On September 19, 2023, Rwandan President Paul Kagame sat down for an exclusive interview with François Soudan, the Editor-in-Chief of the French publication Jeune Afrique. The interview predominantly focused on the thaw in Rwanda-Uganda relations after four years of tension.
Paul Kagame elaborated on why the mediation efforts led by Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, were successful. Kagame attributed the success to multiple factors. First, he stated that individuals in high-level responsibilities certainly matter, but added that the people behind the scenes also play a significant role in determining the outcomes of diplomatic efforts. Kagame emphasized that both Rwanda and its partners did their part to ensure the success of the mediation.
Kagame also hinted that Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s efforts were likely supported by his father, President Museveni. He suggested that Museveni might have conveyed messages through his son that he couldn’t directly communicate. Kagame concluded by stating that ultimately, the most important factor is the end result, which in this case, was a successful normalization of Rwanda-Uganda relations.
The interview, conducted in a period of diplomatic flux, provided crucial insights into the nuances and personal dynamics that contributed to the breakthrough in relations between the two neighboring countries.