President Kagame names little-known technocrat as PM

Wednesday August 30 2017

Dr Edouard Ngirente in Parliament where he was

Dr Edouard Ngirente in Parliament where he was sworn-in as Rwanda's new Prime Minister on August 30, 2017. PHOTO | CYRIL NDEGEYA | NMG 

By EDMUND KAGIRE
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Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has appointed a little-known technocrat to the country's second seat of power.

President Kagame named Dr Edouard Ngirente as the new Prime Minister on Wednesday afternoon.

The head of State had been expected to begin naming his new Cabinet right after taking oath on August 18, following his re-election.

Article 116 of the Constitution gives the President 15 days to appoint a Prime Minister who then has 15 days to announce a new Cabinet.

“In reference to the Rwandan Constitution as amended to date, President Kagame has appointed Edouard Ngirente as the new Prime Minister,” a statement from the president’s office read Wednesday.

In Rwanda’s political arena, little is known of Dr Ngirente who has been serving as an economic advisor to the World Bank executive director in Washington DC since 2014.

Prior to relocating to the US, Dr Ngirente served as an economic advisor in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. He took leave of absence from the ministry for a non-specific period to join the Bretton Woods institution where he has been until his appointment as Rwanda’s premier.

He replaces Anastase Murekezi, one of the longest serving Cabinet members, and who has been Prime Minister since July 2014.

Mr Murekezi, from one of the ruling RPF’s affiliate parties – Social Democratic Party (PSD), was first appointed to the Cabinet in 2010 as Minister of Labour and Public Service.

Of 22 ministers and three Ministers of State appointed in 2010, only Mr Murekezi and three others had survived.

The others are James Musoni, currently in Infrastructure, Louise Mushikiwabo of Foreign Affairs, and Gen James Kabarebe of Defence.

The majority lost their jobs or were allocated other duties outside Cabinet while others were dismissed for wrongdoing. Several dockets were scrapped off or merged with others.

Dr Ngirente, in consultation with the President, is expected to name a new Cabinet in two weeks.

According to sources privy to the details of who makes the new government, President Kagame is expected to introduce youthful members into the Cabinet, having hinted on the need for young people to take over the country’s leadership in a transition likely to characterise the next seven years.

The head of State is also expected to overhaul several key ministries.

Mr Ngirente was sworn-in in Parliament on Wednesday.