By Jean Damascene Hakuzimana
From the Katuna/Gatuna Border of Rwanda and Uganda –
Media outlets have been reporting live from the fourth Quadripartite Heads of State Summit taking place between President Kagame of Rwanda and President Museveni of Uganda. The two presidents are aiming to patch their relationship, which soured a year ago, and led to the closure of the border between the two once-friendly countries.
President João Lourenço of Angola and President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo are mediating the process. Normalized relationships and open borders for the movement of goods and people are the goals.
According to a communique, the Summit recommends that Uganda should verify allegations by Rwanda about actions from Ugandan territory by forces hostile to them within one month. “Once this recommendation is fulfilled and reported to the Heads of States, the facilitators will convene a summit within 15 days in Gatuna/Katuna for the solemn re-opening of the borders and the subsequent normalization of the relations between the two countries,” the statement concluded. The two countries also signed an extradition treaty.
Rwanda accuses Uganda of harboring factions of dissidents aiming at destabilizing Rwanda and toppling the government. Uganda has vehemently denied these allegations despite Rwanda claiming to have strong and undeniable evidence.
Rwanda and Uganda have a shared political, ethnic, and security history that has alternately been friendly and hostile over the past decades. Kagame fought in a guerrilla war that brought Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to power in 1986. Four years later, Uganda backed Kagame’s rebel group that helped end the Rwandan genocide and took power in Kigali.