President Paul Kagame has paid tribute to U.S Senator James M. Inhofe for his productive friendship with African countries, particularly Rwanda, honouring him for his role in strengthening ties with the North American country.
On September 15, 2022, Rwanda hosted a breakfast at the U.S Capitol, in Washington D.C, in appreciation of Senator Jim Inhofe’s career and friendship with Africa and Rwanda, in particular.
In a message he sent through the Rwandan Embassy in Washington D.C, President Kagame stated that Senator Inhofe’s dedication to Rwanda has nurtured relationships that have helped strengthen the bonds between Rwanda and United States.
“We have watched you invest in learning about and understanding Rwanda and other African countries. We have also watched you educate your peers on the importance of Africa and countries like Rwanda as worthy global allies,” said President Kagame.
“You have shown that a productive relationship with the United States is mutually beneficial for our people and contributes to greater security and stronger economies,” he added.
Senator Inhofe appreciated the warm welcome he is always given whenever he travels to Rwanda. He talked about his first time in Rwanda and how President Kagame agreed to meet with them “After midnight he [President] agreed to meet with us and he has been meeting with us ever since then and we have had opportunities to do things together.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Vincent Biruta and Ambassador of Rwanda to the United States Mathilde Mukantabana presented a gift to Senator Inhofe.
Explaining the meaning of the ‘Made in Rwanda’ handmade painting gift, Minister Biruta said, “The shields and spears in this painting symbolize the readiness to defend and fight for your country. The moon and the rays symbolize power and wisdom. And the fact that these elements appear in pairs in this painting means unity.
Dr. Biruta similarly paid tribute to the Oklahoma politician, who is one of the longest serving U.S. senators, set to retire after a 28-year run in the senate, as a man of wisdom and a symbol of friendship.
“Whenever I think of Senator Inhofe, I think of a man of profound wisdom who embodies the symbol of friendship between Africa and the US. I think of a man of principles who devoted his life to public service and did it with integrity, selfless work ethic, and determination,” Minister Biruta said.
Members of the US congress who spoke in reflection of traveling with Senator Inhofe talked about his engagements with African leaders in humility and respect, all based on his faith.
African Diplomatic corps and officials from Congress, Pentagon, and State Department attended the breakfast.
Senator Inhofe announced that he would retire effective January 3, 2023, after 35 years in Congress representing Oklahoma and a career in politics spanning over 50 years.