President Kagame has said that restoration of good relations with Uganda will depend on the leadership in Ugandan acting on the issues raised particularly “innocent people” being allegedly jailed in Uganda and authorities in Kampala supporting anti-Rwanda elements.
Kigali accuses Uganda of supporting Rwandan rebels, arrest and harassment of Rwandan nationals and economic sabotage.
As a result, Rwanda has since February imposed a trade embargo on Uganda and stopped her citizens from crossing over.
On its part, Kampala accuses Kigali of slapping a trade embargo on Uganda; aggressive espionage; closing the Gatuna border; uprooting prominent Ugandans from the Rwandan economy and orchestrating a hate campaign against Uganda and its officials.
Kagame made the remarks on Tuesday while speaking in interview with the country’s National Broadcaster (RBA)were he tackled a number of key issues including the country’s economy and several partnerships with the state of Qatar.
“Rwanda has been categorically clear on the issues it has with Uganda for example the jailing of people who have nothing to do with this allegation of spying. Spying for what? Some of these people are children, illiterate old people who have no idea of what spying is about,” he said.
“These are people who are in Uganda to look for economic opportunities for survival,” Kagame continued.
Uganda has since denied supporting Rwandan dissidents but vowed to crack down on elements hell-bent on destabilizing Uganda.
Some Rwandans were charged in courts of law with illegal repatriation of Rwandan refugees.
Nevertheless, Kagame noted that there has been some kind of progress right from the time the two heads of state met in Angola though there are issues based on individual interests of states still standing in the way for the whole conflict to end.
He added that there is need for goodwill to tackle and emphasized that he has no doubt that both countries are looking for peace and tranquillity but for that to happen, several issues will have to get out of the way and this entails both countries discussing existing issues frankly and acting upon them.
“What matters is discussing the issues and addressing them, it doesn’t matter how many meetings or special envoys but rather having goodwill to tackle these issues, particularly innocent people who are illegally jailed in Uganda.”
On Ugandans working and living Rwanda, Kagame said Rwanda’s position is not harass them and will not support elements bent on destabilization of Kampala establishment.
He noted that these elements being supported by Uganda can do nothing and would not achieve anything.
He used the analogy of people living in grass thatched house throwing fire around to refer to what he termed as Uganda’s acts of destabilizing Rwanda.