EDITORIAL: Gatuna border had many secrets to divulge to diplomats

Gatuna border post with Uganda has been turned into the subject of conversation for all the wrong reasons. Ugandan officials and media are quick to spread half-truths to whoever is within earshot that Rwanda closed its border, which is far from the truth.

The One-Stop border concept has been the flagship of regional integration and trade promotion and Rwanda has three ports of entry with Uganda; Gatuna, Kagitumba and Cyanika.

Kagitumba One-Stop border is functional so it was time for Gatuna to get an upgrade. The government diverted heavy vehicles to the other borders so as not to disrupt construction work, but the border-closure tale is convenient for Uganda to divert attention from the real issue.

Anyway, to make matters short, construction of the Rwanda side of the One-Stop border post is almost complete; they are putting on the finishing touches. The Ugandan side is just an empty shell, and when Gatuna fully reopens in the next couple of weeks, it is difficult to see how the One-Stop border concept will work when construction of the Uganda side has stalled.

That is one part of the story that the Ugandan media conveniently avoids, but no border is closed.

According to 2017 statistics, Gatuna handled 282,194 crossings, Kagitumba 115,788 and Cyanika 333,731. So Gatuna is not the busiest crossing point and is not worth all the clamour.

During the recent handing over of a body of a Rwandan killed at the common border, Ugandan officials airlifted diplomats to witness the handover and add a pinch of spin.

But they inadvertently did Rwanda a favour; the diplomats saw the true state of the border constructions and where to shift blame when the One-Stop border crossing fails to take off. Fate operates in mysterious ways.