Monday, September 19, 2022


Did you know that Queen Elizabeth II funeral on Monday, 19 September 2022 has drawn about 500 world leaders from more than 175 countries, with nearly two dozen from the African continent?

Twenty-one of Africa’s 54 nations are presently members of the Commonwealth. The African continent is where inquests into the former Queen’s legacy have been the most stinging. 

Queen Elizabeth II’s last visit to Africa was to Uganda, for a Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in 2007. But Yoweri Museveni, the country’s 78-year-old president of nearly four decades, did not travel to her funeral though he expressed his condolences the day after she died on Sept. 8.

Over 2000 guests, including 500 dignitaries are expected to be in attendance, and of these dignitaries are several notable African leaders. Some of the African heads of state expected to be in attendance include; South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo, newly elected Kenyan President; William Ruto, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Gabon’s Ali Bongo Ondimba, Senegal’s Macky Sall, and Comoros’s Azali Assoumani.

Major African monarchs that will be attending include; the ruler of Ashanti, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II; and King of Lesotho, Letsie III. King Mohammed VI, as is traditional, will send his brother, Prince Moulay Rachid, or his son, Moulay El Hassan. Moroccan kings never attend funerals.

Some African leaders may be absent from the event, as most of them will go directly to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which opens on 20 September.

The Ivorian delegation will be led by Abdourahmane Cissé, the secretary general of the presidency; Paul Biya and Umaro Sissoco Embaló will be represented by their respective prime ministers, Joseph Dion Ngute and Nuno Gomes Nabiam; Félix Tshisekedi by the president of the National Assembly, Christophe Mboso; Muhammadu Buhari by his vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo; and George Weah by his ambassador to the UK, Gurly Gibson Schwarz.

But what has elicited some jeering remarks is some shared pictures of African leaders in the UK for the funeral which shows Kenya’s Ruto and Tanzania’s Hassan in a bus, apparently riding to Westminster Abbey in the company of other diplomats. 

With United States president Joe Biden allowed to drive around town in his official limousine, some have questioned the decision by Africa’s presidents to appear as second class leaders on the world stage. Canary Mugume, a Ugandan journalist, described the bus ride as being akin to students riding to an amusement park.

Rwanda hosted this year’s CHOGM, a five-day event that is perhaps now best remembered for a heated moment when president Kagame went off on a BBC journalist who questioned the former rebel leader’s values and human rights record. Kagame has been a proponent of cooperation with Britain: Visit Rwanda, the country’s tourism board, has been an official sponsor of the London-based Arsenal Football Club since 2018.

And perhaps more than all other African leaders who traveled, the presidents of Togo, and Gabon had reason to be there in the flesh. In June, both became the latest members of the Commonwealth, increasing the number of African countries in the voluntary 56-member body mostly consisting of former British colonies.

Credit: penglobal

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