Minister Sam Kutesa

Rwanda has imposed a trade embargo on the bilateral trade with Uganda, according to the latest statement issued on Wednesday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Rwanda has introduced an export permit system for those that intend to export goods to Uganda. This is a technical and non-tariff barrier to trade, to which there has been no successful applicant. In effect this is a trade embargo on bilateral trade with Uganda,” Sam K. Kutesa, Uganda’s minister of Foreign Affairs.

According to Minister Kutesa, Rwanda is not allowing entry of Ugandan-made goods into its territory even as it has allowed light Uganda registered vehicles into the country.

“What is happening on the ground however, is that export of Ugandan goods to Rwanda have been prohibited by Rwanda authorities? The same authorities are only allowing crossing into Rwanda those trucks carrying transit goods destine to Rwanda or transiting into Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo or other places,” reads the minister statement.

According to minister Kutesa, Rwanda still continues to block goods from Rwanda and Rwanda registered trucks to cross over into Uganda. The blockage also includes its citizens who want to enter Uganda for various reasons.

Yesterday while addressing delegates at the Africa Now Summit in Kampala, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto, blasted the Kigali regime for closing its borders to Ugandan goods, saying it was anti-the spirit of the East African Community (EAC) to which Rwanda applied and joined in 2007, having observed its benefits such as easy movement of goods and people across borders.

The EAC Common Market Protocol requires free movement of goods and persons across all the borders in the bloc that comprise Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. By closing its borders to Ugandan goods and preventing its citizens from travelling into Uganda, Rwanda is violating this framework.

Rwanda on February 28, closed its borders on flimsy reasons such as arrest and torture of Rwandans living in Uganda but later on would allege that Uganda was hosting Rwandan dissidents planning to destabilise its government. Uganda has vehemently distanced itself from the accusations, saying Uganda welcomes also citizens of the world as long as they are law abiding.