At least 35 Heads of Government have confirmed attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022, expected to begin the week beginning June 20.
This was revealed on Friday at a press conference ahead of the meeting which set to be hosted by Rwanda after two postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking on the preparations ahead of CHOGM 2022 which will be held under the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming,” the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in charge of the East African Community, Prof. Nshuti Manasseh, said that all is set for the meeting expected to bring together over 5, 000 delegates.
“Delegates have started arriving but we expected a bigger number of people to arrive. In general, the meeting will be attended by over 5,000 people from 53 of 54 member states of The Commonwealth. Only one country, Nauru, has excused itself because they have elections,”
“We expect 35 Heads of State and other high profile guests representing countries and organisations. We will also have First Ladies and in total we expect over 5,000 people,” Prof. Nshuti said.
He said that in the different forums of CHOGM, the focus will be on how the Commonwealth family can innovate, connect and transform better, towards achieving some of the body’s biggest goals, including protecting natural resources and boosting trade.
“Everything is set. The venues, accommodation and hospitality, social and sporting events have all been plan and organised to make CHOGM 2022 an unforgettable experience. We encourage Rwandans to take advantage of this opportunity and welcome our guests and ensure that they get great hospitality and services.
The Mayor of City of Kigali, Pudence Rubingisa said that the city has put in place all the necessary facilities to ensure that CHOGM 2022 is smooth. He pointed out that the roads that will be used during CHOGM have been completed, with a remaining few undergoing final touches.
No COVID-19 scare
The Minister of State in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Tharcisse Mpunga quelled fears that an upsurge of Covid-19 could be in the offing given the increasing number of cases registered in the past few days.
“It is true COVID-19 is still prevalent but there is a lot we’ve done to combat it. We are observing the trend, we still have a low case incident rate. When we look at the different measures we use to determine whether there is a scare or not, we notice that there isn’t much to worry about,”
“The incident rate is 1.6/100, 000 people and that is not worrisome. There are a number of things we look at, including having a good percentage of people who are vaccinated with two doses and a good number has also taken the booster doses. The cases we register are mostly asymptomatic and don’t require serious management,” Dr. Mpunga said.
He pointed out that currently there are only 4 hospitalized cases for a population of 14 million people. “We haven’t lost someone to Covid-19 since March. This gives us hope that the pandemic is under control.” he added.
Dr. Mpunga said that all delegates will be tested on arrival but he called on citizens to take responsibility and get fully vaccinated and also wear the mask where necessary, even though the government says a mask is not mandatory anymore.
The State Minister for Health said that the health sector is ready for CHOGM 2020. Treatment centres to handle all health emergencies have been established while emergency units will be on standby to deal with any health-related cases.
Prof. Nshuti said that Rwanda’s security is guaranteed and nothing will disrupt CHOGM 2020, pointing out that the situation with DRC will not in anyway affect the meeting which Rwanda has been preparing to host for more than 3 years.
Reacting to an earlier border incident with DRC where Rwanda forces shot and killed a Congolese soldier who violated Rwanda’s border and shot at border security, the Government Spokesperson, Yolande Makolo said that the issues with DRC are being handled through appropriate institutions and officials from either side are communicating, but this in no way can affect happenings in Rwanda.
“Rwandans and our visitors are assured of their security,” she said, adding that there won’t be any security issues in Kigali or any other part of the country.