Rwanda President Paul Kagame and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa are among 21 heads of state invited for President Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony, Chimpreports has learnt.
The other leaders invited for the May 12 ceremony include Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir and DR Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi. Also invited is Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea), Emmerson Mnangagwa(Zimbabwe) and Edgar Lungu (Zambia).
Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo, while addressing journalists on Tuesday at the Uganda Media Centre, confirmed the invitations but did not give details.
“His Excellency the President has extended invitations to 42 heads of state both from Africa and the rest of the world, and so far 21 have confirmed attendance,” she said.
However, sources on Tuesday confirmed the names of the invitees to this website. But the source was non-committal on whether Mr Kagame will attend the function.
“Yes, the invitation was sent to him through our diplomatic mission in Kigali (Rwanda’s capital). On whether he will attend or not, I can’t tell,” the source who refused to be named, saying he is not a government spokesman, said.
The invitation comes on the backdrop of strained relations between Uganda and Rwanda, with Kigali closing its borders with Kampala, accusing the latter of funding groups to destabilise their country. Since the standoff, mediation efforts led by Angola and DRC are yet to bear fruit.
Asked whether the invitation is part of Kampala’s signal to improve relations between Museveni and Kagame, the source said: “No doubt about that. The President sees Kagame as a brother and such disagreements cannot separate the two countries.”
On Tuesday, Mbayo told journalists that in line with Coronavirus restrictions, the number of guests has been reduced to only 4042 people during the swearing-in ceremony at the Kololo Independence grounds.
“The function is therefore strictly by invite. The rest of Ugandans will watch the proceedings on all our national television and radio stations. “All invited guests will undergo Covid-19 tests before attending the function and all procedures of undertaking those tests will be communicated to them by the invitation committee that has been put in place. Those that are coming in from outside Uganda will also be catered for to observe SOPs both in terms of transport and accommodation,” Mbayo added.