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Kenyatta Meets Kagame Amid Rwanda-Uganda Border Row

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta is in Rwanda where he has met with his counterpart, Paul Kagame.

The Rwandan presidency announced on Monday that Kenyatta stopped by the National Leadership Retreat at the Combat Training Centre in Gabiro “to greet the participants.”

It further said the two principals held a “a tête a tête meeting on the sidelines” of the function.

The trip doesn’t appear a state visit but a courtesy call on President Kagame.

The Kenyan presidency usually alerts local media about Kenyatta’s foreign trips. But today’s visit seems to have occurred on short notice.

The trip comes against the backdrop of heightened tension between Uganda and Rwanda, which regional observers and diplomats fear could go to war.

Kigali recently closed its common border with Uganda known as Gatuna before blasting Kampala for allegedly harassing its citizens and supporting a rebel movement in the region.

Kagame said the closure of the border had nothing to do with the sour relations between Rwanda and Uganda.

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However, Ugandans goods and trucks are being blocked from accessing Rwanda via Cyanika border post.

Uganda has since denied helping Rwandan dissident Kayumba Nyamwasa’s movement known as Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and mistreating Rwandans, saying law-abiding Rwandans should not fear traveling to Uganda.

Kagame recently visited South Africa where he met with President Cyril Ramaphosa and later held talks with Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli.

 

The regional flights were seen as an attempt to make a case for Rwanda which is struggling to restore ties with Uganda and Burundi.

Kenyatta’s trip to Rwanda could be part of the regional leaders’ initiative to reconcile him with Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni to avoid a possible military confrontation between the two former comrades.

Kenyatta will possibly receive a firsthand briefing on Rwanda’s concerns about Uganda’s alleged actions from President Kagame.

The Kenyan leader also is expected to seek deeper clarity into how Kagame’s administration is dealing with the situation which threatens to plunge the East African Community (EAC) into a security crisis.

Common good

Addressing the National Retreat at Gabiro, Kenyatta said Rwanda needs to work together for common prosperity.

“Rwanda alone will not make it. Kenya alone will not make it. But together we have a huge and tremendous potential of growing prosperity for our people and our countries,” said Kenyatta.

He added: “We have challenges but I am convinced that with goodwill and good intentions, which is what we have for our people, we will resolve even those challenges that are ahead of us.”

On Kenya-Rwanda ties, Kenyatta responded: “The relationship between our two countries is probably one of the best relations that we have as Kenya.”

The appearance of Kenyatta at the National Retreat was seen as a huge boost for President Kagame’s government which has unresolved issues with neighbours, DRC, Rwanda and Burundi.

Kenyatta said he was “really proud of the manner in which Rwanda has turned around from a country that was on its knees to one of the brightest stars on the African continent.”

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