NEWS- Business at Katuna border in Kabale district is still struggling to get back to normal ever since the government of Rwanda reopened their Gatuna border post, signaling the end of three-year frosty relations between Uganda & Rwanda, both East African nations.
In a period of three years of none-activity, the Katuna border business community deserted the area and abandoned business. Katuna, once a vibrant and booming business hub, went into silence in February 2019 when the government of Rwanda closed its side of Gatuna and blocked its citizens from crossing into Uganda.
The closure of border left Two-way trade collapsed after the frontier was closed in February 2019 as tensions between Kigali and Kampala spiralled over rival accusations of espionage and political meddling. Ugandan goods and trucks were also blocked at the border and Rwanda deployed her security all over on their side, including in ungazetted routes, bringing business to a halt.
The Katuna border weekly market popularly known as World Market inside Uganda remained dull and abandoned because of the absence of Rwandans, who were the major customers.
The chairperson of Burambira cell in Katuna Town Council where the market operates, Justus Karambuzi, says that more than 1,000 people used to converge at this weekly World Market, but ever since the Rwanda government stopped its people from entering Uganda, the market has remained dull with less than 500 people because majority of the customers were Rwandans.
In an assessment done by our reporter yesterday, it was observed that most of the shops closed, some lockups were abandoned as most of them were surrounded by Cobwebs both in windows and doors and in bushes. The few that were found operating, proprietors urged that business status is still crippling to normalize.
Alex Karambuzi, Jenifer Mwebaze, Evas Akampulira and Kellen Rwengabo in her 60’s all traders at Katuna say that they used to make between 700,000 Shs to 500,000Shs before the closure of border but now they cannot even 100,000Shs on market day because majority of Rwandans who were Customers were denied access to Uganda.
To them, they say that the border never reopened saying that there is still a need for a room of negotiation between two heads of Uganda and Rwanda to harmonize and pave away to fully open the border to normalize business at the border.
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