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Katuna border blockade persists despite Museveni, Kagame meeting

Friday October 25, 2019
Katuna border blockade persists despite Museveni, Kagame meeting

 

By ROBERT MUHEREZA, Daily Monitor

Cross-border movement at Katuna customs post between Uganda and Rwanda remain restricted despite the August 21 meeting between the two countries’ leaders to normalise the icy relations.
Rwandan nationals seeking to enter Uganda and Ugandan cargo trucks headed to Rwanda are barred from crossing Katuna border.
President Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame met in the Angolan capital Luanda in August and signed a pact to restore cross-border activities.
However, little has changed, according to the Katuna border mayor, Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija.
“Since that time, no Rwandan national is allowed to cross into Uganda or any cargo vehicle from Uganda crossing into Rwanda. All Ugandan goods are not allowed to be taken to Rwanda. It is only small cars, tourist vehicles, and buses that are allowed,” Mr Nshangabasheija said yesterday.
He revealed that even Rwandan students, who study in different primary and secondary schools and other higher institutions of learning in Uganda have never been allowed to cross the border.
The Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, Gen Frank Mugambage, referred us to the commission charged with handling matters between Uganda and Rwanda. “Ask the ad hoc commission,” he said.
Uganda’s State Minister for Regional Cooperation Philemon Mateke said: “The ad hoc commission will meet to discuss the issue of the border closure. It did not take place as scheduled but it will be held soon.”
The town clerk of Katuna Town Council, Mr Eric Sunday, said: “We used to get revenue from our daily market at Omukensiyona, parking fees, loading and offloading taxes but now all this is history because Rwandans were the majority customers. The border closure has created serious losses for Katuna Town Council.”
Some local traders said many people had resorted to smuggling.
The Kabale Resident District Commissioner, Mr Darius Nandinda, warned traders against smuggling. “As bilateral talks continue, I appeal to the Ugandan traders in the border communities to respect the laws,” Mr Nandinda said, adding that smuggling is a serious cross-border crime.

Previous meetings
Following the August Heads of State Summit in Luanda in Angola that agreed to end the border tension, delegations from both countries later met in Kigali on September 16. They agreed that the third meeting would take place in 30 days which ended on October 16, but Uganda insists the meeting will take place soon.