Parliament has directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to come out and issue a statement on the relations between Uganda and Rwanda which continue to sour, after several Ugandans have recently been killed by Rwandan authorities.
Many Ugandans have been killed in Rwanda and over the weekend, a one Teo Jean Ndagizemana, 25 a resident of Kabingo Village in Kisoro district was shot dead together with his two Rwandan cousins on Saturday evening by Rwandan security.
Parliament’s move followed a matter of National Importance raised by Rukungiri Municipality MP, Roland Mugume who noted that it is so disappointing that since last year, Uganda-Rwanda boarders are still closed which has grossly affected Ugandan traders.
“Last week, I visited two borders of Bunangana and Mirama Hills, up to now the borders are still closed, no business taking place. What is the fate of our trade relations between Rwanda and Uganda?” Mugume demanded?
The call was amplified by the opposition Chiefwhip, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda who noted that government should not only comment on the trade relations but also explain why Ugandans continue to be killed in Rwanda.
“There are reports of Ugandans being killed in Rwanda. Government should advise Ugandans not to travel to Rwanda,” Semujju said.
Responding on the matter, the Government Chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa noted that government should be given more time to resolve the prevailing issues with the neighbor so as to save more lives.
“The issue of our relations with our neighbors is very key because peace is elusive, there are many meetings that have been going on. There is still a lot going, any slight careless statement made can take us back to square one”.
“Give government a chance to conclude the process of making sure that we get back to the good relationship we had,” Nankabirwa requested.
The response was objected to by legislators who noted that it would be unfair for the Minister to tell legislators to simply look on as Ugandans are being killed in the Rwanda.
“There are Ugandans being killed in Rwanda, the Minister is here feeling sweet while responding to the question. For the last four months, people can’t trade, they like to get an assurance of whether they should wait to trade or give up, they want to know whether they should travel to Rwanda or not,” the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga commented.
Nankabirwa noted that the Minister in charge will report to the House on whether they have considered as a security committee to advise Ugandans to stop Ugandans from moving to Rwanda or not.
The Speaker ruled asking the Minister of Foreign Affairs to report to the House on Tuesday Next week to update the country on the tension between the two countries.
Uganda recently withdrew all charges against 9 Rwandans despite having been undergoing prosecution in the army court.
They were on trial on crimes of illegal entry into Uganda, kidnapping Rwandan refugees and asylum seekers and illegally repatriating them back to Rwanda as well as unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
Uganda said it this was intended to foster good neighbourliness between Uganda and Rwanda.
Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister said while announcing the withdrawal, that Uganda was optimistic about a related gesture by Rwanda as means to resolve the existing tensions.
“It is the hope of Ugandan government that Rwandan authorities will reciprocate this gesture of goodwill. I wish to reiterate Uganda’s commitment to the full normalisation of relations between the two countries and to further assure that outstanding issues and concerns will be addressed in an open and transparent manner,” he said.
Kutesa explained that withdrawal of charges “is not an acquittal” but a decision of goodwill taken to ease tensions.
Many Ugandans hoped that after handing over their detained nationals, Rwanda would tone down on her unfounded ‘bitterness and hatred’ against Uganda and perhaps act in the same spirit and move forward as brotherly nations but alas, Kigali has since almost doubled her negative actions against Uganda including shooting another Ugandan over the weekend.
Several killings continue to be done by Rwanda’s security personnel at the border points of Ugandan districts of Kisoro and Rukiga killing and injuring a number of Ugandans. Unfortunately, many of these cases do not get to the press. Some of the residents who talked to this news website on condition of anonymity said they are living in fear.