Two months into the closure of the busiest border crossing between Rwanda and Uganda, Rwandans on Twitter (RWOT) have come out to pressure their government to reconsider its decision and open the border.
Relations between the twocountriessoured in February after Rwanda blocked Ugandan cargo trucks from entering its territory at the busiest crossing point,Gatuna, and barred its nationals from crossing into Uganda.
Rwanda accuses Uganda of illegally arresting, torturing and deporting its citizens, offering support to two foreign-based Rwanda rebel groups and economic sabotage.
“RNC and FDLR work from Uganda with support of some authorities there. This is another serious case and we have raised it with them,” hesaid at the time of theclosure.
Rwanda depends for much of its imports on a trade route through Uganda to Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa. The samepoint is theentryfor goods from Kenya and Uganda to Burundi and parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The social media platform exchange started when,Seziberaposted“Every time I travel, I find a million reasons to love#Rwandaeven more!! East, West home is best does not even begin to describe it!!”
The tweet attracted much positive response with many tweeting and retweeting applauding the minister.
However, Executive Secretary of Rwanda Journalists Association,GonzagaMuganwa(
“Talking of travel, Rwandans can’t go to Burundi and Uganda, the countries they have the closest relations. Is that part of a successful foreign policy Hon?”Muganwa’stweeted asking the minister.
In the defence of his boss, Rwanda’s prominent and vocal state minister of regional cooperation, Amb.OlivierNduhungirehe,
In his replyNduhungirehetweeted,“
“Very interesting response; actually, didn’t imagine this dispute could last decades like the Korean split. Abiy Ahmed pulled off a big diplomatic win by ending senseless conflict with Eritrea. Probably we will have to wait for leaders who don’t haveenzigo/inzika(M7’sVenda
The exchange got interesting when anotherof Rwanda’sprominent journalists,Edmund Kagirereplying toMuganwa
“Maybe as we pray we should also humbly request our leaders to act? We thebaturage(citizens) are paying the price. Our lives have been interdependent for centuries.“
While Nation Media’s Kigali senior correspondent Ivan Mugisha wondered why there were no restrictions imposed on air travel to Uganda as it is with road travel.
“Ironically you can fly to Uganda as a Rwandan but you can’t use a bus.Smh“
In a tongue-in-cheek reply to Mugisha,Muganwatweeted “So the rich sorted themselves out and left the poor to lose?! Enforcing a travel advisory shows the extent people are citizens or subjects”
Echoing Rwanda’s stan on the closure, musician, Tom Close tweeted in a reply toKagire, “Care about the living not the dead my brother.”
As a sign of easing tensions,Watchdog reported, Rwandan immigrations officers had started allowing Rwandans residing aroundGatunato cross over to Uganda for the first time in two months while travel restrictions remain on Rwandans from other border points.
Rwanda depends for much of its imports on a trade route through Uganda to Kenya’s Indian Ocean port of Mombasa.
While addressing a gathering inBureradistrict, Rwanda Defence Forces Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. PatrickNyamvumbacautioned communities at the border against crossing to Uganda saying that that all services they need are being delivered, and that more will come.
Nyamvumbawho was speaking inBureradistrict is quoted by local media, saying, “I am aware that you have been seeking some services from neighbouring countries, which are going to be provided because you deserve them,”
He added: “All the services you have received are done in the interest of the people, because the torture people face is of concern to us.”
“program is meant to ensure your welfare since good health is what gives you the energy to engage in productive activities.”
Bureradistrict, borders Kisoro district of south western Uganda.
However,The New Times,quoting unnamed government officials refuting the development.
According to officials, the very reasons that were advanced by the Government of Rwanda which they said are responsible for the strain in relations with Uganda still exist, and there has not been any change to the effect of addressing the three main problems.
The three issues that were presented by Rwanda include the targeting and persecution of Rwandan nationals on Ugandan soil and Uganda’s continued hobnobbing with individuals who harbour plans to attack and destabilise peace in Rwanda.
The third reason is economic sabotage, where Uganda has not taken any step to address these issues that economically hurt Rwanda,The New Timesreports.