In a shocking though not surprising move, President Museveni on Thursday avoided mentioning the border dispute between Uganda and her neighbour Rwanda during the state of the Nation address.
Since the closure of the Gatuna border by Rwanda in February, the relations between the two sister countries have soured.
Before the state of the nation address at Serena Conference centre, many had expected Museveni to pronounce himself on the matter.
Yet he avoided delving into the Uganda, Rwanda border row while delivering his political accountability duty on Thursday.
Many people have argued that the standoff between the two East African countries is not healthy for regional integration.
Speaking during the state of the nation address, Museveni however noted that the process of integration is moving on well with all East African countries agreeing to the concept of confederation as first step towards the federation.
“A constitutional drafting committee, comprised of delegates from all the member states, is now working,” he said.
The president said he was given the task of championing the cause of the East African federation, adding that he is working towards the same.
He insisted that the political – economic integration of Africa is about prosperity through trade in the common market; strategic security through political integration and exploiting of the fraternity (linguistically, culturally) and the linkages among the four nations of Africa: the Niger-Congo, the Nilo-Saharan, the Agro – Asiatic and the Khoisan.
The rift between the two countries has greatly affected free trade between Uganda and Rwanda.
When contacted for a comment on the matter, the Prime Minister Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda said the president only talked about issues he considered pertinent.
“The president addressed only issues he considered critical to be mentioned,”Rugunda said.
The standoff became more pronounced on February 28, when Rwanda abruptly closed its Gatuna border saying there were ongoing upgrade works on the road.
The story would later change when Rwanda closed its borders not allowing their citizens from crossing to Uganda but also stopping Ugandan goods from proceeding to Kigali.
The recent manifestation of the cold relations was a May 24 gruesome incident at Hamisavu trading centre, Kisekye parish, Kamwezi sub -county in Rukiga district inside the Ugandan territory when a Ugandan and Rwandan national were shot dead by the Rwandan army.
Rwanda has since accused Uganda of arresting and detaining a number of their citizens while in Kampala and also supporting dissidents fighting the Kigali establishment.
However, the Ugandan government despite largely being tight-lipped on the issues has denied the allegations, saying they can never be traitors to support rebels against their neighbour.
The Kampala establishment has also said all the Rwandan citizens arrested and detained in Uganda are facing charges and are in lawful custody after committing several crimes.