Uganda has officially dismissed the accusations made by neighboring Rwanda in the wake of diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa issued the first official statement on Tuesday, a week after Rwanda closed the common border with Uganda at Katuna, consequently blocking over 100 trucks transporting goods from Uganda.
Rwandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Richard Sezibera and the State Minister for East African Affairs, Olivier Nduhungehe have for the last one week accused Uganda of among others harboring what they call elements plotting to overthrow their government in Kigali.
Kutesa unequivocally stated that the unsubstantiated allegation by the senior leaders in Kigali is false.
“It is false that Uganda hosts any elements fighting Rwanda,” said Kutesa.
Kutesa revealed that Uganda and Rwanda have always, at the highest level, made confidential engagements and that Kigali is fully aware that Kampala cannot allow subversive elements targeting a neighbor to operate from her territory.
“Rwanda knows this very well as it has been a matter of confidential communication at the highest level of the two countries. Uganda does not and cannot allow anyone to operate from its territory that threatens a neighbor as alleged,” said Kutesa.
Kutesa stressed that Uganda is focused on development and transformation and peace in the region is imperative.
“We are aware that our own development and transformation cannot take place without peace in the region. It is for this reason that Uganda has championed closer collaboration and coordination within regional frameworks like EAC, ICGLR, IGAD and even at the continental level,” added Kutesa.
Uganda also stated that no single Rwandan is being arrested or tortured in the country and that borders are open to people from all countries.
“It is well known that Uganda welcomes and maintains an open door policy for citizens of all nationalities including Rwandans wishing to visit the country.”
Uganda, which is the third largest refugee hosting nation in the world after Turkey and Pakistan, reminded Rwanda that the status did not come by a mistake.
“It is not by mistake that Uganda continues to be largest refugee host nation in the continent.”
Kutesa however, stressed that Uganda expects all people coming into the country to be law abiding, adding that “those who act contrary to the law are dealt with in accordance with the law.”
“Therefore anyone, including Rwandans visiting Uganda have nothing to fear if they are law abiding.”
Highlighting the fact that Uganda has in the past suffered terrorist attacks and high profile assassinations, Minister Kutesa noted that the government “will remain committed to protecting the security of its citizens and its borders and will act according against local and foreign threats.”