Opinion: Rwanda-Uganda relations; as we wait for the upcoming Kampala summit, what is the best suitable way forward to normalize relations?

As mandated by the Luanda Summit of the 21 August 2019, the second meeting of the Ad hoc Commission for the Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Uganda is scheduled to take place in Kampala –Uganda   probably on 16 October 2019. The meeting follows the one that took place in Kigali on 16 September 2019, attended by delegations of the Republic of Rwanda, Republic of Uganda, Republic of Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a press release and remarks made by different dignitaries that were present during the meeting,  They all reiterated commitment to the implementation of Luanda Memorandum of Understanding and at the same time congratulated Rwanda and Uganda for the step taken in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding and committed themselves to continue supporting the initiative.

Analyzing a series of events and political trends following the Kigali meeting, one would suggest that they should be robust mechanism to effectively implement what has been agreed upon and to emphasize on political will between the two countries. Citizens of both countries are keeping fingers crossed in hope that something tangible comes out and this is mainly due to the fact that Rwanda and Uganda share historical ties and citizens of both countries are interlinked by several factors. However, one would suggest that the historical ties should normally be built to a strong strategic alliance given the long standing bonds linking the two peoples and countries.

Political observers indicate that there are still outstanding Rwanda’s concerns that continue to hamper the hitherto cordial relationship and that on the other hand Uganda is accusing Rwanda of striking a trade embargo irrespective of trade protocols.

Others indicate that the current stand-off between the two countries is a culmination of unresolved issues that include; Uganda’s active support to Rwanda’s enemies; harassment and persecution of Rwandans; and issues related to economic sabotage.

For any long term  agreement between the two countries  to last , Uganda should  deny and distance itself from supporting  anti-Rwanda subversive groups from operating on/through Ugandan territory and  to consider dismantling all networks, extradite to Rwanda members of the terror groups  , release and hand-over of all hitherto detained Rwandans.

 For any long term sustainable mechanisms, both countries should consider establishing favorable conditions for unfettered movement of persons, goods and services and revive confidence building.

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