28-03-2018- Kampala: A Rwandan national goes missing again
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has today Sunday arrived in Uganda for a one-day state visit. Kagame was welcomed by President Museveni at State House Entebbe at 11:32am.
“Paul urakaza neza mu Uganda”, Museveni told his guest in Kinyarwanda, wishing him a warm welcome.
In Uganda, Kagame will hold a bilateral meeting with Museveni to ease tensions between the two sister countries.
The meeting is seen by many as a step forward in resolving contentious issues related to security, refugees and infrastructure projects.
After the bilateral meeting, the two leaders will join their ministers for detailed discussions on strengthening relations and doing business.
Some of the Ugandan ministers seen at State House Entebbe are Sam Kutesa (Foreign Affairs), Adolf Mwesige (Defence), Irene Muloni and Attorney General William Byaruhanga.
Officials told ChimpReports Ugandan and Rwanda intelligence chiefs would as well meet at Entebbe.
Kagame was in a jolly mood as Museveni welcomed him on the steps of State House.
The duo exchanged pleasantries before posing for pictures.
Ugandan officials are optimistic all issues that have strained the two countries’ relations will be amicably resolved.
The presence of the Attorney Generals confirms reports Uganda and Rwanda will sign an MoU to deepen cooperation in defence, foreign affairs, trade and infrastructure development.
The rising tensions between the two countries have since worried investors and created uncertainty in the region.
The Rwandan government accuses Uganda of facilitating the movement of suspected dissidents in East Africa, claims Kampala denies.
In a diplomatic note, Rwanda last year said its “most concerning” issue is the “facilitation of recruitment and travel in the region of Rwandans in possession of Ugandan travel documents, of whom are mostly from refugee camps in Uganda, for the benefit of the terrorist group known as Rwanda National Congress (RNC).”
Rwanda further added: “Information in our possession has revealed that this network has intentions to cross from Uganda into Tanzania and eventually end up in DRC in the RNC camps.”
In the protest letter, Kigali also denounced what it described as “Multiple unjustified arrests, failure to notify the Diplomatic representation of Rwanda in Uganda and mistreatment of Rwandan citizens in Uganda in the last several months.”
On the other hand, Uganda maintains it’s cracking down on suspected Rwandan spies harassing Rwandan refugees and threatening national security.
Some of the suspected Rwandans have been deported by Ugandan armed forces while those facing serious charges are tried before courts of law.
Asked to contextualize the diplomatic note in the wake of recent events that have threatened the two countries’ relations, Mugoya stressed: “Relations go beyond arrests. If there are some suspects involved in crimes, they can be arrested.”
He, however, reassured that that the bilateral relations with Rwanda are “okay.”
Kampala has previously expressed unease over the loss of jobs of its citizens employed in major parastatals and even private enterprises in Rwanda.
Some of the affected Ugandans had occupied high profile positions in the private and government bodies for many years.
These include Vivian Igunduura, the deputy Managing Director of Cogebanque – the third largest bank in Rwanda.
Beatrice Kibwika Kantono, who was working with MTN Rwanda as an Information Technology Audit/Risk Manager, was asked to quit.
A one Ojongoro who was employed as Chief Finance Officer of National Bank of Rwanda had his contract terminated last October.
Officials said “everything is done verbally,” adding, “No reason is given for not renewing the Ugandans’ work permits.”
This is likely to be a major topic when Museveni meets with Kagame in Uganda.
Rwanda had quietly protested the appointment of Security Minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, saying he exhibited a hostile attitude towards the Kigali government.
Tumukunde was recently sacked alongside the police chief, Gen Kale Kayihura.
Until recently, Uganda’s relations with Rwanda were so strong that cross border trade was valued at $200m.
But the last few years saw the ties weakened as Rwandan media outlets launched attacks on the Ugandan government and its senior officials including President Museveni, his brother Gen Salim Saleh, Lt Gen Tumukunde and Military Intelligence chief Brig Abel Kandiho.
It is suspected the two leaders will as well discuss claims that Philbert Rujugiro, a wealthy Rwandan businessman dealing in the tobacco industry in Uganda, is involved in plans to disturb Kigali regime.
Museveni recently directed his security advance team to return from Kigali where he was expected to attend the African Union meeting of heads-of-state on the African Free Trade Area.
Museveni cancelled the trip before sending Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa as his envoy.
It’s hugely anticipated the two leaders, who fought together in several wars, will extensively discuss these concerns with the view of having an amicable settlement.