The second meeting between Uganda and Rwanda to address the border closure issue has been called off.
According to the Uganda government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, the meeting was called off at the request of Kigali. Ofwono said via his Twitter handle that “the media is hereby informed that the second meeting of the Adhoc Commission on Luanda MoU between Uganda and Rwanda scheduled for November 18, 2019, in Kampala has been postponed at the request of Rwanda.”
The meeting, which would have been a follow-up to the Kigali meeting of September 16, was supposed to take place after 30 days – on October 16, 2019, but the date passed quietly. Now that the November date has been cancelled, it leaves everything uncertain as to when both countries would meet.
Kigali said then that it was waiting for an invitation from Kampala which never came. The second meeting was specifically expected to help resolve the Gatuna border closure, which has been shut since February 2019.
Trade between Uganda and Rwanda has fallen to near zero. The call-off comes after Uganda’s protest note to Rwanda over the shooting dead of two Ugandans; Job Ebyarishaga and Bosco Tuhirwe, who were accused of smuggling tobacco into Rwanda. Uganda called the shootings “reckless” and demanded for a joint investigation so as to bring the perpetrators to account.
Yesterday, Rwanda President Paul Kagame spoke in Rwanda sending veiled barbs to the country’s supposed enemies saying they were “going to raise the cost on the part of anybody who wants to destabilize our security. The cost is going to be very high”.
“For those who are involved, you’ll have to come clean. You can’t be here benefiting from the peace and security that we have paid for in blood and then do things that cause us problems. We will put you where you belong,” he said.
These barbs are seen to be directed at Uganda.