When the first meeting of the AdHoc Commission between Rwanda and Uganda to follow up on the implementation of the Luanda Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) convened in Rwanda’s capital Kigali on September 16 this year, it was agreed that the next meeting would take place in Kampala 30 days from that time.
However 30 days later, there is no sign that officials from the two countries will be meeting again as stipulated in the Kigali resolutions, with Rwanda stating that it was Kampala to send the invitation.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of East African Community (EAC) Amb. Olivier Nduhungire told KT Press that Kigali is yet to receive an invitation from Kampala for the follow-up meeting.
“It was Kampala to invite us. We haven’t received the invitation,” Minister Nduhungirehe said.
When the two countries met in Kigali, officials vowed to take necessary steps to implement the provisions of the MoU which was signed on August 21, 2019, in Luanda, Angola aimed at resolving tensions between the two countries.
Delegations from both sides were led by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs as well as other high ranking officials who formed the AdHoc Commission.
The Rwandan delegation was led by Amb. Nduhungirehe while the Ugandan side was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sam Kutesa.
By press time, there are no known dates when the two sides will meet again. Efforts to get a comment from the Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs Kutesa on Wednesday were futile as calls went unanswered but sources say the delay of the meeting of the AdHoc commission could have implications on the implementation of the Luanda Agreement.
The Minister of Local Government Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Johnston Busingye and the Secretary-General of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Maj. Gen Joseph Nzabamwita were also part of the Rwandan team.
No report on progress
Article 7 of the Kigali Communiqué indicated that both countries would meet in Kampala after 30 days to review the progress of the implementation of the Luanda MoU which set out the terms the two countries have to follow in the reconciliation process.
Among other things, both countries undertook to respect the sovereignty of each other and were expected to refrain from actions conducive to destabilisation or subversion in the territory of the other party and neighbouring countries, thereby eliminating all factors that may create such perception, as well as that of acts such as the financing, training and infiltration of destabilisation forces.
Following the meeting in Kigali, Rwanda also provided a list of Rwandans who are detained in Uganda with Kampala offering to verify each of the names on the list for the purpose of releasing those without cases to answer and taking those with possible charges through the judicial processes.
Previously, reports had indicated that Uganda would ensure that a considerable number of the people are released ahead of the Kampala meeting but by press time, there was no report to indicate that these commitments have been honoured.
Both Rwanda and Uganda had renewed their commitments towards addressing the issue of detained Rwandans in Uganda and also to finalise the extradition treaty to provide a framework for repatriation but this too is yet to be done.
Among other things, Rwanda and Uganda had agreed to cease all forms of hostile propaganda in both mainstream and social media. There is no report too to indicate that this has stopped.
Officials say all these will be revisited when Uganda eventually invites Rwanda over. Minister Nduhungirehe has in recent weeks taken to Twitter to dispel reports in Ugandan news outlets, include one which sensationally claimed that Rwanda was poised to attack Western Uganda, while the other claimed that President Paul Kagame had met Ugandan opposition leader Kiiza Besigye in New York.
In one tweet, in a veiled reflection on the Luanda MoU, Nduhungirehe said that Former Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana famously said “The #Arusha agreement is just a piece of paper” in reference to what Ugandan newspaper New Vision published despite the Luanda MoU.
“Following the fake news about a meeting in NewYork between President Kagame & Kizza Besigye, here is another piece of propaganda against Rwanda, by a State-owned newspaper in Uganda,” he posted, sharing an article by New Vision advancing a narrative on the death of Maj. Gen Fred Rwigyema.
Regarding the free movement of people and goods, both countries agreed in Kigali that issues affecting the free movement of persons, goods and services across the common border as well as other outstanding issues will be discussed in the next meeting in Kampala in 30 days’ time.
Rwanda is yet to lift the advisory urging Rwandans from travelling to Uganda for their own safety. The Luanda MoU is expected to pave the way for the normalisation of relations.