after three years of closure the uganda rwanda border reopened

After three years of closure, the Uganda-Rwanda border reopened

On Monday, Uganda and Rwanda reopened their Gatuna border station, signaling the end of three years of tense relations between the East African neighbors. Kigali said last week that the border would reopen after three years of lockdown, signaling a breakthrough in relations between the two East African countries, which had been at odds for years.

“Now our people can freely migrate, trade, and interact as Almighty God always intended!” tweeted Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s influential son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who is thought to have played a crucial part in Rwanda’s decision. However, as the rain poured down at the major Gatuna checkpoint, the situation remained unclear, with Rwandans alleging that they were not permitted to cross, and Ugandans reporting delays.

I was told the border was open, so I arrived with the aim of crossing into Uganda and purchasing some goods. However, Rwandan immigration officials have informed me that I would not be permitted to cross until further notice. It’s quite perplexing. “AFP spoke with a Rwandan businessman who was turned away. As tensions between Kigali and Kampala escalated amid opposing charges of espionage and political intervention, two-way trade collapsed after the border was closed in February 2019. Kigali, which used to rely on Uganda for the majority of its imports, proclaimed the reopening of the border as a first step toward mending ties.

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According to Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo, trucks, Rwandan citizens, and returning residents were able to cross into the country at Gatuna, according to Covid-19 rules. She said Rwandan and Ugandan health officials are working on joint COVID protocols, which will allow all to cross on both sides, but she didn’t clarify the issue for Rwandans who wish to travel to Uganda. Just after midnight, a Ugandan truck driver was one of the first to be able to return to his homeland.

For our sister countries, this is a watershed moment. I’m ecstatic that this is occurring. ” Journalists were told by Wasswa Ndugu Fabrison. On the Ugandan side, some border guards reported delays in the clearance of goods. The two sides had agreed to give cargo trucks priority, but non-essential travel was not “encouraged” due to COVID rules, Uganda’s immigration commissioner, Marcelino Besigye, told AFP. “Our health teams, along with Rwanda’s, will devise a process to ensure that passengers are tested and allowed to proceed,” he said.

After visiting Kigali and meeting Rwandan President Paul Kagame last month, Kainerugaba was seen as a key figure in the reopening decision. During their respective countries’ political struggles in the 1980s and 1990s, Museveni and Kagame were close allies, but their relationship quickly deteriorated. Uganda has been accused of kidnapping Rwandan residents and assisting rebels aiming to depose Kagame. Uganda, for its part, accused Rwanda of spying and murdering two individuals during a 2019 foray into Ugandan territory.

According to World Bank estimates, Ugandan exports to Rwanda in 2018 totaled more than $211 million, mostly in the form of cement and food. In 2018, Rwanda shipped commodities worth $13 million to Uganda, after which it resorted to Tanzania for commerce. In 2019, trade fell precipitously, with the COVID issue exacerbating the problem.