Rwanda: Biden may be Breaking Away from Clinton-Obama Bromance with Kagame

By David Himbara

General Paul Kagame is not among the 40 world leaders including 5 African presidents invited by US President Biden to the Virtual Summit on Climate. This is a slap in the face because Kagame has been aggressively promoting himself as Africa’s most committed head of state to fighting for the environment. The Democrats may have belatedly woken up to the warts-and-all reality of the Rwandan strongman.

Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Paul Kagame

Whenever the United States is led by the Democrats, Rwanda’s strongman Paul Kagame feels right at home – they give him the red carpet treatment. The Democrats provide Kagame unwavering support no matter what he does at home and in the region. Bill Clinton called Kagame “one of the greatest leaders of our time.” The Obama administration urged the court to recognize Kagame’s immunity when a lawsuit was filled against him in the US.

No doubt, Kagame is looking forward to the good old days of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama Democratic administrations via Joe Biden, after Kagame was isolated by Donald Trump in the past four years. This outcome may not materialize, however. The first hint that Biden may not embrace Kagame as did Clinton and Obama is the forthcoming Virtual Summit on Climate to be held on April 22 – 23, 2021.

The Summit will bring together leaders of 17 major economies responsible for the bulk of global emissions, leaders from other countries demonstrating strong climate leadership, and business and civil society leaders. The 5 African leaders invited to the Summit are President Félix Tshisekedi, Democratic Republic of the Congo; President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon; President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya; President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria; and President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa.

The fact that Kagame was not included among leaders demonstrating strong climate leadership is slap in the face. Kagame has been aggressively self-promoting as the most committed head of state for fighting for the environment on the African continent. Towards this end, Kagame’s Rwanda was the first African country to submit an ambitious climate target to the UN, promising to cut emissions by at least 16 percent by 2030. The Biden Administration is not impressed. The Democrats may have belatedly woken up to the warts-and-all reality of the Rwandan strongman.

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