The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Kagame Hosts Ugandan Community in Rwanda

President Paul Kagame, on Friday said that the relationship between Uganda and Rwanda go beyond just ties, saying the two countries share strong blood relations.

The Head of State made the remarks while addressing 70 leaders of the Ugandan Community living in Rwanda who visited him at Village Urugwiro.

The delegation, led by the Ugandan High Commissioner to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero, and the Chairperson of the Ugandan Community in Rwanda, expressed their commitment to promote strong business partnership between the two countries.

President Kagame particularly recognised the conduct exhibited by Ugandans living in Rwanda, saying that it constitutes a well-behaved community.

"...Not only are you good representatives yourselves, but you also represent a good community that has been behaving well here in this country. I say with certainty that, even at the time when there were few problems between our two countries, you remained calm, behaved well, you did what you were supposed to do and ignored what was going on until it was solved," said the President.

He noted that their conduct was remarkable and very important, "it helped us also work on very many things, including making sure that our relations go back to the good footing it used to be at."

In his observation, President Kagame noted that Ugandans and Rwandans are people who should be relating in a way that could even set a very good example to the whole continent.

"There is more that is shared between Ugandans and Rwandans than you would find between any other two countries. This is an opportunity that we can't afford to waste. We should build on it and strengthen our ties," Kagame said.

President Kagame hastened to add that Rwanda and Uganda share more than just ties but blood relationship.

"It is blood relationship in two ways - biological and real blood that was shed for the liberation of two countries - and this blood was mixed, meaning the blood of Ugandans and that of Rwandans was shed for the liberation of Uganda and Rwanda, together," observed President Kagame.

Kagame pointed out that the existing relations imply that they can stand together for the liberation of our two countries.

"As you do your business here, you should do it in a manner that reflects that actually this is your home as well, and for us as a country hosting you, we also feel obliged to treat you in a manner that you feel at home. We will continue to do that, it strengthens us as well," said Kagame.

"We treat your presence here in this country as very important, and from this, we can even bring about the wider Integration of east Africa".

President Kagame then took questions from the audience ranging from the need to implement an East African national ID to non-nationals' eligibility for Rwanda's health insurance scheme "mutuelle de santé."

President Kagame assured the members of the Ugandan community that Rwanda was committed to ensuring they all feel at home and benefit as all Rwandans who are working to improve their lives.

The Head of the Ugandan Community in Rwanda, Hajji Issa Bogere, told the President that Ugandans in Rwanda were committed towards collaboration between both countries in the field of cross-border trade as well as mutual understanding and friendship.

Currently, there are about 4000 Ugandans living and working in Rwanda and they are serving in several sectors.

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