President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, hailed Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the senior presidential advisor on Special Operations for his role in repairing ties between Kigali and Kampala.
Kagame, who hosted Gen. Kainerugaba for his 49th birthday celebrations, said that while there was peace between the two countries, friendship has also been added.
"We are seeing peace between our two countries," said Kagame in a video shared by the Rwanda presidency on Twitter Tuesday afternoon.
"Well, you can have peace but at the same time, you may not be friends. But this time, I think we have both.
"We are friends and we are at peace. Thanks to you General Muhoozi, for your role in this and for your conviction, and for being that bridge we used to cross from one side to another."
On his part, Gen. Kainerugaba, who is also the chairman of the MK Movement, noted that his relationship with Kagame had grown stronger, citing it being cemented by the 10 cows the Rwandan president gave him.
"We went from him being a president and me being an army officer, to becoming friends," Gen Kainerugaba said.
"And the mark of friendship was the cows that he gave me and I take that very very seriously.
"And I would like to report, your Excellency, that the cows are doing well. They have produced. You gave me 10 cows and now I have 17 cows from the ones you gave me.
"So, from that point on, really we became friends with His Excellency."
To Rwanda, Gen Kainerugaba was accompanied by Minister of Justice and Constitution Affairs Minister Norbert Mao and Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, the Minister of Security.
Other members of the General’s delegation are Veteran Journalist Andrew Mwenda, Kitgum Woman MP Lillian Aber, his cousin Alexander Mukonzi Akandwanaho, businessman Geoffrey Kalugira, Eng. Joel Aita and Counsel Elison Karuhanga among others.
The General and his delegation arrived at Kigali International Airport on Sunday evening and they were received by the Commander of the Rwandan Republican Guard Maj Gen Willy Rwagasana and the Rwanda Defence Forces Spokesman Brig Gen Ronald Rwivanga.
In 2022, Gen Kainerugaba visited Rwanda three times with the initial visit to Kigali leading to the reopening of the Gatuna border which had been closed for three years. The Rwandan leader also flew to Kampala and attended a State Dinner on Gen MK’s 48th birthday. President Kagame, who fought in the Uganda bush war of 1981-86, held several discussions with his Ugandan counterpart.
During the Rukundo Egumeho Thanksgiving Concert held on Wednesday, April 19 in Kabale, Gen Kainerugaba said that since the reopening of the Gatuna border, trade between Uganda and Rwanda has tremendously improved, reaching an all-time high of $20m in business transactions per month.
Before the closure, Gen MK said the annual trade was $200 million, which translated to $17m per month. During the period the border was closed the figure stood at $60,000, according to records from the Bank of Uganda.