Government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo P’Odel, has explained the list released by Rwanda about its nationals being detained in Uganda.
Rwanda Minister of State in Foreign Affairs ministry in charge of the East African Community, Amb. Olivier Nduhungirehe, said there are more than 40 Rwandan citizens languishing in cells of Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and more than 800 Rwandans who were deported from or refused entry to Uganda since January 2018.
In a twitter war, Opondo told Nduhungirehe that these were charged before courts of law in Uganda, but they are at liberty to challenge the charge and jurisdiction of the court.
“Some names listed are properly before courts of law, some hold refugee status and cards although have been frequently in Rwanda thus raising suspicion,” Opondo noted.
He said others entered Uganda as Congo nationals seeking asylum and some are Ugandan citizens with passports.
Nduhungirehe replied: “If what you say is true, if all those Rwandans are detained in Uganda “because they broke some laws that govern this land”, why then denying that any single Rwandan is held incommunicado in Uganda?”
With the tensions threatening to spiral out of control, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has appealed for calm, saying the Katuna-Gatuna border post impasse will be resolved.
While speaking in Kabale town at the handover of the MTN Uganda refurbished Kamukira Health Centre IV in Kabale Municipality.
He said Uganda and Rwanda are brotherly countries and people should not get worried because the issues shall be handled and concluded.
According to Uganda Media Centre, over 130 cargo trucks stuck at Katuna boarder point; despite 52 having their papers processed by the Uganda Revenue Authority [URA] Customs for entry to Rwanda.
The cargo trucks have been halted from crossing over to the Rwandan side.
Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) notified URA in writing that construction works were on-going on the Gatuna-Kigali highway and diverted cargo trucks to the Mirama Hills-Kagitumba border post, nearly 114kms away.
Truckers carrying building materials and other processed goods from Mombasa-Kenya to Rwanda are also counting losses because the money budgeted for their food and accommodation along this route has been exhausted, at Katuna border.
Uganda’s Foreign ministry has since summoned Rwandan envoy to Uganda, Maj Gen Frank Mugambage, to explain the diplomatic standoff.
Opondo said the government has also directed Uganda’s High Commissioner to Rwanda, Ms Olive Woneka, to get an explanation from Rwanda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kigali.
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame mid-February confirmed in an interview with The East African newspaper of the Nation Media Group that the two countries have had tensions for two years.
Kagame said what is happening between the two countries are matters that can be resolved but decried the many pronouncements without actions.
“It doesn’t hurt anyone to keep on trying. What hurts is keeping quiet. And, of course, things are not improving because of that, we are not doing much. We have had discussions over this for two years, we can resolve them whether it is egos or just wishing that things should be bad” Kagame said during the interview.