Kagame to visit Uganda tomorrow, here is why

Canary Mugume

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is expected in Uganda tomorrow, March 25, 2018 for a one day working visit, indicating a thawing in the relationship between Kampala and Kigali.

Rwanda’s ambassador to Uganda, Maj Frank Mugambagye confirmed the visit in a brief telephone interview with The Nile Post. He declined to give further details.

He is expected to hold closed door talks with President Museveni.

Kagame’s visit will be a follow up on the bilateral meeting that was held on the sidelines of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in February by the two leaders.

We understand that Kagame will arrive in the morning and leave before sunset.

Last week, President Museveni cancelled his visit to Rwanda where he was due to attended an extraordinary African Union summit meeting.

Early this month, Kagame skipped the East African Community summit meeting in Kampala.

Those two incidents set tongues wagging with some analysts saying the diplomatic relationship between the two countries soured.

Kagame’s visit therefore could lead to a re-set in the relationship.

 

The Addis meeting

While in Addis Ababa, meeting at Sheraton Hotel Uganda’s President Museveni held a second one-on-one conversation with Kagame which lasted two hours.

While at it, President Museveni raised issues that he believed had brought about the tensions between the two countries.

Some of the issues that are believed to have caused uneasiness between the two countries are:

EXTRADITION TREATY

In 2009, Rwanda and Uganda negotiated an extradition treaty which would make it difficult for each other’s dissidents to live on either side of the border. The treaty allows a frame work to handover the genocide perpetrators who are escaped to Uganda for refuge.

The refugees included those who ran away from the country during the 1994 genocide, those who left Tanzania and came to Uganda three years ago, and an estimated 1,200 who ran away in 2005. Overall, there are an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Rwandans living in Uganda as refugees. A large, unknown number has integrated with the local communities.

This treaty was signed by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kuteesa and Charles Murigande, Rwanda’s former Foreign Affairs minister. The parliament of Rwanda ratified the treaty while that of Uganda did not.

 

COALITION OF THE WILLING.

After Tanzania refused, Uganda has been involved with Rwanda and Kenya among other issues, that of the northern project, a project established by George Bush. The agreement was that Kenya buys electricity from the renaissance dam of Egypt, goes through Kenya.

But because it turned out to be cheap, Rwanda picked interest. Kenya built a line up to the Ugandan boarder, Uganda built the transmission line from the boarder to Kawanda then to Masaka and diverted it to Kampala instead of extending it to the southern boarder so Rwanda can have access. Uganda claimed the line was blocked by a resident who was asking for exorbitant fees. Up to now, this has never been implemented.

SGR

Uganda was to build a railway from Kenya to Katuna and Rwanda would pick it from there. Uganda designed their line to go to the North. Uganda had earlier claimed it would manage to build both lines. So it was given an IMF certification, Policy Support Instrument (PSI) that supports its debt sustainability.  Having being given the money, Uganda has now prioritised the line to go to Kampala to Pakwach. This however appeared as if Uganda was advancing her interests alone yet it has been in negotiations several times with the counterparts.

FIFTH FREEDOM LANDING RIGHTS.

Kagame’s visit comes under the auspices of the Yamoussoukro Declaration and the EAC. The Yamoussoukro Declaration by African countries in 1988, had a primary purpose of creating a conducive environment for the development of intra- African and international air services, leading to liberalisation of air markets in Africa.

RwandAir acquired the fifth freedom landing rights that allow them to land at Entebbe, pick passengers and take them to London. Direct. Uganda refused to honor this agreement. Forgetting there is an international treaty that allows Qatar Airways, KLM and Turkish Airlines.

There is an East African Agreement providing for the same. There is also a bilateral agreement allowing RwandAir to operate that but Uganda has denied them chance to.

 

 

 

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