Commonwealth summit opens in Rwanda amid feuds over leadership, refugees

By Jaysim Hanspal
Posted on Tuesday, 21 June 2022 18:03

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda
Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone via AP)

Political leaders from across the English-speaking world gather in Kigali this week for the first time since the pandemic to try to forge a common path forward. Instead of a show of unity, however, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is marked by a power struggle over who should lead the 54-member group and a global outcry over the British government's policy of deporting refugees to Rwanda.

The summit runs from 20 June to 25 June under the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming’. However, that future got a lot more cloudy when Jamaica announced in April that its minister of foreign affairs, Kamina Johnson Smith, was challenging the incumbent, Baroness Patricia Scotland, for the post of Secretary-General.

A former Attorney General for England and Wales, the Baroness was born in Dominica and is eligible for another four-year term. She was the first woman to assume the role, taking up her post in 2016.