KISORO – Leaders of Kisoro and Kabale districts which neighbor Rwanda have urged President Yoweri Museveni and his Rwanda counterpart Paul Kagame to go for dialogue, arguing that war no longer resolve the current standoff.
For close to two weeks, Rwanda has closed its borders with Uganda, accusing the latter of hosting rebels seeking to destabilize their country as well as arresting and jailing Rwandan nationals, allegations Uganda denies.
And now leaders say the standoff has already had serious repercussions on the economies of the two countries as well as their citizens and have urged restraint.
“We don’t want war. Uganda and Rwanda opting for offensive is the deadliest option that will destroy our economy. The only best option is dialogue because it will save the destruction of property and lives in both countries. The intergovernmental agencies should break the silence and engage our leaders in dialogue,” said Kisoro district chairman Abel Bizimana.
“Whereas I thank President Museveni for the patience and tolerance he has always demonstrated while serving us, I feel dialogue will be the best option to resolve the current standoff with his Rwandan counterpart,” he added.
Kabale District chairman Patrick Besigye Keihwa said even through the two presidents were brought to power by the gun, war is no longer relevant.
“A fight between Uganda and Rwanda shall escalate the current economic loss so far made. There is need for immediate dialogue. Whereas it is true that the two presidents are well versed with war techniques, as local residents living in the border districts, we shall be at a loss. Gone are the days of believing in the power of the gun as dialogue remains the best option to resolve any misunderstanding,” Mr Keihwa said.
On Friday, President Museveni, while commissioning factories in Mukono district, warned those seeking to destabilize Uganda.
“Those who want to destabilize our country do not know our capacity. It is very big. Once we mobilise, you can’t survive,” Gen. Museveni said.
But in response, Kagame said: “When I hear somebody say no one can destabilize their country, I agree. No one should actually be destabilizing that country but that country should also not be destabilizing others, I think it is a fair deal,” Kagame said.
Last week, Uganda through the minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa, denied charges that it was harbouring elements out to destabilise Rwanda.
Uganda also denied claims of torture and harassment of Rwandans saying whoever is arrested is handled according to the due process of the law.