Presidents Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni of Uganda and Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi are working on a road construction project to bypass Rwanda after President Paul Kagame keeps the Katuna border point closed.
Rwanda has also accused Ndayishimiye of telling Museveni lies about the blocking of goods from Kampala at the Burundi-Rwanda border.
Now, it has emerged that Museveni and Ndayishimiye have kicked off a plan that could isolate Kigali.
When Ndayishimiye came to attend Museveni’s inauguration on May 12, he used the visit to discuss a road project that will connect Burundi and Uganda while bypassing Rwanda.
The road will run from Kitagate in Isingiro to Karagwe and Kyotera-Mutukula to Karagwe, before heading to Ngara in north-western Tanzania, and finally connecting to Burundi via the Kobero Border Point.
Dependiy on whether one uses the Kikagate or Kyotera route, the road will be somewhere between 360km (via Kikagate) and 275km (via Myotera).
The road will be shorter compared to using the Katuna border point.
Whereas it takes seven and a half hours to drive from Katuna to Bujumbura, about 350km, the new road will take between an hour and two hours less.
But the hurdle could be the distance and time, about four hours, from Kobero to Bujumbura.
After discussions with Ndayishimiye last week, Museveni spoke of alternative routes to Burundi.
“We talked about the road form Kikagate-Morongo-Isingiro inside Tanzania-Keisho –to Kayanga. That road is an old murram road if it is upgraded and murramed properly people can use it from the Mbarara side,” said Museveni.
“The road from Mutukula-Kyaka-Kayanga-Ngara is there because Tanzanians have tarmacked from Mutukula-Kyaka to Kayanga, so we can travel directly to Burundi. On our side, I want you to look at from Morongo to Kayanga. We can also incorporate some security fields.”
By courting Burundi and DR Congo, strengthening bilateral relations and working on transport projects – Uganda Airlines flights to Bujumbura, road projects in DR Congo and connecting to Bujumbura – Museveni and his partners, Ndayishimiye and Felix Tshisekedi, could isolate Kigali in coming years.