• Over the past month alone, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has made state visits to Kenya whose President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has been to five countries already namely; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda and Namibia.
  • Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame hasn’t been lame either and has been to Tanzania, Morocco and Angola.
  • Newly elected Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has quickly joined the fray and so far has been to Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.

East African region member presidents have been a busy lot lately crisscrossing the continent and raising eye-brows of what they are really up to.

With the exception of Tanzanian President John Magufuli, who rarely travels much and Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza, who appears to be increasingly isolated after he ran and won a controversial third term in office in May 2015, other heads of state in the region have been busy crisscrossing the continent.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni in Kenya

Over the past month alone, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni has made state visits to Kenya whose President, Uhuru Kenyatta, has been to five countries already namely; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Uganda and Namibia.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame hasn’t been lame either and has been to Tanzania, Morocco and Angola.

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame with his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli

Also read: Bobi Wine’s ghost comes back to haunt President Museveni while on a visit to Kenya

Newly elected Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has quickly joined the fray and so far has been to Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda while Ethiopia’s first female President Sahle-Work Zewde has been to Rwanda.

At the Africa CEO Forum held in Kigali last past week, three of the region’s presidents showed up — Kagame, Tshisekedi and Zewde.

Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde speaks at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda March 25, 2019.

The three heads admitted there was more to the visits than bilateral relations and regional integration.

The diplomatic tiff between Rwanda and Uganda, instability in South Sudan and trade are some of the issues keeping the heads of state awake at night and has been at the core of the shuttle diplomacy.

Presidents Kagame, Tshisekedi outline cooperation priorities at Africa CEO forum. (The New Times | Rwanda)

President Tshisekedi has been busy trying to iron out the tiff between Kigali and Kampala,

“I have discussed with the two presidents but I will not go into detail. What I can report is that there will be no escalation to war,” he said.

But President Tshisekedi is not just keen to occupy his time as he learns the ropes of leadership. He also has his personal agenda and seeks support from neighbouring countries against militia in his country that he has vowed to disarm.

South Sudan's president Salva Kiir.

The dispute between Rwanda and Uganda could also spell doom for both Kenya and DRC as far as logistics are concerned.

A long-term blockade would make it difficult for goods imported through the Mombasa port to reach Rwanda and eastern DRC, which Kenya is targeting together with Zambia to reverse its falling trade in the region.

Kagame and Museveni follow the proceedings of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, in Kigali.

Tshisekedi’s visits also have a business element to them and the newly elected president is also seeking regional assurances from East Africa countries that would buy electricity from his country once the potential of River Congo is fully harnessed.

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza

President Zewde on her part is keen to leave a legacy as a peace maker and is challenging all countries in the region to do more for stability. She said Ethiopia for one had decided to go back to basics in relations with neighbouring countries.

“We are seeking better relations with the north. That is what our peace deal with Eritrea signified,” said President Zewde.