By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame closed the common border with Uganda on February 27, 2019. Uganda chose to ignore Kagame’s actions. But today, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni made a public statement. He described Kagame’s border closure as a mere ”hiccup” that cannot slow down East Africa and the continent. The New Vision quotes Museveni as follows:
”Even if the border is closed, trade will go on, only that it will be through smuggling. You can’t stop trade through border administration. People resort to smuggling. Others have resorted to export a lot of things to South Sudan, DR Congo, Kenya, and Tanzania.”
Museveni’s statement is supported by Uganda’s export data. Uganda’s receipts from exports to Rwanda saw a sharp drop of 81% in March 2019 due to Kagame border closure. Meaning that Uganda export earnings from Rwandan trade dropped to Shs9.8b (US$2.6 million) in March down from Shs54b (US$14 million) in February 2019. But Uganda’s export revenue from Middle East rose sharply to Shs990b (US$262 million) in March, up from Shs290b (US$77 million) in February 2019.
General Kagame, open the border. You achieved nothing beyond punishing your own people currently locked up in the open prison called Rwanda.