Uganda’s Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba has welcomed the decision by the Government of Rwanda to reopen land borders on March 7, saying that it will allow greater movement of people in the region.
A cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Friday, March 4, approved the reopening of land borders on March 7, but said that people might be subjected to random Covid-19 testing before entry. The decision which means that even borders between Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi will reopen, has been welcomed by many on social media.
Rwanda closed all land border on March 14, 2020 following the Covid-19 outbreak and now they will reopen after two years, to allow cross-border movement.
Gen. Muhoozi, who serves as Senior Presidential Advisor in Charge of Special Operations and the Commander of Uganda’s Land Forces, thanked President Kagame for the decision to reopen borders.
“As of Monday 7th March my uncle His Excellency President Kagame has permitted greater movement of people across our borders! I thank him very much for re-uniting our people. I also thank him for being a great hero!” Gen. Muhoozi tweeted.
As of Monday 7th March my uncle His Excellency President Kagame has permitted greater movement of people across our borders! I thank him very much for re-uniting our people. I also thank him for being a great hero! pic.twitter.com/y2IRQzB02z
— Muhoozi Kainerugaba (@mkainerugaba) March 5, 2022
Gen. Muhoozi has since the beginning of the year been leading efforts to restore bilateral ties between Rwanda and Uganda, meeting President Kagame in Kigali for talks on January 22. The visit led to the agreement to reopen Gatuna One Stop Border Post on January 30.
However, excitement was short-lived as it was discovered that the border would, like other land borders, be subject to Covid-19 restrictions. The new cabinet decision means that Gatuna will now fully reopen to the public.
President Kagame last month said that while the reopening of the border was something to look forward to, Uganda must work on the issues that led to its closure in the first place, including ensuring that Rwandan nationals who travel to or work in Uganda, are not persecuted, illegally detained or tortured over baseless allegations of espionage.
The issue of subversive groups fighting the Rwandan government operating in Uganda remains a concerning one. On February 19, Gen. Muhoozi vowed to end the activities of terror outfit Rwanda National Congress (RNC) in his country, saying that it nearly led Rwanda and Uganda to a ‘stupid war’.
At the same time, cabinet on Friday okayed the appointment of Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Robert Rusoke as the High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda to Republic of Rwanda with residence in Kigali. His clearance comes after nearly three months since his December 2021 designation. He officially replaces Oliver Wonekha, who was posted to Beijing, China.