Kigali: Security for both traders and their merchandise is an undisputed factor for smooth business in all contexts but it has not been such a guarantee for traders plying between the Rwanda-Uganda borders in the past. Several buses along the Gatuna-Kampala road have on numerous occasions been robbed by thugs leading not only to loss of money but also lives in extreme cases.
However, because of the irresistible business opportunities between the two countries, traders have had no option but to take risks and brave the route even if some of them have been victims of these robberies. Reckless driving especially when drivers cross to the Ugandan side of the route is also a major source of concern.
Many traders are young upcoming entrepreneurs who find road transport the easiest and most cost effective means to transport goods from Uganda to Rwanda so the possible alternative which is Air transport is expensive.
Last week, Uganda's Inspector General of Police (IGP), General Kale Kayihura signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rwanda's IGP Emmanuel Gasana to go beyond commitment to start on real action to ensure major threats affecting the two countries.
The signing of the MoU followed a two-day meeting between delegates from both nations. Among the resolutions that the two forces have committed themselves to are collaboration in the management of both natural and man-made disasters, enhancement of safety and security on the Northern corridor, share timely intelligence information, plan and conduct joint operations, identify common training needs and conduct joint training, as well as ensuring mutual assistance in tracking down, arresting, and extradition of criminals.
"Rwanda and Uganda are not just geographical neighbors but countries that share the same challenges of negative forces as well as emerging crimes such as terrorism, human and drugs trafficking that affect our people and national development agenda," said Emmanuel Gasana after appending his signature to the MoU.
For long, the two countries have actually been grappling over this regional security issue but little commitment or its total lack has seen such past efforts fail to yield results at all.
The same resolutions on the same crime threats were reached in a similar meeting held from July 27 to 28, 2011 for the seventh and eight sessions of the Rwanda-Uganda Joint Police Chiefs partnership.
Since then though, both chiefs admit they have not achieved as much as they had hoped for.