Uganda and Rwanda have for so long enjoyed a brotherly relationship where citizens from both countries would cross over to and from these countries and be treated like citizens of the other. This became so great that Uganda actually included “Banyarwanda” as a tribe in Uganda and they continue to live as legitimate citizens of Uganda.
Business and trade were carried out amicably with citizens from the two countries exchanging goods and services, inter-marriages occurred and as we speak, there are hundreds of Ugandan families with relatives in Rwanda and vice versa.
But as with every love relationship, the mountain gets a little bit steeper and the valley, well, deeper. The Uganda-Rwanda relationship has deteriorated in recent years where every country is pointing fingers to the other about alleged espionage, political destabilisation, among others.
Tensions got to an all-time high in February this year when Rwanda decided to close the main entry point at Gatuna/Katuna border with Uganda. This has since affected trade between the two former love birds, and of course like every failed marriage, broken up families.
The good news is, the two parties led by their Presidents Kaguta Museveni and Paul Kagame did not give up on their relationship and sought the counsel of Angolan President HE João Lourenço with Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo as a witness and agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Luanda, Angola on August 21, that was aimed at fixing the broken relationship and promoting regional peace, security and economic cooperation.
The first step to putting the MoU into action and operation was taken on Monday September 16, 2019 when Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa and Rwanda’s Minister of State for the East African Community, Olivier Nduhungirehe together with other officials from Foreign Affairs offices of both countries met in Kigali to draw a plan on how to implement the Memorandum of Understanding. That seemed like a good thing, and a second meeting was even scheduled to be held in Kampala in October.
Between then and now, Uganda Communications Commission blocked access to some Rwandan news websites and Rwanda shot dead two Ugandans who were allegedly smuggling tobacco into Rwanda, and most recently arrested two more on the same smuggling allegations. Uganda called the shootings ‘reckless’ and demanded a joint investigation into the matter.
This put out the flame of better relations between the two countries and Rwanda ended up calling off the scheduled meeting in Kampala twice, the most recent being one that had to be conducted this week on Monday, November 18 citing the high costs to be incurred.
Uganda and Rwanda are like that family where a man with his own children marries a woman with her own children as well. The man and woman enjoy a great relationship over the years that makes their children love themselves so much and treat each other like blood brothers and sisters that even when the man and woman fights, the children still hold each other close and hope the fighting stops so they can go back to enjoy the full benefits of having a peaceful family.