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Uganda-Rwanda Relations: Crossing the Border into Politics

Isabella Soi



In the unfolding drama between Uganda and Rwanda, this article looks at the role played by two factors: refugee movements and the border. The role played by each of them is relevant because the presence of Rwandans in Uganda (as refugees and migrants) has influenced the trajectory of both states, and still remains an unresolved issue. Refugee movements take centre-stage whenever a humanitarian crisis is unfolding, and are regarded with pity or with distrust, depending on the moment and the actors involved. More germane to this article, however, is the fact that they also expose political issues. The issue debated here is the political outcomes that long-standing refugee communities contribute to, and their impact on the border. This article therefore argues that the relationship between communities and the central state shapes the border as much as diplomatic agreements, as the relations between borderlands and both capitals across the border are as important as those between capitals (states) themselves.

Keywords: refugees, Uganda, Rwanda, border, politics

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