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Rwanda’s Paul Kagame Flies to Angola Amid Regional Tension

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has Wednesday arrived in the Angolan Capital, Luanda for what his office said is a ‘two-day working visit.’

The presidency further announced that Kagame “will be meeting with President Joao Lourenco.”

The main objective of Kagame’s trip remains unclear as Kigali is yet to reveal more details about this development. 

However, the trip follows heightened tension between Rwanda and Uganda, with many fearing the possibility of a military confrontation.

Rwanda recently slapped a trade embargo on Uganda, blocking goods at the common border of Gatuna. 

Kigali accused Ugandan security services of harassing Rwandans in Uganda, a claim Kampala denied. Kampala said law-abiding Rwandans should not fear visiting Uganda.  

Rwanda’s relations with its neighbours Burundi have also been deteriorating in recent years, with President Pierre Nkurunziza accusing Kagame’s government of funding the failed coup in Bujumbura and destabilizing his country. 

In Angola, Kagame is expected to seek deeper bilateral ties with President Lourenco, a former Defence minister in the government of Eduardo Dos Santos.

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Eduardo was close to Laurent Kabila, the father of Joseph Kabila, whose reign was fought by Kagame and President Museveni. 

It was the Angolan military that stopped the Rwandan armed forces from capturing Kinshasa to topple Kabila Sr. 

Kagame (L) in a chat with Lourenco

During the rebel M23 conflict, Malawi, DRC, Tanzania and South Africa mobilized forces to flush the militants from Eastern DRC. 

Angola took a neutral stand in the conflict but it is said her special forces were ready to battle M23 rebels if they had decided to move beyond Goma to attack Kinshasa. 

Rujugiro 

Angola remains a key member of SADC where exiled Rwandan billionaire Tribert Rujugiro runs a multi-million dollar business.

Kagame recently requested Uganda to close Rujugiro’s factory in Northern Uganda, alleging the businessman was supporting rebels to destabilize Rwanda.

President Museveni last year urged Kagame to provide evidence to back his claims to allow courts take action but the Rwandan leader was yet to respond to his Ugandan counterpart’s letter. 

It remains to be seen if Kagame will ask Lourenco to shut down Rujugiro’s business in Angola. 

Due to poor relations with his immediate neighbours, Kagame will most likely try to deepen trade ties with Angola to secure an alternative market for Rwandan goods.  

Kagame recently flew to South Africa and Tanzania where he met the countries’ respective presidents. 

Kagame also received Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta who is said to have been on a mission to reconcile the Rwandan leader with Museveni. 

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