It is disappointing to read articles by Uganda’s media in regards Uganda – Rwanda relations. It is clearly evident that there is ongoing malicious media campaign to frustrate the implementation of Luanda MoU and other ongoing efforts to normalize relations between Uganda and Rwanda. The tone of stories coming from Ugandan media houses strongly suggests that the current crisis involving the two countries is far from over.
The Government of Uganda has released 13 Rwandan nationals who had been in detention on trumped up charges of espionage and other security related offences. Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa Tuesday handed over the group of Rwandans for deportation to Rwanda. They were handed over to immigration authorities in the presence of the First Counsellor at the Rwandan High Commission to Uganda.
During the occasion , Sam Kutesa, however, explained that “the withdrawal of the charges against these people, just as with the nine that were released on January 8, does not in any way suggest that the accused are innocent of the charges for which they were being tried.“It is simply an option that government has chosen in order to facilitate normalisation of relations in the context of the Luanda process,” he said.
Asked about the number of people remaining in Ugandan detention facilities, the minister explained that many have since been deported and only 39 others are remaining in custody and serving sentences.
He said the persons handed over include those who were rearrested after they had been deported for espionage and security related offences in 2019 but they came back to Uganda.
Apart from releasing the detainees, there are other urgent issues that need to be addressed like ceasing support to terrorist groups against the Government of Rwanda. According to a released statement by Rwanda on the release of Rwandan nationals by Uganda, the Government of Rwanda welcomed the release of thirteen Rwandan nationals and the deportation of two terrorist suspects involved in the October 2019 attack in Kinigi. The statement by Rwanda also recalls that they had already terminated the prosecution of seventeen Ugandan citizens and released three who have complained their sentences. However, calls on the Government of Uganda to conduct verification of operations and fundraising activities of RNC members in Uganda and withdraw of Charlotte Mukankusi’s number A000199979.