MTN Deportation Saga: Uganda – Rwanda Worsening ties Draw Mixed Reactions, Suspicion

The Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, has said government will report on the state of diplomatic relations with Rwanda, which is nose-diving, following the controversial deportation of two MTN Uganda workers, one being a Rwandan national.

MP Francis Zaake (NRM, Mityana Municipality) said he is worried about the reported diplomatic crisis that is said to have followed the deportation.

He sought government’s position on reports that the deportation is steering Uganda and Rwanda into a diplomatic crisis.

“This is a matter that is under investigation…this House will be informed about our relationship with member states, including Rwanda,” said Rugunda. He gave the House the assurance during the Prime Minister’s Time on Thursday, 24 January 2019.

In a Wednesday statement, Police Deputy Spokesperson Polly Namaye said two MTN Uganda employees; a French national Olivier Prentout and Rwandan Annie Bilenge Tabura were deported for engaging in activities that “compromise national security”.

“This is to inform the general public that the security agencies in close coordination with immigration officials have been investigating two foreign nationals working with a mobile telecom company over their engagement in acts which compromise national security,” partly read Ms Namaye’s statement.

Security sources who spoke to local media said the two were eavesdropping telephone conversations among top political and security chiefs, sharing the same with a foreign country believed to be Rwanda.

Rwanda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of East African Affairs, Ambassador Olivier Nduhungirehe, took to Twitter, where he poured scorn on Uganda for the deportation, claiming diplomatic avenues have been exhausted to normalize both countries’ relations in vain.

Uganda’s relations with Rwanda has been on the rocks in the recent past, with former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura battling claims of illegally deporting Rwandan nationals who were seeking asylum in the country.

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