KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni has denied any wrongdoing on part of Kampala in the Uganda-Rwanda border closure controversy and said President Kagame was solely responsible.
“We had discussions long ago with the mediation of Angola. Some years ago, I haven’t seen the border being opened,” he said.
The Ugandan President who spoke to FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman from State House, Entebbe also said claims that he was acting as master of the region as unfounded.
On claims that Rwanda used Military-grade spyware to spy on high ranking officials Ugandan government, Museveni said that “was a waste of time because if I want to do something it’s my head”.
President Museveni has previously said the border closure emanated from the internal conflicts in Rwanda especially within the RPF ranks when some members of RPF disagreed with the Rwanda government and majority took refuge in South Africa.
Museveni, however, said that the Rwanda government says that some of them reside in Uganda, an allegation he said that was not true”.
Some of Rwandans in South African include Lt. Gen. Kayumba Nyamwasa.
Relations between the two countries soured with Rwanda accusing Uganda of helping Kayumba Nyamwasa of rebel recruiting forces from East and Central region to wreak havoc on Kagame administration.
The accusations were extended to South Africa whose centre of the dirty diplomatic tussle are several issues: South Africa giving refuge to Kayumba Nyamwasa and other “dissidents”; the 2013 murder of former intelligence boss Colonel Patrick Karegeya in Sandton; the expulsion of diplomats from both countries in a tit-for-tat standoff; and a South African judiciary inquest into the murder of Karegeya.
South Africa openly rebuked Rwanda and expelled three Rwandan diplomats.
Rwanda retaliated by sending home six South African diplomats.
Kagame blames Uganda and South Africa for the instability in East Africa, where rebel activities are linked to his political foes exiled in Pretoria, who were believed to come to the Great Lakes region via Uganda to recruits rebels, allegedly with the support of President Museveni’s government.
Museveni has blatantly rejected this as malicious.
President Kagame claims that he repeatedly raised the matter with Uganda until he felt that Kampala had not shown a keen interest in patching things up, hence choosing to close the border.
The border closure led to tense relations between the two East African neighbours to the extent that there was even talk of war.
Museveni after the last quadripartite summit held at the border rejected President Kagame accusations and said Uganda has never given support to any dissents to destabilize Rwanda.
He also denied arresting Rwandans saying that those his government arrested were handed to Kigali and Uganda leadership was not aware of the presence of such people on Ugandan territory.
He added that for the case of Rwandan citizens that were arrested in Uganda for cases such as espionage and kidnap of people on the Ugandan soil, he had instructed for their pardon and immediate release.
However, he said those arrested for crimes such as murder and rape would to face trial in accordance with the Ugandan laws.
President Kagame this week once again urged Rwandans not to travel to Uganda, as relations between the two countries remain cold.
In a televised interview on State agency, Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, President Kagame said Rwandans fear travelling to Uganda due to the alleged illegal arrests and torture they face.