Maj Gen (Rtd) Kahinda Otafiire, Uganda’s Justice Minister and Chairman of the Global Pan African Movement (PAM) has used the body to take a swipe at Rwanda.
In a statement to mark Africa Liberation Day, on May 25, Otafiire accuses Rwanda of closing its borders to “her neighbours” and labeled the act a “backwardness move”.
Otafiire issued the highly critical statement at the PAM headquarters in the Ugandan capital Kampala, at the same time as a major PAM conference is taking place in Rwanda’s capital Kigali.
Delegates from across Africa and beyond are attending the conference in Kigali to celebrate the 56th Anniversary of the continent’s liberation and the movement’s role in it.
Speaker of Rwanda’s Lower Chamber of Parliament Donatile Mukabalisa is the guest of honor at the ongoing conference.
In the statement, Gen Otafiire, who is not attending the Kigali conference, writes: “We condemn the irresolvable close of borders by Rwanda to her neighbors, and also anywhere in Africa where this backwardness move takes place especially in this 21st century in the name of sovereignty.”
The statement continues: “This affects our economies and keeps Africans in poverty. Sovereignty in poverty is poverty of sovereignty.”
Rwanda has not closed its border officially. Government only closed the Gatuna border temporarily to heavy traffic to allow for planned completion of the One Stop Border Post linking the two countries.
The Rwanda government however also issued a travel advisory to its citizens against travelling to Uganda saying it cannot guarantee their safety.
Kigali accuses Uganda of what it has described as “three outstanding issues”.
These have been publicly outlined by President Kagame as: support to individuals and groups including RNC of Kayumba Nyamwasa and “P5″─ groups focused on fighting the Rwandan government; arresting, torturing and deporting Rwandans as well as economic sabotage.
Another border with problems is the Rwanda-Burundi border. In August 2016, Bujumbura imposed a unilateral “export ban” on Rwanda not allowing anything to cross to Rwanda.
Rwandans are not bared from entering Burundi, but no one has gone there since the crisis erupted, in which Bujumbura accuses Rwanda of supporting the May 13 2015 failed coup.
Rwanda government now accuses both Uganda and Burundi of backing Rwandan dissidents, and providing recruits – with safe passage to DR Congo training camps.
So far, armed assailants have killed people in regions bordering Burundi and fled to Burundi.
On May 23, Callixte Nsabimana aka Major Sankara who is the ex-spokesperson of the National Liberation Front (NFL) that claimed responsibility for these attacks confirmed before court that Burundian intelligence officials and Uganda through Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (DMI) supports them.
The statement from the Global Pan African Movement also came as President Paul Kagame arrived in South Africa for the inauguration of President Cyril Ramaphosa today.
Meanwhile, the Uganda Police has also released a statement today alleging that Rwandan soldiers crossed into Uganda and shot dead two people, all males: a Rwandan and Ugandan.
The Rwandan is Nyengye Peter, according to Uganda Police statement, killed 8pm last night as he attempted to cross with goods on motorcycle.