News coming in from Kigali indicates that no East African Community [EAC] leader will attend Rwanda’s Liberation Day celebrations scheduled for Thursday.
edge.ug has learnt that President Museveni who has been at odds with Paul Kagame will at least send Ali Kirunda Kivejinja, the senior presidential advisor, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs, to represent him.
Apparently, other EAC presidents snubbed the ceremony and have not even sent representatives.
According to the Rwanda Foreign Affairs ministry the following presidents have confirmed attendance:
President Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, Hage Geingob of Namibia, President Faustin-Archange Touadéra of Central Africa, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia, Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana and Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone.
Other dignitaries include; Nigeria Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Tanzania Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of East African Community Affairs Dr Ali Kirunda Kivenjija of Uganda.
Kagame who was until recently the chairman of African Union has also been serving as the chairman of EAC African community.
Every 4th July is “Liberation Day” in Rwanda.
This public holiday celebrates the overthrow, in 1994, of the genocidal regime that massacred somewhere between half a million and a million people in only a matter of months.
European colonial powers often pitted people groups and classes against each other as a means of “indirect rule” to make their job of governing the colony easier.
In Rwanda, this strategy generated animosity between the Hutu and Tutsi classes. Upon independence from Belgium, this division continued.
In 1994, Hutus rose up against the ruling Tutsi class and massacred both them and Hutus who did not approve of their actions.
They assassinated the president of Rwanda and the president of neighbouring Burundi.
Finally, the Rwandan Patriotic Front rose up and defeated this genocidal rebel group, but only after hundreds of thousands had died.
On Liberation Day, Rwanda is full of patriotic and solemn speeches, cultural events, special ceremonies, parades and concerts, and sports matches.
It is a time of both festivity and of somber reflection on the tragic occurrences of the past.