A meeting between Presidents Paul Kagame and Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is expected to ease tension between Rwanda and Uganda.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the 30th African Union (AU) Heads State Summit in Addis Ababa last week and discussed deteriorating relations over acts of aggression on either side, sources said.
Rwanda accuses Uganda of illegally detaining its citizens and helping groups fighting its government while Kampala accuses some Rwandans of espionage.
The two leaders posted photos of the meeting on their Twitter handles.
On his Twitter account, President Museveni wrote: “Before leaving Ethiopia to return home this afternoon, I held a bilateral meeting with @PaulKagame, the new AU Chairperson, at the Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa. We discussed regional security and other issues of continental importance.”
On the day the two leaders met, Kigali accused Ugandan authorities of detaining, torturing and deporting Rwandan businessman Emmanuel Cyamayire.
He became the seventh Rwandan to be detained and later deported by Ugandan authorities on suspicion of espionage.
Kigali has formally written a complaint to Kampala over the arrests.
While statements by officials on both sides have become less frequent, supposedly independent media groups have been less restrained.
“The continued accusations and counteraccusations are signs that the two governments have disagreements and their leaders haven’t responded to them appropriately,” said Dr Christopher Kayumba, a lecturer and political commentator.
President Yoweri Museveni’s remarks during the opening of the regional assembly in Kampala two weeks ago were picked up by sections of Rwanda media, which interpreted them as an attempt to hijack the sacrifice of the Rwanda Patriotic Front-RPF Inkotanyi rebels who ended the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
He noted that if East African countries were unified, Uganda would have avoided Idi Amin Dada’s reign of terror while the genocide in Rwanda would not have happened because individual sovereignty of countries prevented neighbours from intervening even when people were being killed.
“In the end, the genocide in Rwanda was stopped by RPF. I was supporting them chini chini (secretly) because I couldn’t come out to support them. If I do, I am the bad one. I am interfering in the affairs of somebody who is killing people,” he said.
Senior commanders of RPF-Inkotanyi were part of President Museveni’s National Resistance Army/Movement, which brought him to power in 1986 after a long struggle.
The remarks, however, have not gone down well with senior officials of the RPF who indirectly accused President Museveni of trying to hijack the Rwandan liberation.
Websites in Uganda, have published counter information pinning Rwandans arrested in Uganda on espionage.
Museveni and Kagame have in the past decorated each other with the highest honour of medals for the role they played in each other’s country’s liberation.
The two countries are yet to explicitly state what the core problem is, except the diplomatic note Rwanda sent to Uganda and the subsequent visit of the Ugandan foreign Affairs Minister.
“The accusations and counter accusations are a cry out to these leaders to take urgent action,” said Dr Kayumba.
///the East African