KIGALI , Rwanda — Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Patricia Scotland has scoffed at efforts to replace her and has declared that she will hand over the baton to Africa in 2024.
Addressing the Opening Session of the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at the Kigali Convention Centre in Rwanda this morning, Scotland paid no regard to the attempt by Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith and Tuvalu’s former Governor General Sir Iakoba Taeia Italeli to replace her.
“To have served as your secretary general these past six years is the great honour and privilege of my life. Together, we have been friends in good times and in bad, voices for the voiceless [and] advocates for development and progress,” declared Scotland.
“We have laid the foundations for transformational change and I am determined that, when the role of secretary general rotates to Africa two years from now, I will hand on the baton with a stronger, more effective, more powerful Commonwealth than ever before.
“I have an unshakeable belief that we can take the Commonwealth to new heights, to hold our values ever closer, and set an example for the whole world. As Her Majesty [The Queen] has said, ‘It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult,” added Scotland, who has insisted that her second term as secretary general will not be over until 2024.
But critics have argued that Scotland is not guaranteed a second term, having seen her first term, which ended in 2020, extended because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The critics say that Scotland has to be replaced to breathe new life into the Commonwealth Secretariat.