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Uganda to make ‘major statement’ on frosty diplomatic relations with Rwanda

Relations between Rwanda and Uganda continue to deteriorate after the later deported two Rwandan national for supporting subversive activities. (PML MONTAGE PHOTO)

KAMPALA/ KIGALI – The Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda revealed government will issue a major statement on the state of diplomatic relations with Rwanda.

This comes days after Uganda deported three MTN Uganda workers, some being a Rwandan nationals.

During a plenary discussion, MPs sought government’s position on reports that the deportation is steering Uganda and Rwanda into a diplomatic crisis

MP Francis Zaake said he is worried about the reported diplomatic crisis that is said to have followed the deportation.

“This is a matter that is under investigation…this House will be informed about our relationship with member states, including Rwanda,” said Rugunda.

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said government will issue a major statement on the diplomatic relations between the two neighbouring states. (FILE PHOTO)

He gave the MPs the assurance during the Prime Minister’s Time on Thursday, 24 January 2019.

Early this week, Police Deputy Spokesperson Polly Namaye said two MTN Uganda employees; a French national Olivier Prentout and Rwandan Annie Bilenge Tabura were deported for engaging in activities that “compromise national security”.

“This is to inform the general public that the security agencies in close coordination with immigration officials have been investigating two foreign nationals working with a mobile telecom company over their engagement in acts which compromise national security,” partly read Ms Namaye’s statement.

Security sources who spoke to local media said the two were eavesdropping telephone conversations among top political and security chiefs, sharing the same with a foreign country believed to be Rwanda.

Rwanda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of East African Affairs, Ambassador Olivier Nduhungirehe, took to Twitter, where he poured scorn on Uganda for the deportation, claiming diplomatic avenues have been exhausted to normalize both countries’ relations in vain.

In a tweet on his handle, Nduhungirehe said Uganda is instead becoming a haven for Rwandans dissidents, who are plotting against their country.

“Apparently, walking and working in #Uganda while Rwandan has become a crime. The only activities allowed for Rwandans in Uganda seem to be plotting against their country, training forces for the #RNC/#P5 and denouncing fellow Rwandans. This provocation will stop at some point,” Nduhungirehe tweeted.

Uganda’s relations with Rwanda has been on the rocks in the recent past, with former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura battling claims of illegally deporting Rwandan nationals who were seeking asylum in the country.

A number of families in Rwanda claim their relatives routinely being abducted by Uganda’s CMI and other security forces.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame recently admitted that the Regional integration is at stake citing continued disappearance and deportation of Rwandans who cross the border to Uganda.

He went ahead to say the regional integration is not about countries taking from others for their benefit at the detriment of others.

He says “that ceases to be integration but rather exploitation.”

Ugandan Court recently remanded nine Rwandan women to Kyamugorani prison over illegal entry into the country.

These are also being charged with engaging in illegal business as well as illegally stay in Uganda.

Kagame said the much-preached regional integration can only work if people put words into action and work for the benefit of the region and not just their own.

“How can people do business with each other without freedom of movement? How can people trade with each other when those who cross the border to your country are put in jail or disappear without leaving any traces?

“How can we do business with each other when your understanding of regional integration is only about your benefit? This cannot work. Regional integration can’t just be for you to take; it is about ‘give and take’,” Kagame said.

The deportations have stoked diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

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