African leaders to descend on Kigali

KIGALI - At least 16 African Heads of State had by yesterday confirmed attendance of the swearing-in ceremony of President Paul Kagame slated for Monday next week, the Information Ministry announced.
Workers cleaning Airport road ahead of the inaugural ceremony of President Paul Kagame slated for Monday (Photo; F. Goodman)
Workers cleaning Airport road ahead of the inaugural ceremony of President Paul Kagame slated for Monday (Photo; F. Goodman)

KIGALI - At least 16 African Heads of State had by yesterday confirmed attendance of the swearing-in ceremony of President Paul Kagame slated for Monday next week, the Information Ministry announced.

They will be joined by high-profile delegations from other countries and organisations.

In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the Director General in the Ministry of Information, Ignatius Kabagambe, revealed that in addition to the 16, more were expected to confirm attendance before Monday.

Those who have already confirmed attendance include Joseph Kabila, the President of the DRC and Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan.

Kabila’s visit comes a year after his meeting with his Rwandan counterpart at the Rwanda-DRC border in which the two agreed to visit the capitals of either country following the normalisation of diplomatic relations.
President Kagame visited Kinshasa last month to attend the DRC’s 50th anniversary of independence.

Kabagambe also revealed that those who had confirmed so far included Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi), Mwai Kibaki (Kenya), Francois Bozize (Central African Republic), Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo-Brazzaville) Blaise Compaoré (Burkina Faso), Abedelaziz Bouteflika (Algeria), Yayi Boni (Benin), Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia), Ali Bongo Ondimba (Gabon), Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia), Faure Gnassingbé (Togo), Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika (Malawi), King Mswati III (Swaziland) and Rupiah Banda (Zambia)
Tanzania will be represented by the Prime Minister, Minzengo Pinda while Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi will represent Uganda.

Also expected are all the 21 members of the Presidential Advisory Council – mainly top global business executives and academics who advise President Kagame on various issues.

Kabagambe added that other top delegates expected to attend include African Union Commission Chairperson, Jean Ping while the World Bank will also be represented by one of its top bosses. Other international organisations are expected to send delegations.

“As far as preparations are concerned, we are ready to accommodate the large number of visitors and ensure that everything goes smoothly. So far, nothing is behind schedule,” Kabagambe said.

“About 90,000 people from around Kigali are expected to show up at the stadium, but if the figure exceeds our expectations, we shall have giant outdoor broadcasting screens mounted outside the stadium.”

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