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Uganda to construct a road to Burundi through Tanzania, to avoid Rwanda

By Musinguzi Blanshe
Posted on Friday, 11 June 2021 12:07

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni follow the proceedings of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, in Kigali April 7, 2014. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

Rwanda's Paul Kagame and Uganda's Yoweri Museveni were allies in the 1980s when they fought alongside each other to overthrow dictatorial regimes. However, their friendship turned sour along the way and their frosty relations have impacted agreements that seek to ease cross-border trade in the East African region.

At one time, Uganda was asked to provide passports to several Burundi rebels so they could travel easily in the region. Adonia Ayebare, Uganda’s permanent representative to the UN, revealed this in the eulogy of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza – who died suddenly last year.

Adonia said the request for passports was made during peace talks (held in Arusha, Tanzania) between the Burundian government and then rebel movement CNDD-FDD (which was led by Nkurunziza in the early 2000s).

“Nkurunziza chose Sula Kato, his favourite soccer player in Uganda, having seen him score a wonder goal against the Burundi national team,” said Adonia, the special envoy who represented Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni during the peace talks. Museveni was one of the facilitators of the peace process and a guarantor of the signed peace agreements.

Talks are still ongoing quietly to break the deadlock so that we can get into serious discussion of addressing issues that brought us to the situation we are in today.

It was during this process (that lasted almost a decade, from 1996 to 2005) that Uganda firmed up its diplomatic relationship with Burundi. Adonia accorded Nkurunziza’s successor, Evariste Ndayishimiye, a special treat on 11 May when he flew to Bujumbura aboard Uganda Airlines to pick him up for Museveni’s swearing in ceremony. This was Ndayishimiye’s first visit to Uganda.