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Gov’t Questions Rwanda’s Intentions Of Stopping Its Citizens From Entering Uganda

The Uganda government has said there’s no witch hunt for Rwandans in Uganda.  

Addressing the media at Uganda Media Centre this morning, government Spokesman, Ofwono Opondo said: “There’s also nobody from Rwanda being held by the Ugandan authorities for any reason. We would like to send a clear message to Rwanda that there’s no one Uganda is harassing from Rwanda or is in custody.”

He said government is advising trucks to use Ntugamo-Mirama Hills for business to go on normally.

“The construction at the Gatuna border(Rwanda) with Uganda is making movement difficult. However, we’ve not received any information about why Rwandese& trucks aren’t entering Uganda,” Opondo said.

He added: “All vehicles coming from Rwanda enter well into Uganda but it’s the opposite on the Rwandan side. Rwandese aren’t being allowed to travel & enter Uganda but Ugandan nationals are. What is being stopped are only vehicles because of the blockage.”

He however revealed that “All this doesn’t affect air transport. Flights have been going on smoothly at Entebbe Airport whether for Rwanda Air or any other airline. No Rwandans or Ugandans have been affected by this.”

It is worth noting that in a letter dated February 28, 2019, Rosine Uwamariya, the Commissioner for Customs Services at Rwanda Revenue Authority to her Ugandan counterpart, due to construction works currently taking place at Gatuna Border post aimed at extending smooth flow of goods and services at the border post, Rwanda has considered reducing the traffic of heavy trucks from Uganda to allow completion of One Stop Border Post (OSBP) infrastructure.

“In view of the above, Rwanda Revenue Authority would like to inform you that with effect from 28th February, all heavy trucks carrying goods destined and those transiting via Gatuna shall be temporily diverted from using Gatuna Border Post to Kagitumba/Mirama Hills Border Posts,” Uwamariya’s letter to URA reads in part.

URA has already issued a circular to traders and the public informing them of the new development.

“In light of the need to expedite construction works to complete the Gatuna OSBP infrastructure by the Rwanda Revenue Authority, heavy trucks have been diverted to Kagitumba/Mirama Hills Border Post effective today,” URA said in a statement.

It added: “Our esteemed traders are advised to consider Kagitumba/Mirama Hills when transiting cargo to/from Rwanda. You will be informed when the construction works are complete.”

Of late, there have been frosty relationship between the two East African countries.

A journalist based in Kigezi region says Rwanda has been blocking Ugandan goods for the last two weeks.

It should be noted that in January, Rwanda claimed that Ugandan security agencies had abducted a Rwandan national, Rogers Donne Kayibanda while he was in Uganda for an event.

To add salt to injury, Uganda deported Annie Bilenge Tabura, who was the Head of Sales and Distribution at MTN Uganda over security reasons.

In the aftermath of her deportation, Rwanda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (East Africa Community), Olivier Nduhungirehe said Uganda was provoking Rwanda.

 “Apparently, walking and working in #Uganda while Rwandan have become a crime. The only activities allowed for Rwandans in Uganda seem to be plotting against their country, training forces for the #RNC/#P5 and denouncing fellow Rwandans. This provocation will stop at some point,” he said via micro-blogging site twitter.

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