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Presidents To Meet At Katuna Border Over Uganda/Rwanda Standoff.

By Sarah Mazirwe – Kampala, Uganda, Monday, February 3, 2020. 

Presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Joao Lourenco (Angola), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Felix Tshisekedi (DRC) meeting in Lauda, Angola over the Uganda/Rwanda standoff.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda will hold another round of talks with Rwandan president, Paul Kagame in three weeks’ time at Katuna border. Katuna border sets the boundary line between Uganda and Rwanda and acts as the major exit point between both countries by road.

The meeting is projected towards forging a way of resolving spiking issues over the two countries. The resolution was made on February 1, 2020, in Lauda Angola where four heads of states met to solve the impasse between Uganda and Rwanda, dubbed the Quadripartite Summit.

The summit was facilitated by President Joao Lourenco of Angola with President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo as an observer. This was the third summit after the first two that were held in July and August 2019 in Angola. 

The over four-hour closed-door meeting took place at Lourenco’s palace in Lauda, Angola. President Lourenco who later addressed the media said the meeting never involved the signing of Memorandum of Understanding like the last time.

Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda in February 2019, and they have not been opened up to date. Several Rwandans have been shot by Rwandans security forces as they tried to cross to Uganda, while Ugandans products have been stopped from crossing to Rwanda, with some Ugandans working in Rwanda missing. 

There are over 3.7 million Rwandans living in Uganda and under Uganda’s constitution, it provides Banyarwanda (Rwandans) as a tribe in Uganda. 

The Standoff 

Rwanda accuses Uganda of supporting its dissidents, detentions, and torture of innocent Rwandans in Uganda and acts of economic sabotage. Kagame also accuses Uganda of providing support to their anti-governmental (Rwanda) rebel group, though Uganda repudiated all the allegations.

“You can attempt to destabilise our country, you can do us harm, you can shoot me with a gun and kill me. But there is one thing that is impossible: No one can bring me to my knees. Men and women of my country, you should never accept to be brought to your knees. You are much better than that,” Kagame speaking at the annual National Leadership Retreat, (Umwiherero) in Rwanda last year.

Also, Uganda accuses Rwanda of imposing an economic blockade by barring Ugandan Products and stopping Rwandans from crossing to Uganda.

Recently, Uganda released some Rwandan nationals who were facing charges before the army court; General Court Martial. After the release, Sam Kutensa, the Minister for Foreign Affairs said the move was intended to ease the tensions between the two countries.

Resolutions 

The meeting according to the communique resolved that both countries release duly identified nationals who are in the detention of other countries.

It also states that both countries refrain from conduct that creates the perception of support, financing, training, and infiltration of destabilizing forces in each other’s territory.

That each country will respect the human rights of citizens of other parties and that the ad hoc committee that was created to facilitate discussions between the two countries will continue with its work.

The heads of states also resolved to meet at the Uganda-Rwanda, Katuna/Gatuna border on February 21, 2020. “Uganda and Rwanda have pledged to continue to prioritize dialogue for the development and well-being of their peoples” reads the communique. 

The Link Between Uganda And Rwanda

Kagame while a refugee in Uganda in the 1980s joined Museveni’s successful struggle against the government of Milton Obote between 1980 to 1985 and Tito Okello, 1985-1986. 

Kagame was Museveni’s chief of intelligence during the liberation war and he gained a reputation for incorruptibility and strictness by imposing a tough code of conduct and performance.

Kagame came to Uganda as a child when there was tribal violence between two tribes in Rwanda, the Hutus, and Tutsi. The violence cropped up in 1956 when Rwanda was building up independence from the Belgian government.

He studied from Old Kampala SS, Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, before joining the National Resistance Army of Yoweri Museveni, who overthrew the then Ugandan President, Milton Obote in 1986. 

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