The Rwandan government has finally agreed to re-open its border with Uganda, three years after its closure. The Uganda-Rwanda border was closed on February 27, 2019.
At the time, Rwandan President, Paul Kagame accused Ugandan authorities of spying on Rwanda, abducting Rwandan citizens and locking them up in non-designated areas, as well as hosting and facilitating dissidents who have declared war on the Kigali administration.
Rwanda then issued a travel advisory to its nationals against travelling to Uganda, saying their safety was not guaranteed.
But Rwanda has announced that the border will be reopened on January 31, according to a statement that has been Tweeted by State media house Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA) and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, on Friday morning.
The statement indicated that the promise to reopen follows the visit by Lieutenant General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Uganda’s Senior Presidential Adviser on Special Operations and Commander Land Forces to Kigali where they held cordial and in-depth discussions about how to improve bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Following the visit to Rwanda of Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Senior Presidential Adviser on Special Operations and Commander Land Forces of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) on January 22, 2022, the government of Rwanda has taken note that there is a process to solve issues raised by Rwanda, as well as commitments made by the Government of Uganda to address remaining obstacles,” read the statement
Before Muhoozi’s visit to Rwanda, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Adonia Ayebare had also made a trip to Kigali, in one of the efforts to mend the broken relations.
Earlier, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda had signed an agreement in Angola to ease tensions between the two neighbouring countries.
“In this regard and in line with the communique of the 4th Quadripartite Summit held at Gatuna/Katuna on February 21, 2020, the Government of Rwanda wishes to inform the public that the Gatuna border post between Rwanda and Uganda will be reopened from January 31, 2022,” the statement reads.
The statement also indicates that health authorities between the two countries will work together to put necessary measures to facilitate movement in the context of COVID19.
“As is the case for other land border posts in the country, health authorities of Rwanda and Uganda will work together to put in place necessary measures to facilitate movement in the context of Covid-19,” the tweet adds.
Relations between the countries also soured after an investigation last year found that Rwanda used Israeli Pegasus spying software to hack into the phones of Uganda’s Prime Minister and the Foreign Affairs Minister, among others.
The impasse between the two countries suffocated businesses in the sub-counties located along the border while leading to an increase in smuggling.
As a result, many people both Rwandan and Ugandan nationals have been shot to death and others injured by Rwandan authorities.