Rwanda’s Paul Kagame flies to Tanzania to bond with Magufuli after falling out with Museveni

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame with his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli
  • President Kagame is expected in Tanzania on Thursday for a two-day state visit at the invitation of President John Magufuli.
  • The two leaders are scheduled to hold bilateral talks and discuss issues on the East African Community (EAC).
  • Mr Kagame's visit to Tanzania comes amid deteriorating relations with Uganda and frosty ties with Burundi, partner states of the EAC.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has now shifted his focus and energy to building relations with Tanzania after falling out with Uganda.

President Kagame is expected in Tanzania on Thursday for a two-day state visit at the invitation of President John Magufuli, as both leaders seek to cement ties.

The two leaders are scheduled to hold bilateral talks and discuss issues on the East African Community (EAC), currently chaired by President Kagame, a statement by Tanzania's Foreign Affairs and EAC ministry notes.

Mr Kagame shares a cordial relationship with Dr Magufuli, unlike his predecessor Jakaya Kikwete with whom he often feuded over regional issues.

President Magufuli, who rarely travels out of the country, made his first foreign visit to Rwanda in April 2016, five months after assuming office.

President Kagame last state visit to Tanzania was in January 2018 where they agreed to collaborate on the standard gauge railway (SGR) from Isaka to Kigali.

The two leaders will hold closed door talks, after which they will hold a press conference.

Mr Kagame's visit to Tanzania comes amid deteriorating relations with Uganda and frosty ties with Burundi, partner states of the EAC.

Rwanda and Uganda have in recent times been feuding and experience a resurgence of hostility.

On Friday last week, Uganda accused Rwanda of blocking goods trucks and other vehicles from entering the country, and going as far as stopping its nationals from crossing into Uganda.

Rwanda on its part accuses Uganda of unfairly targeting its citizens by detaining and accusing them of being spies with no consular services provided to them.

Rwanda later issued a travel advisory, warning its citizens against visiting Uganda as they may face illegal arrests, torture, and deportations.

This came after Rwanda claimed 986 of its citizens were deported from Uganda, and almost 200 were being held incommunicado. Uganda has however, rejected the claims.

On Tuesday, Rwanda accused Uganda of supporting rebels opposed to the government in Kigali, a claim which Kampala firmly rebutted.

The two countries are both led by former rebel leaders now ruling beyond their initial two-term limits after changing the respective constitutions.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986 while Paul Kagame has ruled Rwanda since 2000 and is now serving a seven-year third term that will conclude in 2021.

Their feuding is now threatening the six-member East African Community, a regional economic bloc.

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