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Rwanda campaigns to head Francophonie group


Rwanda has launched a campaign for the presidency of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), and will try to to rally support on the continent at the next summit of the African Union in Kigali.

Rwanda’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs told a press conference in Kigali Friday that foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo has begun campaigning.

“But for now we are campaigning for this post, and we will start by seeking the support of the African Union”, Olivier Nduhungirehe said.

He added, Ms Mushikiwabo, 57, has already traveled to Cameroon to discuss her candidacy with Prime Minister Philemon Yang, and is expected to visit other African member countries of the OIF in the coming days.

She will also travel to Nouakchott, Mauritania, for the African Union summit in early July.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who also chairs the African Union, has written to the heads of state concerned to call on them to support his minister’s candidacy.

“Louise Mushikiwabo’s candidacy highlights development of the French-speaking community, and regarding differences with France, especially their role in the genocide against the Tutsi, we will discuss it during the bilateral relations”, Nduhungirehe added.

Rwanda replaced French with English as the official language in 2008. The next Secretary General of the OIF will be designated at the Francophonie Summit in October in Armenia.

The last summit, in Dakar in 2014, saw the election of Canadian Michaëlle Jean, who is a candidate for her own succession. The Haitian- born former journalist has however been singled out in recent months for her lifestyle deemed glitzy.


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