“You cannot be here benefitting from the peace and security that we have created, that we have paid for in blood over many years and then you do things behind our backs and cause us problems. We will put you where you belong, there is no question about it” – President Paul Kagame (14.11.2019).
Today is yet another snag in the relations and the growing tensions between the Republic of Rwandan and the Republic of Uganda. Where the two big-men’s pride continue to stride and cost for the public. This is after yet more questionable deaths at the border point between Rwanda and Uganda this weekend.
In September 2019, the parties had agreed to hold a second Ad-Hoc Meeting, but by mid-October there was nothing in sight. The Rwandan diplomats and such was crying foul, but nothing happened about it. They were awaiting an invitation for a meeting, but now that it has come. The Rwandan parts has cancelled the Second Ad-Hoc Meeting in mid-November 2019.
This is all happening after the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding signed by the parties on the 21st August 2019. Therefore, the whole time after this there been no change between the parties. As the border points are closed. The lack of trade and the closure of movement, which has happen because of allegations and finding of illegal arrests of Rwandan citizens inside Uganda. And the support of militias to undermine Kigali. Clearly, the parties have a lot of things to work with combined with the measures made by Rwanda, with closure of border, suspend trade and also violent attacks across the border points towards Ugandan citizens. This is all creating a uneasy field and tensions between the Republics.
This has now happen during most of this calendar year, since the start in about March 2019. That is why this is an continuation of the policies and the acts of both governments. The lack of trust and the playing games. Doesn’t make this better and shows the value of an MoU. Which is at this point worthless, as the Ad-Hoc Commission is doing nothing to settle the score nor making the parties work together. That is why since September 2019, there been no progress or proof of finding any middle ground. To stop either insurgencies, to support militias, to stop the policies of trade and everything else. The supposed aliens and spies from Kigali in Kampala too. All of this is creating an uneasy atmosphere.
What we are learning with time is that the egos of Museveni and Kagame is strong. As none of them is backing down and is warning each other. The Republics and the egos are now spiralling this out. They are not only testing the grounds, but there are already victims there. That has been on both sides of border and this will continue. As long as they are doing this to each other.
Today’s revelation of the cancellation of the second Ad-Hoc Meeting isn’t only a worry, but shows that Rwandans are answering the warning note after the fatalities during the weekend. This is happening after mid last month, they were awaiting an invitation to another meeting. Therefore, the last Kigali meeting of September is the last word for now.
Both Kagame and Museveni needs to talk, sit down properly, kiss and make-up. They got to not only make a worthless document and a process, which creates nothing. That is futile and a waste of time. They need to negotiate and actually iron these things out. Since, this cost innocent civilians, this costs trade and also suspects illegal activity by both parties. Which is again infusing more uncertainty between the neighbours, which should be more friendly between brothers. Now, they are making small battles and small tiny victories, but nobody is really winning. As they are just postponing either diplomacy or filling the chambers with guns.
We rather hope for peace, not war. But these two are warlords who rules the Republics. They are known for militias, warfare and using armed personnel to get their way. Back-in-the-day, they worked together, but now the pride is going to their head. They want to be on top and be the big-man of the region. Neither want to look small compared to the other. That is how it seems. Instead of settling the difference and just talk. Peace.
The Ugandan-Rwandan tensions has been an issue for a while now. It started with a border closing between Rwanda and Uganda. As both parties have alleged insurgency and acts of ill intent from both parties. This being Rwandan spies in Kampala and Ugandan sponsored militias to cause a power-change in Kigali. This is all in the mix. As there are reports of sponsored militias from Kampala in the Democratic Republic of Congo and reports of militia leaders and rebels currently detained in Rwanda. Certainly, the stalemate and the brotherly love between the Republic is gone.
This from two heads of state, which has worked together since the late-80s or early 1990s. As the Ugandan President had Kagame as part of his intelligence team, before the RPA, now RPF took control of Rwanda by using military bases in Uganda. Therefore, these two gentlemen knows this and how to operate this. As they both also was involved in toppling the President Mobutu and Laurent Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo and have ever since been war-lords there.
That is why these two men knows what at stake. They know what game they are playing. Both President Paul Kagame and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has played this one out before. They have seen how this goes and now its been a back-and-fourth since March 2019. It continues to go. While the RNC, FDLR, MRCD and whatever name they go by these days. Continue to cause a stir in Kigali. We know something is up with both gentlemen, we just don’t know what.
“We have had officials of both countries meeting in Angola and in Kigali. We were supposed to have another meeting in Kampala on the 16th of October but there was no communication until we later read of an invitation in papers” (…) “There is also a problem of our citizens who are imprisoned in Ugandan prisons without trial” (…) “We restricted our citizens from travelling to Uganda because they are arrested at these same borders. How do you expect countries to trade when certain citizens are arrested the moment they cross the border?” (Paul Kagame, 08.11.2019).
What Paul Kagame said yesterday are talking points of the critics of Kampala. Certainly, the Ugandan counterparts have arrested and detained needlessly Rwandan citizens by the CMI, Flying Squad and ESO. This is known by “safe-houses” and other ungazetted buildings where suspects are kept without court order and so-on, on suspicion of ill-activity.
Therefore, what Kagame said wasn’t untrue, neither wrong, but his high and mighty isn’t righteous either. As he has self-inflicted lot of harm. He has supported plenty of armed militias and rebels. His also brutally silenced dissidents by any method in the book. That’s why Kagame should look into his own actions as well. Not just throw shade at Museveni. They are both playing these games.
What at stake here is that two big-men, two brutal Presidents whose has no quarrel starting a fight or a brawl. Are using their networks and their schemes to try to get a upper-hand. Both are trying to forge a narrative where they are the victim. They are playing with high stakes and hoping to get their way.
It seems that a sit-down wasn’t enough with these guys. These two needs a marriage counsellor and some anger management. Before this goes out of hand. It is bad enough that Museveni has hired enemies to cross Kagame. But they have both been involved in shady business before and could easily pay amends to each other. That before they both are sacrificing innocent civilians, because they couldn’t swallow some pride. There is already enough bad stories on the border-crossings of people getting hurt because of this stalemate. That should be enough for these two. That is if, if they care. Peace.
“I am a member of parliament, honourable members and I felt hurt when you ashamed the institution of parliament for knocking at peoples gates thinking that its a safe house. I want them to apologise for shaming parliament” – Gen. Elly Tumwiine (Moses Namayo – ‘Gen Tumwine wants MPs to apologise for “invading safe houses”’, Nilepost, 02.10.2019).
Dear Sir, General Elly Tumwiine, Members of Parliament (MP) and the Minister of Security.
I am writing to you, because clearly it is need. For someone being an MP and Minister. You surely need a kind lecture.
I know your arrogant and feels entitled to living lavish and being unquestioned for role in the National Resistance Army war against Milton Obote II government from 1980-86. Since, then you have been in power together with the President. This is public knowledge.
However, I am not writing to you because of your history. I am writing to you, because you need to hear this. I cannot believe I have to write it even, but apparently I do. The Members of Parliament are Representatives of their constituents, they are the Representatives of the citizens. Initially, they are the lawmakers and the ones having oversight of the government, the Republic and secures the state. The Security Organizations are mandated to secure the country for crime, spying and possible insurgency. The army has mandate to secure the territory and safe the Republic, but not to be policing.
Just as I wrote that, I have to be clear, as Representatives of the Citizens, they are there to ensure the citizens are safe and taken care of accordingly to laws. The MPs did their job as an oversight mechanism to see the state of the safe-houses. Because, this is ungazetted safe-houses should be scrutinized and analysed like Nalufenya Prison before its closure. Surely, there is found and litigated violations of laws from the safe-houses, as this has been proven in the Courts. Therefore, the MPs should be allowed to enter and report to the Parliament.
General Tumwiine, you need to understand your place. Your in the mercy of the MPs and the citizens who elected them. They are not your minions or your little civilians. They are the people, who is there to ensure the public safety. Which you are supposed to respect as a Minister and MP in Parliament too. Instead, you want to keep these practices secret and only the survivors and brave enough to speak about it. Get to give a little gist of the acts done by the Security Organization within these ungazetted safe-houses.
Mr. General, your not superior, these practices will be shed lights on, whether you like it or not. Because, the truth will appear eventually, not because you want it, but the reality will be surfaced or leaked. At one point, the acts and the questionable violations done in the mercy of the security agents of the state. Will shed lights on the ones you want to keep a secret.
Still, you should let the citizens and the MPs know what that is done. General Tumwiine you need to understand your part. Because, you got no rights keeping people without warrants, without court rulings or in detention indefinitely. These things needs to be brought to light. We cannot let this be in the darkness. What we already know about these Safe-Houses is grim and bleak parts of humanity, which a state shouldn’t do. However, you want this behind closed doors and forgotten.
What if one day, another regime put you and your family members in a house like this, General? Wouldn’t you like your MP to knock on the door and check if he laws was abided and your rights was preserved? Have you considered that?
General Tumwiine, tides are turning, times are changing. We don’t know tomorrow, that is why we have to make the best of today and try to make tomorrow, even better. Therefore, you should think of the future and what might happen to you. Who is now defending these practices, who says that you cannot end up in similar places?
I am not the one to charge you, I am just the one to make you think and maybe reconsider your approach. General, the MPs should be allowed to enter and do their duty. Just like you have the duty to ensure the Republic is safe and prevent crime. That doesn’t mean, the state shouldn’t allow questions in how it does it.
Time for you to respect others and actually listen to others. It would be helpful.
Writer of Minbane
On the 23rd August 2019, the Minister of State for East African Community Julius Wandera Maganda sent the report on the Closure of Uganda-Rwanda Border. This report has been made to update the EAC Committee. Still, the public deserves to get the numbers and the gist of the closure. What it really means in the hard numbers and with the cross-border trade.
Clearly, the closure has had an affect on both republics. As the Report states are that:
“Following the closure of Cyanika, Katuna and Mirama Hills Border Posts on the 27th Feb 2019 by the Republic of Rwanda, as part of their mandate, the Ministry of East African Community (MEACA) has undertaken a number of steps as indicated below”.
There has been certainly new rules for entry between Uganda-Rwanda:
“i. There is still free movement of persons (Ugandan Nationals and other Nationalities) to and from Rwanda save for the Rwandan citizens who are only allowed entry and no ex;.t from Rwanda.
ii. The only Rwandan nationals allowed exit from Rwanda from the borders above are the drivers on transit to Kenya and not to Uganda.
iii. It was also noted that the Ugandans who cross to Rwanda only go there mostly to attend Parties or Funerals, and not business as the environment for Ugandan goods and products is hostile.
iv. Whereas Ugandan nationals are allowed to enter Rwanda, it is unfortunate that Ugandan goods/products arc not allowed entry. These are rejected with no reasons given, no rejection notes/documents are provided. Many drivers have suffered the disappointment of being told to turn back to Uganda”
All of this has consequences. Just as the financial implications by this alone. The Ministry can show that in FY 2017/18 value the imports from Rwanda at 160,293,270,436 UGX and in FY 2018/19 it has gone down to 123,338,816,439 UGX. This is downfall of imports of 23.05 % from the last year.
The consequences for the export to Rwanda is also hit. In FY 2017/18 was 585,436,037,282 UGX and in FY 2018/19 is 426,884,832,406 UGX. This is a downfall of export in the amount of 27,08 %. from the last year.
The results of the closure of the border at Katuna has ensured that there was no trucks passing this pass, between March 2019 to the June 2019. When the trucks started to crossover again. Still in a fraction of what was done in the past. Before February 2019, the average inflow and outflow of trucks was above 3000. However, in the months of March to June 2019, there was less than 500 every month. Even ZERO in the months of April and May 2019. Before, the numbers has started to rise, but not more than 300 in June 2019. Surely, One-Tenth is a major change and has affect.
This has resulted in more traffic, within the inflow and outflow at the Mirama Hill. Until February 2019, there was usually about 300 passing in both directions. However after this it was around 2000 trucks passing through every month between March to June 2019. Which is showing that there are blocking of trucks and also the total numbers of trucks passing on both passes is less than 3000 in both directions. That is really hurting the cross-border trade between the Republic’s. It is easy to see.
The closure has had an affect and the new measures on both sides. Has hit the trading, but also general movement. That is visible and surely, would be nice to see what the Rwandan Parliament would write as a counter to the Ugandan side. To see if their have another explanation for this. Peace.