Editorial: There is much to be gained from good neighbourliness

What couldn’t someone have paid to be a fly on the wall in the room during yesterday’s meeting in Kigali to diffuse tensions between Uganda and Rwanda.


That we have to wait for 30 days to elapse in order to find out whether relief is on the way must be weighing heavily on the peoples of both countries.


So as we prepare for the next round of talks next month in Kampala, it is important to bear in mind that endless talk without any signs of progress is counterproductive and only serves to hurt shared aspirations for a prosperous future.  


The Luanda Memorandum of Understanding presents the best opportunity yet for the two countries to genuinely address the root causes of strained ties and renew friendly bilateral relations, something that both countries and their citizens need and deserve, especially considering the deep historic socioeconomic ties we share.


During yesterday’s meeting, both sides reiterated their commitment to the Luanda framework, and Kampala promised to look into the matter of hundreds of Rwandan citizens illegally detained in Uganda – a prerequisite for progress on the other aspects of the Memorandum of Understanding.


Both Uganda and Rwanda have it in their best interest to bury the hatchet so that, together, they might ride out the storm as there is more strength in unity.


To East Africans, and indeed Africans in general, integration is meaningless when citizens of one partner state cannot freely move and do business across borders because of safety concerns.


Rwandans and Ugandans will be hoping that significant progress will have been made by the time the joint ad hoc commission holds its next meeting.

 

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