Rwandan General Paul Kagame is expected in Canada this week. His visit will follow that of the Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete. The two presidents have targeted their visit to the Ontario Province.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete arrived in Ontario on the evening of September 19, 2013, after a two-day visit to the United States, that took him from California on the West coast to Washington, DC, on the East coast. In Washington, DC, he was warmly welcomed by members of the US Congress (see our article US Congress Welcomes Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete of Sep 22, 2013).
A day after arriving in Ontario, the Tanzanian President was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the University of Guelph in Ontario. The visit to the University of Guelph may have been well chosen and falls in the political line of promoting the resources of Tanzania. The University is specialized in agriculture, water resources , and international trade; and Tanzania wants all that expertise. The Tanzanian President was accompanied by Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa, Minister for Education and Vocational Training and Bernard Membe , Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The meeting was widely attended by the Tanzanian community living in Canada along with officials of the Embassy of Tanzania in Ottawa, Canada.
The University of Guelph has several activities in Tanzania and its officials, including the University President, Dr . Alastair Summerlee, and the University Vice President, Dr. Kevin Hall, have visited Tanzania on several occasions during last year alone.
The crisscrossing of the American continent by the Tanzanian President reinforce his status as the darling of the West. In late August 2013, he also made the trip in Europe where he was received with high honors by Austrian President, Heinz Fischer, the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso and the President of the Forum Alpbach, Heinz Fischler.
Rwandan General Paul Kagame Following in Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete’s Footsteps.
As the Tanzanian President Kikwete was leaving Canada, Rwandans living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada were busy preparing for the visit of General Paul Kagame of Rwanda. General Kagame’s visit is highly anticipated: Rwandan opposition leaders based in North America have vowed to organize an unprecedented protest against the visit. They accuse the Rwandan leader of being a dictator, and responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in the Great Lakes Region. They also accuse him of dispatching killers in the West to target opposition leaders (here).
Apart from the Rwanda opposition, The United Nations Security Council has also accused Rwandan military and political leaders of founding, funding and reinforcing the M23 Congolese rebels, accused of war crimes, mass rapes and cleansing in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Hence, the visit to Canada by the African leaders epitomizes how the West views the two: a contested and discredited Rwandan General Paul Kagame whose star may be waning, and the new darling of the West, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, whose star is only starting to shine.
The contrast may be significant, as the two have also become nemeses in the last months (see our articles: Relations Between Rwanda and Tanzania Have Soured, President Jakaya Kikwete Says of August 2, 2013).
After Canada, the Tanzanian President flew to New York City where he attended the United Nations General Assembly. On September 24, 2013, The Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and his wife Salma Kikwete met the US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in New York City. Afterwards, he was received by Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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