Professional footballer Kagere Meddie who plies his trade with Kenyan football giants Gor Mahia sworn in on Tuesday to officially acquire Rwandan citizenship.
The swearing in ceremony was held at Nyarugenge District headquarters. Kagere was expected to swear in on Mondayalongside other footballers but due to a delayed flight from Nairobi, Kenya, immigration authorities agreed to shift his swearing in process.
Kagere joins other footballers namely Hussein Cyiza (Mukura VS), Jimmy Mashingirwa ‘Mbaraga’ Kibengo (AS Kigali), Andre Fils Lomami (Kiyovu) and Peter ‘Kagabo’ Otema (Musanze) who have formally completed their naturalisation process.
The quartet acquired their Rwandan citizenship on Monday in an event conducted by Directorate of Immigration and Emigration at the City Hall, Kigali.
Speaking to the media after the swearing in ceremony, Kagere said, “I thank God for having reached this step. Rwanda is my home, even though I was born in Uganda. I loved this country and I was always confident that one day I will acquire full citizenship,”
“I passed through a rigorously process to acquire Rwandan citizenship but I never gave up but I am so thankful and grateful to everyone who helped me through this process. I am now a Rwandan, it’s my responsibility to play my role in the development of this lovely country. I will available to support my nation in anyway and whenever asked to do so,” added Kagere.
Kagere, who earned his first cap for Amavubi in 2011 and went on to score ten goals for the national team, was one of the players who were stripped of citizenship a few years ago after it emerged that many foreign players had acquired Rwandan passports illegitimately.
The 32-year old, originally from Uganda, has previously played for several Rwandan clubs, including Rayon Sports, SC Kiyovu Police FC and the now-defunct Atraco FC. He also featured for Uganda’s Mbale Heroes and Masaka LC, as well as Tunisian side Esperance Sportive de Zarzis.
The decision to withdraw citizenship from more than 60 footballers came after Rwanda was disqualified from the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for using a player with double identity – striker Dady Birori, who also holds a Congolese passport under the name Agiti Tady Etakiama.