Presidents Museveni and Paul Kagame of Uganda and Rwanda are scheduled to meet today to help ease tensions between the two brotherly countries.
After failure to stabilise the relations between the two neighboring countries, the two presidents returned to Luanda for a second meeting early this month organized by President João Lourenço and it was agreed that the two leaders meet today at the Katuna/ Gatuna border point.
Preparations have in the past week been in high gear for the function where the media from both countries was not allowed to attend.
“The proceedings at the summit at Katuna border will be covered by the respective Presidential Press Units from the four countries and shared. Please note that the presser at the close of the ceremony will be relayed live on UBC TV. We shall share with you the links at the start of the presser,” said Linda Nabusayi, the Presidential Press Secretary.
Presidents João Lourenço of Angola and Felix Tshisekedi from DR Congo, are also expected to attend the meeting at Katuna today.
Rwanda tables new demands
Following the release of a group of 13 more Rwandan nationals early this week, the Kigali establishment made three more demands.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by Rwanda’s foreign affairs ministry, the Kigali government welcomed the release of their citizens but noted that there are urgent issues agreed upon during the meeting in Kigali but have not yet been responded to.
“Verification of operations and fundraising activities of the following individuals: Prossy Bonabaana, Sula Nuwamanya, Dr Rukondo Rugari, Emeritthe Gahongayire, and Emmanuel Mutarambirwa, all part of RNC (Rwanda National Congress) leadership in Uganda through an NGO called the Self-Worth Initiative,” the statement read in part.
The Kigali government told their counterparts from Uganda that they agreed to withdraw a passport allegedly given to Rwandan exile Charlotte Mukankusi but also investigate Self-Worth Initiative, a human rights organization based in Kampala.
During the second meeting in Luanda two weeks ago, both presidents, Museveni and Paul Kagame of Uganda and Rwanda respectively reached a consensus to have all prisoners held in each other’s country released.
Speaking during the handover of 13 Rwandan national early this week, Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa said despite the release, these were not innocent.
“The withdrawal of the charges from these people does not in any way suggest that they are innocent. It is simply done for government to facilitate the peace process but also to show that Uganda is committed to the implementation of the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding to normalize relations,”Kutesa said at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Kampala.
Kutesa said the Ugandan government has now released over 20 Rwandan nationals who had been arrested for engaging in espionage and security-related activities, their spouses and others who had been involved in several criminal activities in Uganda.
“It is Uganda’s expectation that Rwanda ensures they never return to Uganda to engage in the same activities but we also hope Rwanda will do the same by releasing Ugandan incarcerated in their country,”Kutesa said.
“We are not saying there are innocent but what we think what we are doing will help normalize relations. We hope the same can be reciprocated.”
The meeting between the two presidents today is expected to bear fruit and ease the tensions between the two neighboring countries that have been good friends for many years.
The tensions started by Rwanda accusing the Kampala establishment of supporting subversive forces bent on overthrowing their government and arresting of their nationals in Uganda.
In response, Uganda has accused Rwanda of infiltrating its security agencies as one of the ways of carrying out espionage.
The tensions led to the closure of the common border between the two countries, a move that has greatly hurt both economies.