Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Richard Sezibera has said the travel advisory to its citizens against entering Uganda still stands despite the provisional opening of the Gatuna border.
In a letter dated June 7, 2019, the Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) Commissioner General Pascal Bizimana Ruganintwali informed the public that heavy trucks are provisionally allowed to cross the border in order to facilitate the trial activities as requested by Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA).
“Reference is made to Rwanda Transport Development Agency (RTDA) letter dated June 7, 2019 which expresses the need to carry out trials for the heavy trucks movement at Gatuna OSBP for a period of two weeks from 10th up to 22nd and assess the operationalization of the constructed works and equipment before the reception of works,” said Bizimana.
In a June 10, 2019 brief to the Senate Commission for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, Sezibera explained that as government, they have not changed their minds regarding the travel advisory against Uganda, according to local news outlet KTPress.
“The travel advisory has not changed. It remains as before,” he said.
He also disclosed that the Gatuna border was never closed for business but for construction reasons which include completion of One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) on each side of Rwanda and Uganda.
“Once the road is tested and seen as fit, it will resume normally, but we don’t know when the Ugandan side will complete construction of the post, for all of us to work effectively.”
Relations between the two nations soured in February this year 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 accused its East African counterpart of illegally arresting, torturing and deporting its citizens, offering support to two foreign-based Rwanda rebel groups and economic sabotage.
Sezibera said that they opted to block their nationals from traveling to Uganda because they could not guarantee their safety in the neighboring country.