Rwandan government today opened its border with Uganda -almost three years since it was closed . Trucks with goods were seen heading to the Rwanda side of the border but many travelers from wither country were not allowed to cross as immigration officials worked on detailed modalities to facilitate travel.
Rwanda said it had reopened the border but stressed that “pending issues” must be resolved before relations can be normalized with Uganda.
The Rwandan border authorities said travel to Uganda was restricted to essential travelers until COVID-19 prevention measures are put in place. At least truckers and Rwandan citizens or returning residents were permitted to cross from Uganda into Rwanda, Rwandan government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo said on Twitter.
The citizens of the two East African neighboring countries Uganda and Rwanda jubilated after it was announced that the border crossing at Katuna would be reopened .
“Following the visit to Rwanda of Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Senior Presidential Advisor on Special Duties and Commander of Land Forces of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) on 22nd January 2022, the Government of Rwanda, has taken note that there is a process to solve issues raised by Rwanda, as well as commitments made by the Government of Uganda to address remaining obstacles,” a communique issued by the Rwanda Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Corporation reads in part.
“In this regard and in line with the communique of the 4th Quadripartite Summit held at Gatuna/Katuna on 21st February 2020, the Government of Rwanda wishes to inform the public that the Gatuna border post between Rwanda and Uganda will be re-opened from 31st January 2022.”
It further stated : “As it is the case for other land border posts in the country, health authorities of Rwanda and Uganda will work together to put in place necessary measures to facilitate movement in the context of COVID-19.
The Government of Rwanda remains committed to ongoing efforts to resolve pending issues between Rwanda and Uganda and believes that today’s announcement will contribute positively to the speedy normalization of relations between the two countries,” the communique added.
Uganda-Rwanda relations hit a new low in 2019 when the common border between the two countries was closed after Kampala and Kigali accused each other espionage, terrorist activities abductions and torture of citizens . The closure paralysed businesses and the cross- border trade was shut down with the two countries losing an estimated one trillion Uganda shillings in revenues.
Rwanda heavily relies on transport of its goods from the Indian ocean port of Mombasa through Kenya and Uganda. The same road also transports goods through Rwanda to Burundi and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Resumption of normal trade at the two countries’ border crossing has been i welcomed by the locals given that it is a much needed impetus to jump-starting regional trade that has also been battered by the two year-global-novel- COVID-19 pandemic that led to prolonged lockdowns .
Uganda and Rwanda are members of regional trade bloc East African Community alongside Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan.
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