Rwanda border remains closed, residents upbeat

Aug 22, 2019

Nelson Nshangabasheija, the Katuna town council mayor says the agreement signing was a ray of hope to them, but they look forward to the real opening of the border.


The Katuna border post on Thursday remained closed as residents waited for the official opening after the presidents of Uganda and Rwanda signed an agreement, whose provisions included free movement of goods and people across the border.

President Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni signed an agreement in the Angolan capital Luanda, which was witnessed by the presidents of Angola Joao Lourenco, Democratic Republic of Congo's president Felix Tshisekedi and Congo's Denis Sassou Nguesso.

The border post has been closed since February 27, when Rwanda put a stop on the movement of goods from Uganda to Rwanda and restricted movement of people.

The Wednesday agreement among others called for the resumption as soon as possible of cross-border activities between both countries, including the movement of persons and goods, for the development and improvement of the lives of there populations.

However, at the Katuna border business remained dull making residents wonder when the agreement will be effected.

Nelson Nshangabasheija, the Katuna Town Council mayor revealed that the agreement signing was a ray of hope to them, but they look forward to the real opening of the border.

"We were pleased to see this step being taken by our leaders. This is all we were praying for. We need to see the border open and travellers from Rwanda accessing Uganda freely like it was before. Also, our consignment should be allowed in Rwanda for us to feel the impact of this agreement," said Nshangabasheija.

He said that alot had been lost during the time when the border was closed and thus having it open fully would be the ultimate hope of all residents.

Syson Muhangi, a boda-boda rider in Katuna revealed that business hit the lowest mark for them during the border closure and that they have suffered enough and so all they needed now was a better assurance.

 President Yoweri Museveni shakes Kagame's hand in Luanda, Angola

"We are grateful to God for the agreement, but so far, we have not seen any signs of the border opening. All we see are buses crossing to and from Rwanda, but we will be happier when trailers start crossing. We also used to earn a lot from the Rwandan passengers who would require our services whenever they were here," he said.

Bazilio Lule, a driver with Jaguar buses said that by the time they left Rwanda in the morning, they had not yet received instructions to have Rwandan passengers on board.

 The presidents gesture after signing the agreement

"When we heard of the agreement signing, we expected to have Rwandan passengers on board today, but we were shocked to find none available. We have suffered alot since February because we used to have six buses daily from Rwanda, but currently only one bus moves even halfway," said Lule.

Related stories

Rwanda closes border with Uganda

Museveni, Kagame meet in Angola

Why Uganda invited diplomats for handover of Rwandan's body

Museveni, Kagame sign pact on security, regional cooperation


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});