UPC welcomes Gatuna, advises Uganda, Rwanda to prevent outbursts

(Last Updated On: 4 February 2022)

UPC has professionally told Uganda and Rwanda to “shut up” for good!

Kampala – February 2, 2022: Uganda and Rwanda have moved one step to ending border saga including resuming the shaky diplomatic relations they have had.

Three years ago, Rwanda closed its boarder with Uganda over many “diplomatic and trade issues” with both countries accusing one another of kidnapping its citizens and torture.

Citizens of both countries, various reports indicate have died in Uganda and Rwanda, respectively.

With Gatuna border closed, movement from both two countries were restricted. This affected trade, tourism, among others.

However, in late January, Rwanda announced it was going to reopen her boarder with Uganda. This decision came after Uganda’s Muhoozi Kainerugaba, President Museveni Yoweri’s son also his senior presidential advisor on special operations visited Kagali and had a meeting with President Paul Kagame.

Days later, on January 31, 2022, border was wide open. This has brought excitements!

On Wednesday, Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) party welcomed the reopening of the Uganda – Rwanda common border at Katuna/Gatuna on January 31.

UPC said the border negatively affected the credentials of both Uganda and Rwanda in the context of East African Community Integration and African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) that was launched in Rwanda in 2018.

“Our local communities at the border and businessmen have had a very challenging experience that abruptly stopped free movement of persons and goods as well as affecting the cross border trade and local revenue collection of the neighboring districts,” Arach Oyat Sharon, UPC spokeperson said.

She added that most of the border communities are very much interrelated to each other in terms of culture and language and treat each other as one family.

“This equally affected the service sector immensely such as tourism, education and transport among others,” she added.

The open border, she said, will restore the confidence for regional integration initiative. “UPC urges both the governments of Uganda and Rwanda to prevent such outbursts that leave bitter taste in the mouth.”

Arach, citing media reports, said the Council of Ministers for East African Community (EAC) and relevant bodies are going to meet and harmonize the modalities of transacting business at the border.

“And we are hopeful that this will strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.”

According to her, UPC fully supports such initiatives by the EAC Council of Ministers and implores for more avenues that can allow and promote citizen diplomacy.

“The feasibility study that looked at extension of the Metre Gauge Railway from Kasese – Mbarara – Kabale and Kigali – Rwanda need to be revisited as we equally explore how best the highly anticipated Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from both Kenya and Tanzania can be used to improve communication and trade links with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and South Sudan to ensure delivery of imports and exports on time.”

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