Uganda: Border Residents Celebrate Museveni-Kagame Deal

Border check. A Rwandan security officer inspects a vehicle from the Ugandan side at Cyanika border post.

A section of traders and local leaders at Katuna and Kyanika border posts with Rwandan yesterday expressed excitement on receiving news that Rwanda President Paul Kagame and his Ugandan counterpart President Museveni have signed a pact to improve their political and economic relations.

In February, the Rwandan government closed Gatuna border post and stopped cargo trucks from Uganda on grounds that they were constructing the one-stop border post.

The government also restricted its people from crossing the border into Uganda on grounds that it was a hostile country.

The mayor for Katuna Town Council, Mr Nelson Nshangabasheija, said: "We have been waiting for this gesture. We now expect free movement of people across the border. All we need is peace and economic stability for better trade."

He said traders have been living in poverty ever since the border post was closed.

"Revenue collections from our daily market dues went down. I personally feel excited to hear that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed," Mr Nshangabasheija added.

The chairperson of traders at Kyanika border post in Kisoro District, Mr Geoffrey Nombe, said: "Most of our traders, who were dealing in perishable goods lost their money. It is our humble appeal to the government of Uganda to consider giving us loans that are interest-free so that we can recapitalise our business," Mr Nombe said.

Optimism

The chairperson of Katuna cross-border traders association, Ms Marble Musinguzi, welcomed the development saying: "Signing the MoU should translate into boosting and reviving trade."

The presidential press secretary, Ms Lindah Nabusayi, said cross-border activities shall resume after the new development.

"The two leaders committed to refraining from destabilisation and also eliminate all factors that may create such perception. The leaders will respect and protect the rights and freedoms of the nationals in accordance with laws of their countries. The pact indicates that the two countries will now resume cross-border activities," Ms Nabusayi said.

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