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Uganda, Rwanda officials to meet today over border closure

Museveni and Kagame in Luanda Angola

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Delegates from Rwanda will meet their Kampala counterparts at Speak Resort Munyonyo today to deliberate on the re-opening of the border between both countries. 

The Kampala meeting, which was supposed to be held in October and then pushed to November but was cancelled at last minute, is one of the series of meetings that are supposed to take place in order to solve the differences between Uganda and Rwanda.

Ofwono Opondo, the Uganda government spokesperson, said on Thursday evening that “the meeting at Munyonyo is follow up to one held in Kigali in September to concretize the issues in the memorandum of understating signed in Luanda Angola in August 2019.”

It is not yet clear who will represent the Uganda team and people Rwanda will bring.

President Yoweri Museveni and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame signed a peace MOU in Luanda, Angola in August and pledged to end the bad blood between themselves.

Since then, there has been slow progress on the actual return of normalcy especially the opening of the Gatuna border which the Kigali administration closed in February this year.

Two Ugandan businessmen accused of smuggling cigarettes into Rwanda were shot dead last month. Uganda protested the act, telling Kigali that it was provocative. 

Uganda also deported some Rwandan citizens, saying they had entered the country illegally.

High on the agenda, today is expected to be the issue of border opening. The border closure has seen Ugandan business people – from cement manufacturers to fuel retailers and foodstuffs sellers suffer loses.

The Bank of Uganda has said that after seven months of border closure, Ugandan traders had missed up to 400bn Uganda shillings in potential earnings had the border been left open.

Rwanda has also felt the squeeze. Prices for basic goods and services have gone up in Rwanda – from cement to beans – with experts saying the stopping of Ugandan products from crossing over had created shortages.

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