Newly elected Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has said that neighboring countries like Uganda and Rwanda should consider building bridges that join them, instead of putting up walls that separate them.
He made the remarks on Tuesday while attending the Africa CEO Forum on the invitation of his Rwanda counterpart Paul Kagame. The event took place in Rwanda’s Capital Kigali.
According to Rwanda’s ktpress.rw, during the forum, Tshisekedi was tasked by the moderator to unearth what he had discussed with President Yoweri Museveni during his one day state visit to Uganda last week.
In response, he said it was “better to keep it confidential because the forum is not the right moment to discuss that.”
Tshisekedi, however, said that it is paramount for neighbors to be in harmony rather than quarreling.
He gave an example of his country where in the past, armed groups allegedly kept regrouping and sabotaging Rwandan security and said, both countries are looking forward to a new peaceful and comradely era.
“In fact we have this principle: while for us we shall pass, our countries will remain neighbors forever. Creating conflict against each other is a waste of time that we rather should put to good use to build,” Tshisekedi said.
Since 2017, the diplomatic ties between Uganda and Rwanda have been deteriorating to that extent that last month Rwanda closed its Katuna-Gatuna border and issued a travel advisory for its citizens.
Recently, the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Richard Sezibera, revealed that they opted to block their nationals from traveling to Uganda alleging continuous arrests, harassment, torture, illegal incarceration without consular access, deportation among others of its citizens.
He also said, “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.”
In the same vein, the Rwandan leader Paul Kagame has also come to highlight on the ongoing tension between the two East African countries.
Speaking at the 16th edition of the National Leadership Retreat at Rwanda Defence Force Combat Training Centre in Gabiro, Gatsibo District on March 9, 2019, Kagame said his country had been provoked to take certain actions.
In one of his discussions, he said he raised the issue of some Rwandan bad elements in Uganda including businessman Tribert Rujugiro who “runs business in Uganda and bankrolls groups that seek to destabilize Rwanda” but Museveni refused to solve the issue diligently.
“We have been provoked, people have crossed our borders, killed our people and we have not responded. We were able to see someone wanted to drag us into this mess. When they have dragged you into this sort of problem, then you start looking the same.
“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,”said Kagame.
He further noted that almost every week, there are people who are brought and dumped across the border, and when you asked some of them, they say they have been in prison for two years.
“There is the case of a man who has been in prison for two years after he refused to be recruited by RNC.”
On the other hand, President Museveni has on several occasions warned countries thinking of destabilizing his Uganda to think twice because they do not have the capacity.
“Those who want to destabilize our country do not know our capacity. It is very big. Once we mobilise, you can’t survive,”Museveni revealed early this month.
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