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Discover Belgian Colonialist Who Brewed Pineapple Wine On Lake Muhazi




On the serene shoreline of Lake Muhazi seats hundreds of acres of land that were once owned by a Belgian colonialist that was known as Decant (second name not yet known). This place is in a village known as Nyamabuye village located at Gati cell in Gishali sector.

This beautiful natural haven has since been acquired and developed into a 9-hole golf course under management of Falcon Golf Club which hosted the Rwanda Summer golf event on October 3-4.

Decant, the Belgian was an industrious colonialists he grew vast acres of pineapples which he harvested and used to process a very delicious and punchy wine that was mostly consumed by local chiefs and also sold as far as Kigali. The highly alcoholic wine was known as Ingwe (leopard).

According to stories from different elders in this village, Decant had built a concrete house for his family and another concrete reinforced hut about 100 metres away from the masters’ quarter. The hut stands majestically more than half a century later. Those who come to play golf at this property don’t know much about this mysterious concrete hut and simply ignore it.

It is said that Decant left Rwanda immediately after the Belgian supported constitutional referendum in 1961, a constitution that effectively abolished the monarchy, and established a republic. Elderly Residents of Gati remember that Decant was a returning officer for the referendum. He left the country later.

The spot where Decants home had been built is only survived by giant and very tall trees that host falcon birds and eagles from which they launch stealth and high speed attacks into the lake to pluck out fish. Watching these endless attacks into the waters by these birds offers a great connection with nature.

Thus the concrete hut was the house for a nanny that took care of Decant’s children, “whenever the he was so busy with meetings or processing wine, he would send the children to be with the nanny at her hut,” says one of the children of a former guard at this facility.

Rwanda’s History Linked To Lake Muhazi

Lake Muhazi is 60 km long, in an east-west direction, but its width is less than 5 km. It is located in east-central Rwanda and has shoreline in three of the country’s five provinces.

The western third of the lake forms the border between Kigali (Gasabo District) to the south, and Northern Province (Gicumbi District) to the north. The eastern two-thirds or the lake is in the Eastern Province, forming the border between Rwamagana District to the south, and Gatsibo and Kayonza Districts to the north.

According to oral history the Kingdom of Rwanda was founded in the 14th century after disintegration of Kitara empire on the shores of Lake Muhazi in the Buganza area, close to the modern city of Rwamagana.

At that time Rwanda was a small state in a loose confederation with larger and more powerful neighbours, Bugesera and Gisaka.

By playing these neighbours against each other, the early kingdom flourished in the area, expanding westwards towards Lake Kivu. In this expanded kingdom, the region around the lake became a powerful religious site, being synonymous with the earliest and most revered Mwamis of the kingdom.

In the late 16th or early 17th centuries, the kingdom of Rwanda was invaded by the Banyoro and the kings forced to flee westward, leaving Buganza and the Lake Muhazi area in the hands of Bugesera and Gisaka.

The formation in the 17th century of a new Rwandan dynasty by mwami Ruganzu Ndori, followed by eastward invasions, the retaking of Buganza and the conquest of Bugesera, marked the beginning of the Rwandan kingdom’s dominance in the area.

Lake Muhazi became a border zone between Rwanda and the still independent Gisaka, a situation which remained in place for 200 years, despite several unsuccessful attempts by the Rwandan kings to subdue Gisaka. Eventually, in around 1830, Gisaka was annexed and the eastern borders of the state began to take their present form, with the lake fully under Rwandan control.

Under German and Belgian colonial rule Lake Muhazi became an important east–west transport route, linking Kigali and the west of the country with the north-south and eastbound roads from Gahini.

From 1922, the eastern area was temporarily fell under British control as part of the surveying process for the proposed Cape-Cairo railway, a period during which the Church Missionary Society (CMS), started missionary and medical work across eastern Rwanda.

This land was returned to Belgium in 1924 but the rulers allowed the CMS to continue its work, and a permanent mission and hospital was set up close to Lake Muhazi in Gahini village.

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DRC Has High Appetite For EAC



The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has reaffirmed her willingness to join the East African Community.

DRC’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’Apala, said that DRC was looking forward to increased trade and investment, and strengthened relations with EAC, adding that her relations with EAC Partner States had largely been at a bilateral level.

Hon. Pen’Apala said that DRC was keen on cooperating with the EAC for maximum exploitation of both natural and human resources in the region.

Hon. Pen’Apala expressed hope that this would be the last round of negotiations before DRC is admitted into the EAC.

The Minister said that DRC has a big population who are consumers that constitute a big market for the EAC, adding that DRC was also in dire need of investors and was therefore offering incentives for entrepreneurs who would like to invest in the country.

Hon. Pen’Apala noted that DRC faces security challenges in the eastern part of the country, adding that the country was therefore keen on tackling these challenges together with the EAC.

The Minister disclosed that DRC had embarked on a national programme of reconstruction in various sectors including infrastructure, agriculture, energy and environmental conservation. He said that DRC had the world’s second largest natural ecosystem in the Congo Forest and was keen on preserving this system from wanton destruction to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Asked whether DRC’s membership to EAC would pose challenges because it already belongs to COMESA and SADC, Hon. Pen’Apala said that there was no problem in multiple membership to various regional economic communities (RECs), adding that all RECs in Africa were working in harmony to ensure that Africa becomes a real common market by the year 2063.

Hon. Pen’Apala was addressing journalists after the official launch of the negotiations between the EAC and DRC for the admission of the latter into the Community in Nairobi, Kenya.

Speaking at the media briefing, the Chairperson of the EAC Council of Ministers who is also Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for EAC and Regional Development, Hon. Adan Mohamed, said that the EAC and DRC negotiation teams were expected to conclude their negotiations within 10 days.

Hon. Mohamed said that the report of the negotiations would then be presented to the Council who would later submit it to the Summit of EAC Heads of State for consideration.

CS Mohamed said that the negotiations between EAC and DRC for the admission of the latter into EAC was good news for a continent that has been performing below its potential in terms of its share of global trade.

On his part, EAC Secretary General Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki said that EAC expects seamless negotiations with DRC that would result in increased trade and investment opportunities for the benefit of the people of East Africa.

The Secretary General said that substantial progress had been made since the Verification Mission visited DRC in the months of June and July 2020.

“As you are aware the 18th Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State, the summit received and considered the report of the Council on the Verification Mission on the Admission of the DRC to join the EAC and directed the Council to expeditiously commence and conclude negotiations with the DRC for admission to the East African Community and report to the next Summit,” said Dr. Mathuki.

Dr. Mathuki said that the negotiations were an important milestone in the entire roadmap of the admission of DRC into the EAC.

“Once this phase is successfully concluded, it shall pave the way for the accession phase which literally concludes the admission process and upon pronouncement of Summit on the matter, DRC will be admitted as the seventh member of the EAC,” said Dr. Mathuki.

“DRC’s intention to join the Community is not by default. DRC shares borders with five (5) EAC Partner States, namely Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan,” added the Secretary General.

Also present at the ceremony were the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Hon. Ngoga Martin, the Judge President of the East African Court of Justice, Justice Nestor Kayobera, EALA Member Hon. Kennedy Kalonzo, Kenya’s EAC Affairs PS Dr. Kevit Desai and his South Sudan counterpart Hon. Andrea Ariik Malueth.

Leading the negotiation teams is Dr. Alice Yalla for EAC and Prof. Serge Tshibangu Kabeya for DRC.


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Uganda Doubles Health Workers to Clear Trucks Backlog at Border Posts



Uganda said it was increasing health officers at the Busia and Malaba borders posts, from 50 to 100, as part of efforts to clear the backlog of trucks at the border posts.

Dozens of trucks laden with petroleum products and other goods have been stationed at these borders due to delayed covid-19 testing triggering a low supply of fuel in Uganda which has led to price hikes and immediate protests.

The delay of trucks was largely caused by Uganda’s rejection of Covid-19 test certificate issued by Kenya government. However, after the impasse, Uganda has agreed to recognise the Covid-19 test certificate that shall be issued by Kenya’s Ministry of Health with a validity period of 72 hours using either PCR or RDT testing protocols.

Kenya, on her part, informed the 3rd Joint Multi-Sectoral Virtual Meeting of Ministers of EAC Affairs, Health and Transport held on Friday of the availability of sufficient Covid-19 rapid diagnostic test (RDT) kits and staff to support Uganda in Covid-19 testing at the border posts.

Kenya affirmed readiness to immediately deploy 15 or more health workers and provide RDT test kits to enhance Covid-19 testing at Malaba and Busia border posts.

The meeting that was chaired by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for EAC and Regional Development, Hon. Adan Mohamed underscored the need to minimize administrative delays to enhance rapid clearance of the existing backlog at Malaba and Busia borders. They noted that the current trend of clearing truck drivers was not sufficient to clear the truck backlog.

The Cabinet Secretaries/Ministers commended the Republic of Uganda for progress made in implementing the directives made on 10th January, 2022 and urged Uganda to increase her capacity of testing truck drivers to facilitate faster clearance of goods.

The meeting urged the Republic of Kenya to support the process by providing additional workforce and equipment to expedite the testing and clearance process.

The Cabinet Secretaries/Ministers directed the Secretariat to convene a follow-up meeting of the Ministers/Cabinet Secretary of health to discuss the long-term solutions to easing cross-border movement.

The Friday meeting was a follow-up to the 2nd Joint Multi-Sectoral Virtual Meeting of the Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries responsible for EAC Affairs, Health and Transport that was held on Monday, 10th January, 2022. At the time, more than 4,500 trucks had stalled at the two border posts due to the mandatory Covid-19 testing requirements introduced by Uganda on 20th December, 2021.

The 2nd Joint Multi-Sectoral Virtual Meeting noted that this was a deviation from the 14 days Covid-19 testing period, previously agreed at the regional level and monitored through the Regional Electronic Cargo and Drivers Tracking System (RECDTS).

To mitigate future recurrence of the border traffic impasse, the 2nd Joint Multi-sectoral Meeting further directed Partner States to recognize certificates from accredited/national recognized laboratories with a validity of 14 days for fully vaccinated truck drivers and 72 hours for unvaccinated truck drivers moving goods across the region.

Further, they agreed that Partner States should implement the EACPass to fast-track verification of Covid-19 test results.

“The EACPass is a system that integrates all EAC Partner States’ negative test results for Covid-19 and those vaccinated, and can be easily accessed on mobile phone. It is set to ease the turnaround time at border points,” said EAC Secretary General Hon. (Dr.) Peter Mathuki.

The 21st Meeting of the Sectoral Council of Ministers responsible for Health further approved the EACPass as a regional platform to facilitate movement of all persons in the region and beyond and also directed EAC Partner States to facilitate the implementation and use of the EACPass as a platform for quick verification of Covid-19 test certificates and vaccination status for travellers.

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East Africans Mobilsed For Mass Vaccination Against Covid



East Africans have been called upon to turn out in large numbers and get vaccinated against covid as the only way to contain the further spread of the deadly pandemic.

Dr.Peter Mathuki the EAC secretary General said on Monday that resistance to vaccines was undermining efforts to jumpstart the regional economy after the damage caused by the virus.

He said that the global trend was that vaccination certificates would soon be required for travellers and those seeking to participate in meetings and conferences.

Dr. Mathuki hailed EAC Partner States for their on-going effort to integrate their systems with the EACPass, a digital system that would be used to track negative Covid-19 test results and vaccination certificates thereby easing cross-border travel and trade in the region.

The SG who was making his New Year Address to Staff of EAC Organs and Institutions through a hybrid format, said that synergy among EAC Partner States and other stakeholders was the best way to contain the pandemic.

“One of the most gigantic challenges of our time is how to manage our region with the current global pandemic. It is a daunting task to bring everyone on board in addressing Covid-19 related challenges, specifically to have a common understanding and appreciation of the risks, and to comply with preventive, containment and mitigation measures. I encourage that we pull together, notwithstanding that the situation is worsening with the emergence of the Omicron variant,” said Dr. Mathuki.

“We continue to operate under a challenging environment of Covid-19, which has and continues to affect every organisation and family. As a result of Covid-19, EAC as a region, has lost a number of leaders and citizens,” said the SG.

Dr. Mathuki reminded EAC Staff of their obligation to assist Partner States overcome diverse socio-economic and political challenges that face the region by developing relevant policies, strategies, guidelines and systems to address the challenges.

Dr. Mathuki hailed EAC Organs and Institutions for various achievements in 2021.

He disclosed that the East African Legislative Assembly had held eight (8) sittings during which it passed several Bills among them, ‘The East African Community Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2020’ and ‘The East African Community Integrity and Anti-Corruption Bill, 2021.”

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