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Uncertainty reigns at Rwanda-Uganda border


Katuna, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The 12 days that Rwanda had said it would open its Katuna border with Uganda to test how heavy vehicles will pass through their newly constructed structures, elapsed quietly on Saturday.

On June 10, Rwanda Revenue Authority-RRA announced it was opening the border to help carry out trials for heavy trucks movement on Katuna One-Stop-Border Post for a period of two weeks to 22nd June 2019.

The move was to assess the operationalization of the constructed works and equipment before the inception of works. The move was widely seen as the first step towards the permanent opening of the border.

But the period has elapsed without either party indicating they had solved their issues. Even with the temporary opening, some traders found difficulties crossing and fewer trucks were allowed to go through.

The Katuna border weekly market known as World Market inside Uganda was poorly attended and there was remarkable absence of Rwandans, usually the major customers. They are still not allowed to cross to Uganda.

On the Ugandan side, on June 19, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) installed a mobile cargo scanner at Katuna border post to ensure there are no illegal declarations.

A URA customs official at the border who preferred anonymity says there was a delay to install the scanner because of the recent standoff with Rwanda when authorities closed its Gatuna border post for several months. He said plans to introduce it was started way before the border standoff between the two countries.

The Katuna border was closed in February 2019 in what was interpreted as a result of the row between Uganda and Rwanda. During that time, Ugandan traders were advised to use the Kyanika and Kagitumba border posts to enter Rwanda.

There is fear that the border closure, which has seen Uganda’s export earnings from Rwanda fall by 85%, can even end for years. The Rwanda-Burundi border has been closed now for two years after a standoff between the two countries.





  1. If Rwanda was the “lifeline” of Uganda, then, our days are numbered. But the relationship between Uganda and Rwanda cannot be determined by either presidents- Museveni or Kagame. During the colonial era, specifically during world warll, Rwandans looking for manial labour in Uganda were prohibited from accessing the border. The colonial administration found it equally impossible to implement that policy due to the porous nature of the boundaries. Rwanda, it should be noted that in its fight for international “recognition” should not come at the cost of citizen impoverishment. According to Mwenda’s economic figures, Rwanda imports more from Uganda than what Uganda imports from Rwanda. This indicates that Rwanda largely depends on Uganda. However, even if this is so, Uganda is not the lifeline of Rwanda. What Rwanda and Uganda should appreciate, is the sociocultural relations of the two peoples that are intertwined beyond the lifelong of the two presidents. Currently, Ugandan farmers are equally suffering as the Rwandan traders. The two leaders could be having personal egos, but the situation demands to have the “bigger man” in the room. The situation demands a leader who transcends personal preservation and more of national preservation. Kagame is currently the head of EAC, he needs to rise to the occasion and show commitment and good leadership.

    • ….”This indicates that Rwanda largely depends on Uganda” this is where you have been,you are and will continue to go wrong with such belief and or thinking!! Surely, in today’s world, this trend of thinking is absurd especially with people who think have ever been to school and have traveled!!!. You need to go down there and carry out thorough,objective investigations to substantiate your statement. Not until the leadership across there in Uganda realises that we need each equally that the trend of affairs we see today will change.

      • Mugabo,

        I construe from your name, that you are Rwandan or are related by heritage to Rwanda. Your reaction to Rajab’s post like many from my countrymen before seems to be essentially just that: a reaction, with limited if any sound argument.
        It tends to shame me.
        Why don’t you gather facts, analyse and argue against those facts and logically show that Rajab is wrong; and calmly so.
        You don’t have to jump when he pokes you to prove that you are ‘equal’ as if that, in the first place is necessary.

    • Rajab, like you advise the two presidents to think beyond their egos, you too as an educated believer should do same. Look at things this way. I will give ONLY proven facts.
      1. Rwanda imports 7 times what it exports to Uganda. If there are more goods in shop shelves, it is because shopkeepers stock more than consumers need. So goods on the market are more than supply. Conclusively, it is Uganda which is dependent on Rwanda not the other way round. However, this reasoning is only academic. If 100 Ugandans starve to death (is happens in Karamoja) and 5 starve to death in Rwanda (though it has not happened) the grief to an educated believer of your calibre is the same because (morally and spiritually life is life be it 1 or 1000)
      2. Kagame has ego (granted) but this issue of border closure wasn’t personal. Museveni was training arming and deploying elements to destabilise Rwanda. If the (Museveni proxies) had succeeded, Kagame’s life or cattle would be the last to be affected, the first victims are always the common man and the second is the soldier; then the population. Kagame’s concern therefore must have been the nation (which he is by appointment, its custodian) Imagine if my daughter were to be raped when she was guest in Rajab’s homestead. Would society call Rajab a ‘man’ worthy the name?
      3. If Uganda had a real parliament of men and women, Museveni would have long-ago been impeached or put to task to explain how he accommodates a terrorist group that destabilises neighbour. Even the opposition is like it was bewitched. I wonder how they can vote if he declares war on Rwanda mbu because of ‘enzigu’……he would have to make a hand-out of 100m UGX to each MP calling it self-development fund. let me see 577 MPs x 100,000,000 UGX = 57,700,000,000 UGX .
      How much was in the other 5 pallets aboard the BOU currency aircraft? Why from France?
      4. In the meantime, Rwandans who stray to or via Uganda will continue to suffer(that is their problem) Ugandan and Rwandan business that were dependent on both countries goodwill will collapse. Museveni will continue to train and send proxy forces to destabilise Rwanda and they will dealt with as they are being done until something will let go and burst; then everyone will regret. But Kagame has no option except to resort to natural defence of his ward when threatened.
      As for his younger brother’s advice, people in the way say he is not a soldier per se but a mere street fighter who knows nothing about modern warfare because he has never been formally trained in military science……imagine to rely on the advice of such a man in matters of life-and-death !! tragic.
      Like Mbidde Mukasa, Ugandans should tell Museveni to fight his own ‘enzigu’ war personally and not drag in a country which stands for God.

    • Patrick Musonera

      Rwanda, President Kagame have done a lot to ensure things don’t get out of control but M7 remained uncommitted. And M7 is helping anti-Rwandan gov sentiments. Can you trade National security for merchandise? The citizens of Rwanda are very much aware of the situation and are only bothered by Uganda’s ill behavior, not Rwanda’s decision to give them safety and security.

    • Rajab, the issue is very simple and you would see it if you bothered to look and read. It is not about egos or borders or farmers or imports or smugglers or historical ties! Uganda is to this very day, abducting and torturing and illegally detaining random Rwandans. Recently when Uganda was forced to explain what was going on, it decided to label these people spies – including small time traders, known business people, UN staff, pregnant women etc. They were all labeled spies but are not being charged in Ugandan courts for spying. Why? And in any case, what is Ugandan HIDING? What is there to SPY in Uganda really? Why is Uganda so paranoid about being SPIED on? Isn’t this is a sign of guilt and paranoia? OR maybe Rwanda has discovered that Ugandan is plotting with groups attempting to undermine or cause violence in Rwanda and officials there are going crazy trying to figure out how Rwanda found this out?

      Whatever the case, this is not brotherly or neighbourly conduct and it is at the CENTRE of Rwanda’s complaints and advice to its citizens to NOT go to Uganda. For their own safety.

      STOP hurting Rwandans please. Stop harassing, jailing, torturing and making life impossible for Rwandans in Uganda, then we can move on to peace, love, open borders, trade and business. To being normal Africans.

    • This is a stupid way of reasoning this situation! So, if Rwanda needs Uganda more than Uga does, why the outcry? If Rwa was depending on Uga products, aren’t there any other producers or sellers on market? If the buyer has alternatives where is the problem? Let uga also look for other buyers! Don’t think Rwa can ever compromise its security, sovereignty and independence over cheap minds and short term deals like you do or think! The vision of Rwa is far beyond 100 years not that of survival of one day after the other. Plus, Rwa govt believes in serving its people not clusters of who, as you do it over there! Mind about your corruption and outdated systems more than you think of Rwa, we know what we are doing and are ready to defend it years and eons! We never lose any battle

  2. @Rajab, ur right kabisa – the egos of the two presidents have been put at the for front than what matters most for the nationals. For Rusaro, ur right and wrong Bambi… I have worked in the two countries and of latest being Rwanda with in the media. Interestingly, I know very well the acts of espionage masterminded in Uganda (Andrew knows very well) and visa vie…

  3. Uganda’s borders are open, whoever blames Uganda for Rwanda’s arrogance of closing borders is a hypocrite! Rwanda’s claims that Uganda is arresting its people are scapegoats, Uganda will never allow Rwanda’s security operatives to illegally kidnap refugees in Uganda because this is against international law. Imagine someone send criminals in your country and when you apprehend them, he launches a propaganda campaign and blackmail against you, and this is the person your Country raised as a refugee, educated him, fed him, trained him, armed and facilitated him to return to his homeland with his people. This partly explains why millions of Rwandans are living as refugees in Uganda and world over because of the autocratic regime in Rwanda, and on top this, these refugees are still followed up by Rwandan spies, kidnapped and assassinated. Cases in point in Kenya, South Africa, even as far as Europe, if all these Countries on whose soil, Rwanda has committed atrocities were to close their boarders from Rwanda, I think Rwandans would now be living on Mars.


      @Emmy Had even one single assassination been imputed to a Rwandan citizen? In which court? of which country? Stop spreading false information and lies. I think both Ugandans and Rwandans need to live together in a cooperative environment as it was & egos is to the one (M7) who want that another country should be governed as he wants under his orders.Ego is also your imaginations that Rwanda needs Uganda more than does Uganda. M7 himself accepted in a letter sent to his fellow president, that by accident he (M7) in different times received RNC peoples and remember they declared themselves that they want to overthrow the Rwandan government. If those arrested Rwandans are spies therein Uganda, have your courts of law judged at least one of them? Why only they are tortured in Ugandan prisons? What are they spying there in Uganda if the later is not training RNC troops? yourselves know that something wrong is being organized in your country to disturb Rwanda

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