Rwanda has termed the deportation of former MTN Uganda head of sales and distribution, Annie Tabura as ‘witch-hunt’.
Tabura, a Rwandan national was deported on Tuesday morning by Uganda alongside Frenchman Olivier Prentout, after Uganda accused them of undermining state security.
Prentout was the chief marketing officer of the telecommunications giant.
Hours after the news of Tabura’s deportation was broken by Watchdog, Rwanda’s Minister of State for East African Community Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe referred reporters to Ugandan authorities.
“You should ask them why they keep doing this, not us. It is not the first time they have done this. This is a case of harassment of our nationals in Uganda.”
Despite denials from Kigali and Kampala, ties between Rwanda and Uganda appear to be deteriorating rapidly. Rwanda accuses Uganda of arbitrary arrest and torture of Rwandans in Uganda and for hosting rebels seeking to destabilise it.
Mr Nduhungirehe said Rwanda will seek explanations, adding that “there are also some Rwandans who were arrested in Uganda and we don’t know where they were taken.”
In a statement issued Tuesday morning, Uganda Police deputy police spokesperson, Polly Namaye said that security agencies in collaboration with immigration officers had been investigating the two foreigners ‘over their engagements in acts which compromise national security.’
“We strongly believe that the deportation of the two foreigners, who were using their employment as tools to achieve their ill motives, has enabled us to disrupt their intended plans of compromising our national security,” she added.
MTN Uganda speaks outs
Following the arrest and deportation of its employees, MTN Uganda said it will remain fully committed to operating within and respecting the laws of Uganda.
A short statement from MTN on Tuesday clarified that indeed ‘both Mr. Prentout and Mrs. Bilenge have been deported from Uganda to their home countries, France and Rwanda respectively.’
“On Saturday, 19 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer, Olivier Prentout, was arrested by police at Entebbe airport upon arrival from a business trip abroad. On the morning of Monday 21 January 2019, the MTN Uganda Head of Sales and Distribution, Annie Bilenge Tabura, was arrested by unidentified security personnel upon arrival at the MTN headquarter offices, in Kololo, Kampala,” the statement reads. “MTN Uganda, together with all its employees, remains fully committed to operating within and respecting the laws of the country.”
Relations between the two countries remain strained despite a meeting in early last year between President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart, Yoweri Museveni to ease tension.
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