Although tensions between Uganda and Rwanda begun years ago, they were invariably played down and, consequently, largely went unnoticed.
But the tensions are intensifying, leading to acrimonious war of words between the two countries’ Presidents, and closure of their common border. This is in terms of the movement of goods (trade) and persons as required under the East African Community (EAC) Customs Union and Common Market Protocols.
In the event, Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta travelled to Rwanda and Uganda on Monday, where he held private talks with Presidents Paul Kagame in Kigali, and Yoweri Museveni in Entebbe.
This is in efforts by the Kenyan leader to help mend broken ties between the two fellow member-states of the 6-nation EAC.
The seemingly endless wrangling between Uganda and Rwanda is largely based on claims by President Kagame that the Museveni regime is hell-bent to destabilize – and, finally, oust from power – the government in Kigali, colluding with Rwandan rebels to do so.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, President Museveni has denied President Kagame’s claims – and, for good measure, makes more-or-less similar claims against the Kigali government.
All this does not augur well with EAC’s nobble efforts at comprehensive regional integration culminating in an East African Federation, complete with a single Federal Government and a Monetary Union.
What the 175 million East Africans in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda need in their unity of purpose is peace, stability and all-inclusive, sustainable socioeconomic development.
And what these millions of East Africans need the least is divisive, destructive wrangling among their top leaderships.
To that end, we wish and hope that President Kenyatta’s noble efforts at pacifying the wrangling nations not only succeed, but are also replicated as necessary across the Community to preserve our regional integration vision.