Is the Lusaka great lakes regional summit being shunned?

Kagame. Is he coming?

Kagame. Is he coming?

At nine hours local time, a few minutes after writing this article, Zambian president Rupiah Banda will officially open the Great Lakes Region Summit at Mulungushi International Conference Center.

But by that time, only five presidents would have been in attendance. These are Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, Kenya’s Mwayi Kibaki, Uganda’ Museveni and the prime minister of the Central African republic plus the host Rupiah Banda.

Other invited presidents have not come though the organizers were still hopefull that most of them would attend. By 08 00 local time, no head of State was set to arrive this morning.

There will be some former presidents like General Obasanjo former Nigerian President and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania.

The DRC in particular was supposed to takeover the chairmanship of the IGRC ministerial committee but the mantle was given to Zambia. The reason was that the bulk of the issues to be discussed at the summit will be in relation to DRC so the country will not be impartial if it chaired.

But apparently DRC  leader Joseph Kabila has preferred to play host to USA secretary of State Hilary Clinton.

The other person who was invited to the conference was UN secretary General  Ban Ki Moon but it appears he did not respond.

The heads of state and government that make the core group are from Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Congo Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

It would have been expected that presidents from problematic countries like Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Congo Brazzaville etc attend without fail.

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has the objective of finding a lasting solution to the multiple and endemic problems facing the region and to create a conducive environment and tools for security, stability, reconstruction and development.

The participating heads of State are expected to launch the regional centre for good governance, democracy, human rights and civic education.

It is possible that other presidents may still fly in but they will certainly miss the official openning by presidetn Rupiah Banda.

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