Rwanda : Kagame honors Ethiopiaâ€™s late PM with ONE-MINUTE silence
President Kagame (2nd right) speaks at an event in Ethiopia on May 09, 2012. From left looking on: Deceased PM Meles Zenawi, Tanzaniaâ€™s President Jakaya Kikwete and ex-AU commission chair, Jean Ping.Â (Photo: PPU)
In a move that surprised everybody, President Kagame on Thursday asked all people attending a major function in Kigali to stand up for a one-minute moment of silence in honor of former Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi who died on Tuesday.
President Kagame was preparing to address the inauguration of the Agaciro Development Fund, a new sovereign fund in which all Rwandans will be encouraged to put any amount of money, which will be used to finance large state projects. But before he could deliver his speech, Mr Kagame asked the conference hall including top officials and diplomats to stand up.
Sounding emotional, President Kagame said a moment of silence would be observed as a gesture of solidarity with the Ethiopian people. Premier Zenawi was not a leader for Ethiopia alone, but an eminent leader for the entire African continent, said Kagame.
â€œHe was a man of dignity,â€ said Kagame, in a low tone.
After the minute silence, President Kagame moved to his speech on the new Fund. Speaking without using the written speech, he indirectly lashed out at western critics â€“ especially donor nations, some of which have recently announced aid suspension. Critics are speaking about the new fund as a response to the aid loss, which is not correct.
The idea of setting a sovereign fund has been around for more than four years and was approved by the National Dialogue in 2010. What is happening now is only the implementation.
The latest gesture of honor to the deceased Ethiopian PM from Rwanda comes a day after President Kagame sent a personal message of condolence to the family and people of Ethiopia.