The Commander of Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has Saturday afternoon arrived in Kigali Rwanda where he is expected to hold talks with President Paul Kagame on the existing tensions between Uganda and Rwanda.
At the Kigali international Airport, Muhoozi has been received by among others Brig Gen Willy Rwagasana, the Commandant of Republican Guard, officials of the Uganda embassy in Rwanda and the Rwanda Defence Force Spokesperson Col Ronald Rwivanga.
The meeting is expected to take place at Urugwiro village, the office residence of the President of Rwanda.
Muhoozi who is also the first son will be accompanied by top government officials and diplomats including Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Adonia Ayebare who has consistently been pivotal in efforts to mend the relations of the two brotherly countries with strong political and historic ties.
Lt Gen Kainerugaba and the team will be expected back to Uganda tomorrow Sunday after their deliberations.
The relations between the countries became frost in February 2019 when Rwanda closed Katuna/Gatuna border.
At the time, Kigali said the closure was due to the renovations at the border. Cargo was then diverted to Mirama Hills and Kyanika border posts in Ntungamo and Kisoro districts, but those too were later closed.
Rwanda shortly after, issued a travel advisory to its nationals warning them against travelling to Uganda, which it accused of, among other things, abducting its citizens and detaining them in ungazetted areas, allegations government of Uganda disputed.
Since the closure of border, there has been at least four tripartite meetings involving Angolan President Joao Lourenço, and DR Congo President Félix Tshisekedi, and a series of lower level meetings between government officials of the two nations, but they have not yielded much.
Rwanda continues to block her citizens from moving to Uganda by road.
This week, Amb. Ayebare delivered President Yoweri Museveni’s special message to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame in Kigali. Details of the message are a top secret. It is however anticipated that key in the message was Uganda’s military operations in DR. Congo against ADF rebels given their threat to the region, as well as rooting for a lasting solution to misunderstandings that exist between the two countries.
Prior to Amb. Ayebare’s visit to Rwanda’s, Lt Gen Kainerugaba in what now emerges a tactical communication of resumption and positive progress of talks, described Kagame as his Uncle before asking whoever fights him to trade carefully.
“This is my uncle, Afande Paul Kagame. Those who fight him are fighting my family. They should all be careful,” wrote Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba on twitter where he posted two photos of President Kagame.
This is the first known time the senior military officer is engaging in
resolving the impasse that has lasted nearly 3 years. Previous engagements involved top government top diplomats and officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The meeting is going to be a one-on-one without mediating parties as it was the case for the tripartite engagements.
It is not clear how Muhoozi allover a sudden moves in to help in mending relations of the two countries. However, being one of the top army leaders in the Ugandan army and most importantly, the son to the President of Uganda, today’s meeting with President Kagame could sooner usher-in a new positive trajectory of the progress of the talks.
Uganda has consistently expressed readiness to peacefully engage with Rwanda on any arising issues for purposes of peace and restoring normalcy.
The slow progress in resolving the standoff between Uganda and Rwanda is hitting harder the nationals who would move and freely engage in cross-border trade. These, have always pledged with leaders to speed up the talks such that normalcy returns.