There are mixed reactions to an announcement, by the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, that the Katuna (Gatuna) border point will reopen after three years of disagreements between Kigali and Kampala.
Hours ago, The Pearl Times broke the news of the decision by President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan government to reopen the Katuna (Gatuna) border point next week. (Read story here).
(You can also check out photos on the new look of Katuna (Gatuna) border point following its renovation here).
Ugandans have been reacting to the news of the announcement, with special focus on the role played by first son, also commander of UPDF land forces and President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s senior advisor on special operations Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, in the decision for the reopening.
Barely a week ago, Lt Gen Kainerugaba flew to Kigali, Rwanda, to discuss the issue of the border reopening and the broader Uganda-Rwanda relations.
This meeting has yielded fruit, with Kigali making it clear that it was the basis of the decision for the reopening.
In reaction to the news, pro-Muhoozi activists have been praising the first son.
“This is a step in the right direction towards normalizing Uganda-Rwanda relations. Thank you President Museveni and President Paul Kagame for the goodwill,” said government chief whip and Ruhinda North MP Thomas Tayebwa.
“I knew the barriers would be broken the moment I saw Lt Muhoozi Kainerugaba step his foot in Kigali. As citizens, we must support these efforts.”
Agriculture minister Frank Tumwebaze thanked Muhoozi Kainerugaba for his “strategic intervention and effort.”
Veteran journalist and Rwanda-Uganda relations strategist Andrew Mwenda praised Kagame and Kainerugaba for their “efforts to bring sanity to this relationship.”
But as expected, some Ugandans have been reading too much into the fact that the announcement to reopen the border point was made days after Lt Gen Kainerugaba’s visit.
It should also be remembered that after the meeting between Museveni’s son and President Kagame, CMI boss Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, one of the Ugandan officers most hated by Rwanda, was fired. (Read story here).
Anti-Muhoozi commentators say the reopening of the border point just a week after Kainerugaba’s visit is meant to give the first son clout in regional diplomacy, as well as further position him as a presidential material capable of succeeding his father.
The one million dollar question remains: how did Lt Kainerugaba solve a crisis that had persisted for three years in just one day?