KAMPALA – The East African Law Society (EALS) has said it is reaching out to the presidents of Uganda and Rwanda for possible mediation in a bid to end the border standoff.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the law society says it has already sought experienced diplomats to undertake the mediation efforts and expressed concern on the deteriorating relations between the two neighbours.
“We are separately reaching out the Heads of States of Rwanda and Uganda with the offer for mediation,” said Mr Willy Rubeya, the EALS president in a statement.
Mr Rubeya added that EALS will soon avail the team and keep the public informed of the status of the dispute resolution.
The Arusha-based regional bar with over 17,000 lawyers has an observer status to the East African Community (EAC).
One of the organization’s mandates is to promote regional integration through cross border trade and building capacity of legal, professional and public institutions.
It also appealed to the leaders of the two countries to re-open and operationalise their common border even as a lasting solution to the crisis is sought.
Of much concern is the effect of the situation on the economy and provision of basic needs to the affected population.
The EALS boss said escalation of the situation at the common border of the two sovereign states has brought with it ” the undesired effect of constraining free movement of citizens and of goods”.
He said the society and its members spread across the six EAC partner states believed the solution to the crisis lay in the negotiated settlement.
The bar association made its position clear on the Uganda/Rwanda crisis as senior EAC officials hailed the visit of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya to Uganda and Rwanda on Monday.
“If President Kenyatta went there to mediate the two countries, that is commendable”, said Moses Allan Adam, the President of the Arusha-based Friends of East Africa, a lobby group.
During the one day visit, the Kenyan leader conferred with President Yoweri Museveni and the Rwanda leader President Paul Kagame.
He said the conflict between the two EAC partner states was this time around disturbing because of claims and counter-claims on the alleged support to the rebels.
An official of the EAC said behind-the-scene efforts to normalize Rwanda/Uganda relations were underway although the involvement of the EAC is not visible.