Rwanda expresses great optimism for normal relations with Uganda

On 24 January 2022 at 12:07

The Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Alain Mukuralinda has said that optimism to normalize bilateral ties between Rwanda and Uganda stands at 60%.

He made the revelation during the talk show dubbed ‘Ishusho y’Icyumweru’ loosely translated as Weekly Review aired on RBA on Sunday 23rd January 2022.

Mukuralinda explained that there has an open ground for discussions of matters affecting both countries’ relations since the situation worsened five years ago.

“For instance, the two embassies are open. Officials at all levels have engaged in discussions. There have been discussions, transmission of messages through envoys from both countries, some of whom were not disclosed to the public,” he said.

Mukuralinda also hinted on Luanda agreements signed in Angola in 2019 and recent efforts where the Uganda’s envoy, Adonia Ayebare and Lieutenant General Muhoozi Kainerugaba visited Rwanda to mend relations.

Despite the delay in reaching common ground, Mukuralinda revealed that the most important thing is to continue discussions to address raised concerns.

“Discussions were held at different levels. The talk held yesterday was at higher level,” he said.

“The fact that the President of Uganda decided to send his son, the Senior Presidential Advisor in Charge of Special Operations and Uganda People’s Defence Forces Commander of Land Forces to his counterpart; evidences that people’s hope for normalized relations is founded. However, they should be mindful that the optimism is not rooted on yesterday’s visit. The other visits were in the same context,” Mukuralinda added.

The fact that both sides affirmed to have held productive discussions conveys a significant message.

Some Rwandan nationals living or traveling to Uganda for different reasons are reported incarcerated and tortured, dispossessed of their belongings and dumped at borders.

Mukuralinda said that Rwanda has already raised concerns of dissidents with intentions to threaten Rwanda’s security operating in Uganda and highlighted that it is time to put into action what is needed most to bring the situation to normal following discussions, signed agreements, transmission of messages through envoys.

He however explained that it would be to rush to decide when relations will be fully mended.

“On the other hand, I can say that we have reached at least 60% of positive progress in consideration of past efforts. I am convinced that the implementation of resolutions taken at such level cannot be delayed,” he said.

Reflecting on a tweet by Rwanda’s Presidency that ‘President Kagame and General Muhoozi had cordial, productive and forward looking discussions about Rwanda’s concerns and practical steps needed to restore the relationship between Rwanda and Uganda’, Mukuralinda reassured citizens on normalized relations.

“There is optimism but people should understand that it is not something to done in two or three days because existing problems are serious. The most important thing is to have them talked about. Let us turn words into actions. If we point out that Rwandans are being tortured in Uganda, that Uganda houses Rwanda’s dissidents; it remains a matter of determining what are needed actions to stop the situation?” he wondered.

After arriving in Uganda, Lt Gen Muhoozi used his twitter handle to post that only enemies would fight both countries’ unity.

He stressed the need to resolve existing small problems quickly to move forward together.

Mukuralinda explained that that things are bound to be in the right direction when one of parties involved in conflicts starts realizing that the person fuelling confrontations is an enemy.

“We must not do things in haste because we need to reach long-lasting solution,” he said.

A lawyer and Principal of the College of Arts and Social Sciences - University of Rwanda (CASS), Dr. Alphonse Muleefu who also featured in the talk show, highlighted that the current situation is promising for both countries to reach common ground.

The recent visit by Lt Gen Muhoozi was considered a great step to restore relations to normal after five years of deteriorated relations.

The Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Alain Mukuralinda.