The problem is not the border or road construction, the problem is politics- Kagame on Rwanda-Uganda relations

On 25 March 2019 at 09:13

President Paul Kagame has said that the problem behind Rwanda, Uganda issues lies in politics noting that political will must come first to fixing relations.

The president made the remarks as he opened the Africa CEO Forum that kicked off today where he reflected on Continental Free Trade Area highlighting that free trade cannot be possible without political will.

“Political will is in everything, it allows things that must work to work. Political will must come first,” he said.

“The problem is not the road or the road being constructed. The problem is politics. We have 100s of people from Rwanda, arrested, detained in prisons for years in Uganda, without being charged or appearing anywhere in court. This means the message is Uganda is telling Rwandans don’t come here. We have raised this issue with the Ugandan government. We told you if you have people who have committed crimes, deal with that legally and openly,” added Kagame.

Kagame highlighted that detained Rwandans have not been given access to counsel that even Ambassadors cannot visit them because they are held in places that are not known.

“We have engaged with Uganda about that and have gotten nowhere,” he noted.

“We had containers leaving Kigali, going to Mombasa. A container of minerals was blocked at the border for five months with no explanation. A Kenyan company was exporting milk from Rwanda. The containers were held until tens of thousands of liters of milk were spoilt,” added Kagame.

The turbulence between Rwanda, Uganda relations dates two years. The government of Rwanda reports 900 Rwandans arrested, tortured while others were illegally expelled from Uganda.

Rwanda also accuses Uganda of housing dissidents intending to threaten state security. Rwanda advised its people not to travel to Uganda until the situation comes back to normal.

Ethiopia president Sahle-Work Zewde said that integration can’t be possible as long as countries still consider borders established by colonizers.

He pointed out an example of Ethiopian war with Eritrea which resulted into closing borders for over 20 years.

He noted that they finally came up with common understanding and reopened borders that they have started realizing advantages.