The 2021 G20 summit was held in Rome, Italy, on 30–31 October 2021. It was the sixteenth meeting of G20. For the meeting, some heads of state were invited based on their role at a more global level. Among the invited guests were Democratic Republic of the Congo President Félix Tshisekedi, as the President 2021 Chairperson of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat from Chad as President of the African Commission, and Rwanda President Paul Kagame, as the 2021 Chairperson of Africa Union Development Agency - New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA - NEPAD), an economic development program of the African Union. During the meeting, a drama involving the Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame unfolded, leading to unanswered questions and speculations about his waning relevance as a political leader and power struggles in Rwanda.
Before the meeting, active interactions among leaders were expected, especially among the guests, the representatives of the permanent G20 member countries and the European Union. But according to AfroAmerica Network sources that closely followed the G20 Summit dynamics and were able to interact with close aides to some of the guests, things did not go smoothly. One major problem: the presence of the Rwandan Dictator Paul Kagame, as a controversial guest.
High Hopes in Paul Kagame's Entourage Leading to the G20 2021 Summit
According to AfroAmerica Network sources close to General Paul Kagame's office, when General Paul Kagame received the invitation to attend the G20 2021 Summit as a guest, he was very pleasantly surprised. In fact, due to on going brutal repression in Rwanda against activists, political opposition leaders, journalists, and common people, he had been the target of the criticisms from the European Union Parliament and US congress representatives (see here: Europe-Rwanda: European Union Condemns Rwandan Government for Systematic Human rights Abuses and Lack of Freedom in Rwanda and Calls for Sanctions Against Rwanda Government)
According to sources, the invite was an encouraging sign for General Paul Kagame and his closest aides. That is why he ordered the minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta, to send a diplomatic note, requesting bilateral meetings with other top leaders, aside of the G20 summit. The meeting requests were allegedly sent to US President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, France President
Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Council Charles Michel.
None of these people responded before the meeting. Hence, General Paul Kagame went to Rome in frustration, but with a plan: ambush and surprise
Tactics during the G20 2021 Summit.
The plan included ambushing the leaders and their delegates in hallways or crashing other meetings to interact with the leaders. However General Paul Kagame faced hurdles. In recent years, General Paul Kagame once a American favourite dictator, lost favor starting with Former President Donald Trump and his administration. Donald Trump, while president, met General Paul Kagame as the new head of the African Union in 2018 Economic Forum but then expelled Rwanda from tariff-free African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Current US President Joe Biden held a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate on April 22–23, 2021 but did not invite Paul Kagame, but rather invited Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, DRC’s Félix Tshisekedi, and Gabon’s Ali Bongo.
In Rome, Italy, General Paul Kagame tried hard to crash into events attended by the US delegates or to bump into them in the hallways. But, the US delegates could read the intentions of General Paul Kagame's entourage and avoided the forced meetings and ambushes, just in time. In the end, Paul Kagame was unable to meet US President Joe Biden. Yet, Joe Biden met other guests, including Democratic Republic of the Congo President Félix Tshisekedi, with whom he seemed to have a good time.
General Paul Kagame tried the same tactics with other targeted leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, France President
Emmanuel Macron, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and President of the European Council Charles Michel. He mostly failed. Only France President Emmanuel Macron shook his hand and briefly chatted him. General Paul Kagame was also able to address the media, along with Angela Merkel, who is on her way out as the Germany Chancellor.
As a consolation he spent more time with another African Union guest, Moussa Faki Mahamat from Chad, President of the African Commission
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Questions and Speculations on General Paul Kagame and Mounting Power Struggle
Now the question is: after this drama in Rome, Italy, what is next for Paul Kagame? Sources close to Paul Kagame's office who saw him on his way to Rome, Italy and back, pointed to his visibly declining health and noticeable growing frustration and wonder what may follow for Rwanda, in general.
There are already speculations that Paul Kagame is preparing his exit from power, earlier as predicted. The prospects of imminent were briefly touched upon by General James Kabarebe, the top Security Advisor to General Paul Kagame and former Minister of Defense, during a recent address to youg people. General James Kaberebe is among top military leaders suspected of no longer supporting Paul Kagame's grrip on power (see: Update on Rwanda: As Rwandan Dictator Paul Kagame's Health Declines, More Top Military Leaders Suspected of Planning a Coup Jailed or Under Close Watch)
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