With four of the seven East African Community partner states being members of the Commonwealth of Nations, the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) slated for June 20 to 26, in Kigali, is a privilege for the bloc. The EAC Secretary-General, Peter Mathuki, noted this Tuesday, June 14, during an exclusive interview with The New Timesat his offices in Arusha, Tanzania. “Four partner states of the EAC are members of CHOGM and I think it will be a huge opportunity for all of them to converge in Kigali and stand in solidarity with Rwanda,” Mathuki said. “Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda are members of the Commonwealth and thus, the deliberations, policies, and actions in this meeting are critical to the EAC.” The last time the meeting was held in the region was 15 years ago. The 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was the 20th Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations. It was held in Kampala, Uganda, in November 2007, More than 300 regional business leaders are set to attend the Commonwealth Business Forum, one of the major side events during CHOGM. Mathuki said: “We are happy to note that CHOGM, this time around, is to be hosted by one of the partner states of the East African Community, Rwanda. I think it is important that we call upon all the East Africans and all the partner states to stand in solidarity with Rwanda as they host this.” “Its a huge privilege. But also the fact that we have that capacity in East Africa to host such a huge meeting, I think it is something we need to be proud of. Our Secretariat will definitely participate.” The first CHOGM to be held in Africa for more than 10 years is expected to bring more than 8, 000 guests, including leaders from more than 54 countries, to Kigali. They will include top business executives, officials from private equity funds, investment banks, and others. The leaders’ summit will be preceded by meetings for representatives from Commonwealth networks for youth, women, civil society and business.