Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | After eight hours closed in a hall at Commonwealth Resort Munyonyo, delegations from Rwanda and Uganda failed to reach an agreement and decided to refer the matters to the head of states of both countries.
There was no communique after the representatives came out of the closed talks at 11:40 pm on Friday even when the day had started with hope that there could finally be something to write home. The talks started at 4 pm.
Earlier, Angola’s Minister for External Affairs Manuel Augusto Domingos had said ‘both countries showed the will to resolve the dispute peacefully”.
The Ugandan team was led by the Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana. Also present on the Uganda side was State Minister for Internal Affairs Obiga Kania, the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) boss Brig Abel Kandiho and deputy Chief of Defense Forces Lt general Wilson Mbadi.
On the Rwanda side sat Ambassador of Rwanda to Uganda Frank Mugambage and the Minister for East African Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe. There were also other delegates from Rwanda.
Present as witnesses were the Angolan Minister for External Affairs Manuel Augusto Domingos and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Deputy Prime Minister Gilbert Kankonde.
Inside the meeting room, where journalists were not allowed, Rwanda laid on table ‘evidence’ of Uganda’s support to the armed dissidents who want to overthrow the Kigali administration. But we have been told that Uganda rejected this flatly.
However, Rwanda presented evidence of constant contact, including phone calls, between some Ugandan officials and the people it accuses of rebelling against the government. Rwanda also said some of the people who attempted at attacking it had fled to Kisoro in Uganda.
Also, Rwanda told Uganda that it had continued to illegally detain Rwandans even after promising to stop in the first meeting in Kigali. Uganda said there was no merit in the accusations.
A few minutes to midnight, as they left the room, both Kutesa and Nduhungirehe smiled lazily, perhaps knowing that the dispute between Rwanda and Uganda is much deeper than had been anticipated.
They consequently referred the matter to the two principals – Presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame – the comrades who understand its depth better than anyone else. Nduhungirehe described the talks as “deep, frank but cordial.”
For now, the status quo remains – border closed, Rwandans not allowed to travel to Uganda and it remains as uncertain as ever on when the dispute can be solved.