Kampala- President Paul Kagame has called off the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit, saying the decision was taken after a request by a president in the region.
However, Rwanda government refused to name the president who reportedly requested for postponement of the summit scheduled to take place on November 30. Rwanda said another date will be communicated.
Rwanda’s state minister for East African Community Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe, yesterday denied the meeting was called off because of the current friction between Rwanda and Uganda.
“President Kagame received the Secretary General of the EAC and I was in that meeting on Saturday when he informed us that a head of state had requested for the postponement of the meeting,” Nduhungirehe told Daily Monitor by phone from Kigali.
When asked who the president was, Mr Nduhungirehe refused to reveal the name, saying it was “a private conversation” between the two presidents.
However, he insisted it is neither the Rwandan nor Ugandan leader.
Mr Nduhungirehe had earlier on Monday written to EAC Secretary General Libérat Mfumukeko, saying a new date for the summit would be communicated later after consultations between EAC heads of State.
“However, the meeting of senior officials, coordination committees and the third council of ministers as the business and investment summit shall take place as initially scheduled,” he said.
Mr Kagame has presided one of the most tumultuous one-year tenure as the chairman of EAC since February when he took over because of the tension between Rwanda and its neighbours.
Rwanda closed its border with Uganda in February shortly after President Kagame assumed office as the EAC chair. The relations between the two countries have remained icy since. Rwanda has also had tension with neigbouring Burundi. Earlier in 2018, Burundi declared Rwanda an enemy state.
This is the second time the summit is being called off abruptly in one year.
In December 2018, it was called off after Burundi failed to attend, causing lack of quorum for the meeting.
Meeting called off
Kigali also called off a visit to Kampala for the joint Uganda-Rwanda ad hoc commission meeting, which had been scheduled for Monday this week, to discuss defusing tension between the two.
Mr Nduhungirehe told Daily Monitor yesterday that the Rwandan delegation was unable to travel to Uganda because some members of their team were not available on Monday.
When asked when they would be available, he said: “They are now available. We are waiting for Uganda to tell us the date for the meeting.”
The ad hoc commission was formed in Luanda in August by President Museveni and his Rwandan counterpart Kagame to deescalate the tension between their countries.