Minister Sam Kutesa Given a Week’s Ultimatum to Address Parliament on Rwanda-Uganda Row

BY: Eyalama In News On

Members of Parliament are concerned over the unending row between Uganda and Rwanda.

The sour relations between the two East African neighbours, last year led to Rwanda’s closure of the common border with Uganda at Katuna, cutting off trade and easy movements between the two countries.

A number of Ugandan traders accused of illegal entry into Rwanda have also been killed by the country’s security forces ever since. On Tuesday MPs tasked government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to give a statement on the current state of affairs, following reports that Ugandans are still being kidnapped and killed in Rwanda.

Another Ugandan national, from Kisoro District was on Saturday night reportedly shot dead at Kumugu Trading Centre, Musanze District in Rwanda, about three kilometers away from the Uganda border. Early this month, family members of Ivan Egesa, a Ugandan IT expert working in Rwanda petitioned the Ministry of Internal Affairs complaining that he had gone missing in Kigali. The whereabouts of Mr. Egesa remain unknown to date.

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Speaker Rebecca Kadaga wanted to know if government will issue a travel advisory urging Ugandans not to cross into Rwanda, while Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal asked the House to summon Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa who hasn’t appeared in Parliament for a long time to address the House on matters of Rwanda and Uganda.

“I have not seen a substantive Minister for Foreign Affairs in a long time here [in the chamber]. Can’t he be called to order to come here and explain the relations between Uganda and Rwanda; even the junior Minister [Okello Oryem] does not come here regularly,” Ogwal said.

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“We can’t sit and watch in silence when Ugandans are continuously dying in Rwanda. This House should give the Minister of Foreign Affairs an ultimatum to give us a comprehensive statement over the Uganda-Rwanda border dispute,” added Leader of Opposition, Betty Aol Ochan.

Speaking during official handover of the nine freed Rwandans last week, Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa the release of Rwandan nationals was an act of “good will” and a show of Uganda’s commitment to mending the broken ties with Rwanda.

Government Chief Whip Anna Nankabirwa who attempted to respond to the MPs’ demands, reiterated the Minister’s statement saying there are ongoing efforts to resolve the border dispute and that the Minister of Foreign Affairs will brief the House once progress is made.

Speaker Kadaga gave the Minister of Foreign Affairs up to Tuesday next week to provide a report on the Uganda-Rwanda border dispute, arguing that the matter has remained outstanding on the Order Paper since November last year.

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