U.S. Delegation to Attend 30th Commemoration of 1994 Genocide in Rwanda Amid Clinton Criticism in Rwandan Media

President Joe Biden has designated a U.S. Presidential Delegation to participate in the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 7, 2024. This delegation will be led by former President Bill Clinton, marking a significant moment of remembrance and solidarity. The delegation comprises notable figures including Eric Kneedler, U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda; Mary Catherine Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Casey Redmon, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council; and Monde Muyangwa, Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Africa, U.S. Agency for International Development.

Bill Clinton, known for his longstanding relationship with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and support for the Rwandan Patriotic Front, faces a complex backdrop during this visit. Despite his historical friendship with Kagame and significant contributions to Rwanda, including the establishment of cancer treatment facilities in Butaro, Northern Rwanda, Clinton has recently been subjected to critical coverage in Rwandan media outlets closely associated with the government.

This criticism arises amid Clinton’s record of visits and support for Rwanda, raising questions about the current state of U.S.-Rwanda relations. The appearance of such critical articles on igihe.com, a platform close to the Rwandan government, suggests a nuanced shift in the dynamic between Clinton and the Rwandan leadership. In Rwanda’s media environment, where the government maintains tight control over press content, the emergence of these criticisms likely reflects a change in official sentiment towards Clinton.

The decision to send a U.S. delegation to the Kwibuka 30 ceremonies, not the first instance of U.S. representation at major events in the Great Lakes region under President Biden, underscores the importance of commemorative participation and continued diplomatic engagement. Earlier in the year, the U.S. also sent delegates to the inauguration of President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo.