A long-running row between Uganda and Rwanda is taking a toll on the two countries and the entire East African sub-region.
The row has virtually threatened and impacted cross-border trade between the two countries.
Rwanda on February 28 stopped cargo trucks from Uganda from entering through the Katuna-Gatuna border.
Although Rwanda claims it’s due to ongoing construction works, it is believed the border closure was as a result of a travel ban on Rwandan citizens to Uganda.
Source of row
Rwanda had accused Uganda of harbouring armed groups to attack the country, a claim Uganda has denied.
Uganda has also been accused of arrest, imprisonment, harassment and deportation of Rwandan nationals.
Rwanda also claims Uganda had placed restrictions on Rwandan goods crossing over Uganda’s territory.
But there is a long historical link between Rwanda and Uganda which continues to spark suspicions.
Rwanda’s current leaders including President Paul Kagame, lived as refugees in Uganda for years.
They played a role in a guerrilla war that brought President Yoweri Museveni to power in 1986.
But four years later Kagame’s group broke away to launch another war in Rwanda with the backing of Uganda’s largesse and military.
There are indications despite the friendship between Kagame and Museveni, a mood swing is threatening their relations.
Efforts to resolve row
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday visited Uganda and Rwanda with signals he could be helping to resolve the crisis.
Kenyatta held private meetings with the two leaders, according to local media.
The East African Law Society (EALS) is now reportedly stepping in to resolve the dispute.
The EastAfrican reports that the “bar association is mobilizing experienced diplomats, senior lawyers, influential civil society officials and representatives of the business community for the task.”
“We are separately reaching out to the heads of state of Rwanda and Uganda with the offer for mediation,” Willy Rubeya, the president of the legal body, said in a statement on Monday.
There are hopes these ongoing efforts could bring an end to this long dispute between two nations that had good relations in the past.