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Women Traders Fault EAC Member States Over Rwanda-Uganda Border Standoff

Women traders have accused East African Community (EAC) members of not doing enough to resolve to resolve the diplomatic standoff between Uganda and Rwanda.

Under their umbrella bodies, Eastern African Sub Regional Support Initiative for Advancement of women (EASSI) and Strengthen Africa in World Trade (SEATINI)-Uganda, the female traders say EAC member states have become passive observers as the border closure hurts their businesses.

“It is extremely absurd that the EAC which is now celebrating 20 years of its existence has remained silent and humiliation of the East African peoples living and depending on trade at the borders of the two countries,” Ms Sheila Kawamara-Mishambi, the Executive Director of EASSI said during a summit in Kampala on Thursday, February 27, 2020.

“We strongly abhor the attitude, silence and none involvement in negotiations of the East African Community (EAC) heads of states who constitute the summit, an apex body of the community. The summit should address the impasse between Uganda and Rwanda which has grossly affected the attainment of the aspirations of the EAC common market,” she added.

Several women traders lamented over the losses incurred which has impacted on their failure to sustain families.

“We lost all the perishable goods and money which were demanding from our counterparts in Rwanda. As the small business community, we want to be considered to have the border opened immediately such that we operate normally,” said Ms Miriam Akankwatsa, a trader at Katuna border.

Ms Kawamara said in June last year, the women traders petitioned the East African Court of Justice against the two governments over the border closure and the case is set for hearing in March this year.

In the case, about 600 women traders recorded statements to demand the regional court to pronounce itself on the continued impunity and arbitrary border closure.

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The demands come hardly a week after the two governments of Uganda and Rwanda signed an agreement in which they agreed to open the border after 45 days upon implementation of the resolution.

 

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