Since 2017, the diplomatic ties between Uganda and Rwanda have been worryingly deteriorating.
On several occasions, Rwanda has accused Uganda of “arbitrary arrest and torture of Rwandans in Uganda,” as well as hosting “negative groups” plotting to destabilise the country.
On the other hand, Uganda accuses Kigali of deploying spies in the country and infiltrating security organs.
In the latest spate, Rwanda since last week has been blocking its nationals from traveling to Uganda alleging continuous arrests, harassment, torture, illegal incarceration without consular access, deportation among others of its citizens.
In an interview with Rwanda’s The New Times last week, Dr Richard Sezibera, Kigali’s Foreign Affairs Minister and also government Spokesperson revealed that they decided to take such action because they could not guarantee security for their citizens while in Uganda.
“It’s been longstanding and so we are strongly advising those who do not have necessary business in Uganda not to (go there) until we can sort out this problem. It’s a challenge, that’s the advice we’d give you because we can’t guarantee security, we’ve seen incidents in the past, even yesterday we were seeing people arrested in Kisoro, in Mbarara (in southwestern and western Uganda) and we don’t understand what’s happening. Any sensible government (in this situation) would, of course, advise its citizens to be prudent about travelling there,” Dr Sezibera told the local daily.
Apart from arrest and torture of Rwandans, the minister pointed out two other issues Rwanda has with Uganda.
“We’ve raised this issue with the Government of Uganda, that there are armed groups, individuals who head armed groups that are opposed to the Government of Rwanda, that have a violent agenda towards Rwanda who operate in Uganda; the RNC, some members of the FDLR, and so on and so forth…these are groups that have carried out (criminal) acts here in Rwanda and are based in Uganda,” he noted.
Adding, “The third is the challenge related to the free movement of Rwandan goods across Ugandan territory.”
Sezibera further said they have talked over the biting issues but the engagements are yet to yield any fruit.
On the other hand, Uganda’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem has called for calm and patience on both sides saying that they are working around the clock to solve the rising tension.
“#Uganda & #Rwanda are two blood brothers in this regard you can’t rule out simple misunderstanding as family do.I beg for calm & patience from both sides.The Diplomatic arm @GovUganda is at work to avert this rising tension”. Hon. Okello Oryem,Min.of State @UgandaMFA @RwandaMFA
— UgandaMFA 🇺🇬 (@UgandaMFA) March 3, 2019