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Kagame’s Rwanda accuses Burundi of telling Museveni lies on blocked Ugandan goods

Presidents Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, Evariste Ndayishimiye and Paul Kagame. Kagame's Rwanda accuses Burundi of telling Museveni lies on blocked Ugandan goods

President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan state has dismissed claims by Burundi president Evariste Ndayishimiye that Kigali blocked Ugandan goods heading to Bujumbura, forcing them to travel through Tanzania.

A May 14 statement Ndayishimiye made after a three-day state visit to Uganda particularly infuriated Kigali.

Speaking to reporters at the airport in Bujumbura after returning from Kampala, Ndayishimiye announced that Uganda and Burundi would avoid Rwanda, and use the route through Tanzania.

Ndayishimiye said the justification for the new route was a decision by Rwanda to frustrate trade between Kampala and Bujumbura by blocking Rwanda-Burundi border transit.

Yet Kigali says it is Bujumbura which first blocked Rwandan goods and passengers through its border sometime at the end of March 2020.

This paralysed transport in the East African Community’s (EAC) northern corridor, cutting off vital trade links for Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi.

Several cargo trucks and people were stuck at the Rwanda-Burundi border points of Ankanyaru-Haut, Ruhwa and Nemba, due to Bujumbura’s decision that flouted the regional body’s decision to allow cargo trucks travel across borders despite Covid19 fears.

With Burundi-bound cargo trucks stuck at the Rwanda-Burundi border, Rwanda logically advised Uganda and Kenya of the development asking them to seek alternative routes. 

Rwanda Revenue Authority deputy commissioner for customs William Musomi told state newspaper The New Times that it was Kigali wouldn’t block the border points with Burundi to frustrate trade among four northern corridor neighbors.

“It would actually be against international conventions. It is Burundi that blocked goods from entering its territory,” Musomi was quoted as telling the newspaper.

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