Ethiopia is a valued partner, Kagame says

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L-R; Uganda's Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, President Kagame, Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn at an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Tigray People's Liberation Front. (Village Urugwiro)

President Paul Kagame has hailed the cordial ties between Rwanda and Ethiopia. Kagame made the remarks, yesterday, as he joined the Ethiopian people to mark the 40th anniversary of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), a key partner in the ruling coalition and one of Africa’s oldest liberation movements.

President Kagame at 40th Anniversary of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front - Mekelle (Ethiopia). Source: PresidentKagame/YouTube

Speaking at an event in Mekelle, Addis Ababa, Kagame described Ethiopia as a “valued partner of Rwanda,” praising the Horn of Africa nation for its approach in solving past problems.

The Rwandan leader paid tribute to former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, one of the founders of TPLF, whom he described as a hero.

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Former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi at Amahoro Stadium in 2009. He was awarded with medals for Ethiopia’s contribution toward the liberation of Rwanda. Kagame yesterday paid tribute to Zenawi, calling him a hero. (File)

Zenawi, the former charismatic leader of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), died in August 2012 aged 57.

“You faced the military might of superpowers. Famine was used against your people, as a weapon of war. Your national unity was under constant assault. But nothing could break the Ethiopian spirit, and you have not only prevailed, but continue to thrive,” Kagame said, in reference to TPLF.

The President said Ethiopia’s success has great meaning beyond its borders because of how the country has addressed its problems.

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President Kagame giving his keynote address. (Village Urugwiro)

“You never wavered in your commitment to build a robust national unity that is at the same time, firmly anchored in Ethiopia’s remarkable diversity. As a result, Ethiopia is peaceful, stable, and increasingly prosperous,” he said.

He pointed out that Ethiopians have always maintained a principled commitment to self-reliance in all forms: economic, political, and above all, intellectual.

The hypocrisy of care

President Kagame also criticised those who assume they can care more about Africans than Africans themselves, adding that such actors were intent on imposing solutions while silencing African leaders.

“Ethiopia has never kept quiet. You have charted your own course, based on a deep analysis of your history and circumstances and stayed the course. The result is the enormous growth we see today in Ethiopia, while you move rapidly towards a future as a middle-income country,” Kagame said.

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Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn. (Village Urugwiro)

President Kagame attributed this “confident self-reliance” to the very foundation of the TPLF and its partners.

“When the full history of our continent’s liberation is written, it will be found that in your struggle, Africa as a whole, found one of its most important voices,” the President said.

The anniversary was also attended by several other African leaders among them Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud of Somalia, and Prime Minister Rukahakana Rugunda of Uganda.

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Guests at the colourful ceremony were entertained in many ways. (Village Urugwiro)

At the event, Desalegn said the people of Tigray and fighters of TPLF had paid a huge sacrifice to bring about peace, equality, democracy and justice in the nation.

He also noted that Tigray and TPLF fighters, along with other Ethiopians, have paid a huge sacrifice in the bitter struggle to ensure justice, democracy and equality of nations and nationalities of Ethiopia.

AU Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma saluted Ethiopia’s role in peacekeeping missions and hailed the country’s efforts to promote regional and continental integration through infrastructure.

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AU Chairperson Dlamini-Zuma addresses the gathering during the celebrations. (Village Urugwiro)

Kagame in Kenya for summit

Meanwhile, President Kagame, later in the day, travelled to Kenya where he is expected to attend the East African Community Heads of State Summit.

Today morning, President Kagame will attend a ceremony to commission the Olkaria 1 Power plant, which is expected to generate 140 megawatts, according to a statement from his office.

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