Rwanda becomes member of Commonwealth despite being Belgian!

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by pandaplodder, Nov 29, 2009.

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  1. title should say Belgian colony originally

    Rwanda on Sunday announced that it had been admitted into the Commonwealth, becoming its 54th member and only the second never to have been under British rule.
    AFP - Traditionally francophone Rwanda on Sunday announced that it has been admitted into the Commonwealth, becoming only the second nation which was not once part of the British empire to join the bloc.
    A Rwandan government spokeswoman in Kigali told a national newspaper Sunday that its bid for membership had been accepted at the organisation's summit in Trinidad and Tobago.
    "My government sees this accession as recognition of the tremendous progress this country has made in the last 15 years," said Information Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, quoted by the online edition of the Rwandan daily New Times.
    "Rwandans are ready to seize economic, political, cultural and other opportunities offered by the Commonwealth network," she added.
    A former colony of Germany and then Belgium, Rwanda like Mozambique becomes a Commonwealth member without a British colonial past or any constitutional link to Britain.
    However, the central African nation has moved closer towards the English-speaking world over the past few years. Rwanda adopted English as an official language in 2008 alongside French and Kinyarwanda, and last year English replaced French as the language taught in public schools.
    In 2007 Rwanda, along with francophone Burundi, joined the East African Community, an economic bloc which until then had included only the anglophone countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
    These moves by Rwanda came as ties with France deteriorated.
    Kigali suspended diplomatic relations with Paris in 2006 when a French judge issued arrest warrants for aides close to Rwandan President Paul Kagame. The court accused them of being involved in the assassination of former president Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994.
    Habyarimana's death is blamed for sparking the country's 1994 genocide where 800,000 people, most of them Tutsis, lost their lives in inter-ethnic fighting led by Hutu militants.
    Rwanda has also accused France of providing support to the Hutus throughout the conflict.
    The candidacy of Rwanda, a central African country of less than nine million people, had the support of several influential members of the Commonwealth, but was opposed by a human rights group.
    The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative said in a report in July that "the state of governance and human rights in Rwanda does not satisfy Commonwealth standards."
    It raised concerns about constraints on freedom of speech and political expression in Rwanda, which "created a climate of fear in civil society," and concluded that Rwanda did not qualify for admission to the Commonwealth.
    However, some Commonwealth members like Canada argued that admission would help alleviate those concerns.
    "The Commonwealth is well positioned to assist Rwanda in strengthening its democratic institutions," a spokesman for the Canadian foreign ministry told AFP.
    [url=]France 24[/url]
  2. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    The precedent was set by Moçambique which had been a Portuguese colony.
  3. How long til Iraq and Afghanistan become members? :roll:
  4. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    Typical bloody foreigners; they just do not understand etiquette.

    The announcement should not have been made by them in the first instance!
  5. How long before we get the blame for what ever has happened in Rwanda past?
  6. It's all your fault Stacker.

    There you go, not long.
  7. Brown will rush to apologise for it, offering compensation and benefits for the "victims" of whatever the evil Imperialist English did! lol.
  8. Joking apart, this has also been announced by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

    Interesting development, although there is the Mozambique precedent. I wonder what the Belgians make of it, but I dont suppose they care.

    Strictly speaking the former Ruanda-Burundi of which Rwanda formed part was never a Belgian colony, but a former German colony (and before that two African kingdoms) which became a Belgian-administered Trust Territory after WW1, in the same way as Tanganyika was administered by Britain.
  9. Gremlin

    Gremlin LE Good Egg (charities)

    Fair one and thanks for that. It just smacked a bit of "It will be announced tomorrow......."

    Mozambique was a natural addition the Commonwealth, given its geographic position. So I suppose that Rwanda is not too much of a stretch of the imagination.

    Burundi next?
  10. Good they can replace Canada :D

    and in the meantime we can continue to process our dirty oil with impunity
    and without shame. :lol: while you suckers pour in Billions to the Copenhagen Treaty.
  11. Commonwealth ! Anachromism if ever there was one. But, I suppose the former colonies of other countries have to join in order to get aid that their former maters no longer provide.
  12. Good point. I think Rwanda had already joined the East African Community, that English has been gaining ground as an official language and that Kiswahili is also spoken, as in E Africa.
  13. As they probably haven't found any oil, I would imagine that the UK may be setting up a Overseas Branch of the Department for Work and Pensions then....!
  14. msr

    msr LE

    So how many Rwandans will be joining the army?
  15. Oh! good, somewhere else for the clunking twerp Brown to send our money in order to please the sandal wearing Islingtonistas.

    Why? Why FFS ?