Rwanda’s new envoy to Uganda, Col Joseph Rutabana has started work, Chimp Corps report.
Rutabana, who previously served as Rwanda’s Ambassador to Israel, presented copies of his credentials to Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa in Kampala this Thursday.
“Today morning, Honourable Sam K Kuteesa, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, received copies of letters accrediting Mr.Joseph Rutabana as the new High Commissioner of the Republic of Rwanda to Uganda,” said Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement to ChimpReports.
“The two principals expressed their desire and commitment to work together in strengthening the current bilateral relations between Uganda and Rwanda,” the statement added.
Rutabana replaces retired Maj Gen Frank Mugambage whose 11-year term of office ended in 2020.
Rutabana comes to Uganda at a time the two countries’ relations are their lowest over counter accusations of espionage and supporting rival armed movements in the region; and trade wars among others.
Talks between Uganda and Rwanda had gained momentum until March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the region.
Both countries recently started accessing COVID-19 vaccines, raising the prospect of resuming negotiations to fully restore the bilateral relations.
Rwanda and Uganda have recorded a reduction in trade flows since 2018.
The High Commissioner-designate who has lived in Uganda before was pleased to be back in the country on a diplomatic assignment.
“He (Rutabana) expressed gratitude for the warm reception accorded to him so far,” according to Foreign Affairs Ministry.
“He promised to foster closer economic and political relations between the two countries during his tour of duty.”
It remains to be seen if Rutabana, a very close associate of President Kagame, will restore the the strained bilateral ties.
Rutabana was in 2025 accredited as Non-Resident Ambassador of Rwanda to Cyprus.
He has also served as the Defence and Military Attaché of the Rwandan Embassy in South Africa.
Col Rutabana was also the Head of the Rwandan Diplomatic Office in Khartoum, Sudan.
He has also had a long military career, first by participating in the Liberation War which stopped the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 and subsequent other assignments including serving as the Permanent Secretary in the Rwandan Ministry of Defence.
He holds a degree in French and Political Science from Makerere University in Uganda and has attended several defence and security courses and seminars.
He is married to Aline Mushikiwabo and they are blessed with three sons.