Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame basks in Commonwealth glomour

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RWANDAN President Paul Kagame has, on Thursday, June 23, hosted a state banquet for foreign leaders who are in the country for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

During the banquet, Kagame thanked all special guests who travelled to enrich CHOGM deliberations, which were postponed for two consecutive years, due to Covid-19.

“It gives me great pleasure to see you all here and the reason is that after planning this dinner for more than four years, I was starting to wonder if you would ever come,” he told the guests.

“We have lived through a lot since 2020 in each of our countries, our regions, and the Commonwealth as a whole. The Covid-19 pandemic was a terrible moment in history which showed us yet again the value of cooperation and community.”

The President added: “We can’t prosper without working together.”

He thanked the Commonwealth leaders for the trust they have placed in Rwanda to serve as host of the Commonwealth family of nations and as an incoming chair-in office.

“Your presence and participation demonstrate that the Commonwealth has a meaningful role to play in shaping the global agenda,” said Kagame.

Four forums, namely, Commonwealth Youth Forum, Women Forum, People’s Forum, and Business Forum preceded the high-level Heads of Government Meeting which will officially opened on Friday June 25.

The Head of State recognized, in particular, Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA, and added: “We can agree that football has a unique ability to bring people together, no doubt. So does cricket. Through football, we can communicate and understand each wherever we are from.”

Kagame added that Commonwealth resonates well with what Infantino emphasized during his intervention earlier in the day, the importance of protecting national teams and capacity of players so they can flourish also at home.

Another special guest he recognized is Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar for his country’s deep ties to the Commonwealth.

“Under his leadership, he is at the forefront of finding solutions to some of the most urgent challenges of the day, from energy security to humanitarian response in the Middle East and global fight against corruption,” Kagame said.

“I could not have thought of a better person to invite as a very special guest of the Commonwealth.”