KIGALI, Rwanda, Aug 18 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday joined over 20 Heads of State and Government from Africa and beyond to witness the inauguration of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.
President Kenyatta, accompanied by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, graced the colourful swearing-in ceremony held at the Amahoro National Stadium in Rwanda’s capital Kigali that was also attended by thousands of Rwandans.
Other leaders included Presidents Alpha Condé of Guinea who is also the current Chairman of the African Union, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Ismail Omar Guelleh (Djibouti), Omar al-Bashir (Sudan), Faustin Archange Touadera (Central African Republic), Brahim Ghali (Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic), Mahamadou Issoufou (Niger).
Others are Presidents Edgar Lungu (Zambia), Macky Sall (Senegal), Sassou Nguesso (Republic of Congo) and Hage Gottfried Geingob (Namibia).
Prime Ministers Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia and Patrice Emery Trovoada of São Tomé and Príncipe were also present at the swearing-in ceremony while Ivory Coast was represented by Vice-President Daniel Kablan Duncan and Gambia by Acting Vice-President Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang who is also her country’s Minister of Women’s Affairs.
Other dignitaries included African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, and former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Festus Mogae (Botswana) and Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania) among others. Speakers of Parliament of Equatorial Guinea, Gaudencio Mohaba Mesu, that of the Moroccan House of Representatives, Habib El Malki, as well as the Speaker of Parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo Aubin Minaku represented their countries.
In his speech, President Kagame spoke against external interference while calling on African countries to work together more closely – as brothers and sisters – for the benefit of the citizens of the continent.
“Attacks on our character only makes us stronger provided we respond with clarity and conviction. There is no one-size-fit-all nation-building. At the root of any success are good choices built on ‘built it yourself’ mindset,” President Kagame said.
He said the continent must build on the reform spirit that has taken root in the African Union and in every African country to deliver the results citizens expect.
“Africa is on the right path and we are going to do just fine. Without exception, there is infinitely more that unites us as Africans than that which divides us,” the Rwandan leader said.
President Kagame thanked Rwandans for re-electing him, saying Rwanda will continue to be a firm believer in real partnership and cooperation with friends around the world to lift the lives of the citizens of the East African nation.
“I would like to express particular appreciation to Rwandans for renewing the trust between us. It is truly a privilege and honour to serve you,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame was sworn-in for his third seven-year term in office following a landslide re-election victory in the August 4 presidential election where he garnered 98.7 per cent of the total votes cast against his two main rivals Frank Habineza and Philippe Mpayimana.
President Kenyatta and the First Lady, who received thunderous cheers when they arrived at the stadium for the event, later attended a State luncheon hosted by President Kagame.
President Kenyatta’s visit to Rwanda was geared towards strengthening the strong ties and strategic partnership that exist between the two East African nations, especially infrastructure development – notably the Northern Corridor Integrated Projects.