned resident says that she was angered after spending the whole day along the road waiting to hear a pronouncement of border opening in vain. 

Kabale district chairman Patrick Besigye Keihwa says that failure by the summit to resolve immediate border opening has led locals and leaders to lose morale in the reconciliation among the two heads of state. 

Keihwa, however, says that they will keep on waiting to see if the summit recommendations are implemented. 

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