March 1, 2019

What Political Parties in Rwanda Say on Kigali-Kampala Tensions

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It is day two of a developing misunderstanding between the governments of Rwanda and Uganda over Kigali’s decision to “temporarily” close the Gatuna border to allow works to continue on a regional border post. What exactly happened is not being reported the same way in either capitals.

The Chronicles sought comments from political parties. We engaged five Members of Parliament, but only two were willing to say anything.

Christine Mukabunani, head of PS Imberakuri and MP

MP Christine Mukabunani, chairperson of PS Imberakuri party, which entered in parliament for the first time following the September 2018 polls, said she was not aware that Rwandans are not allowed to go to Uganda.

“Am not aware of a decision not allowing Rwandans to cross any border of Rwanda to Uganda. I thought it was only Gatuna border that was affected. For us as an opposition party we are going to issue an official statement not later than tomorrow (Saturday),” said Mukabunani.

According to her, it is a good strategic decision to close any of Rwanda’s borders than have a country that is insecure.

Dr Frank Habineza, head of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, said they were sill gathering information and will make an official statement next week.

“It has been a challenging moment for the country since Rwandans have been arrested and harassed in Uganda since 2017, including the recent deportation of a Rwandan MTN official…as the Green Party of Rwanda we are trying to analyze the situation and we will come out with a proper statement by Monday next week,” said Habineza.

Dr Frank Habineza, Green Party chief and MP

Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon when we visited Nyabugogo, the main bus park in Kigali, business was normal. Offices of regional bus companies were issuing tickets. The agents’ offices were full with travelers as is the case every day.

However, today, when we returned, the situation had changed. Desk agents in ticket offices told us that they had been ordered not to issue any more tickets to Rwandans.

“Someone came here and talked to the manager for a short period of time. Moments later the manager ordered us not to issue any ticket to anyone with Rwandan ID,” said a desk agent at Jaguar Bus company.

The Chronicles was told the same from the Trinity Bus office.

“When a Rwandan comes seeking a ticket, we advise them not pick it. But if they insist, we give you the ticket and you wont have to return to claim the money back after failing to cross the border,” added a Trinity Bus agent.

He said more than half of the passengers who traveled yesterday Thursday did not continue to Uganda.

A Rwandan student at Nkumba University in Uganda was today among many not allowed at the Rwandan side of the border to cross to Uganda.

“I came home for a short visit as well as get money for completing my final year of Law faculty. Now I cannot go back to school despite showing them my university identity card. I have been crossing the border for the past three years without a single problem,” said the student, who is back in Kigali.

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