Kagame drops his longest serving minister in cabinet shake up

Wednesday October 05 2016
Kagame image

President Paul Kagame. PHOTO | AFP

President Paul Kagame has made changes to his cabinet, retaining most of the ministers even as reduced the number of dockets.

The Tuesday evening reshuffle also saw Ministries of East African Affairs and Trade and Industry merged.

In the changes, the president also dropped Musa Fazil Harerimana, the longest serving minister, who was in charge of Internal Security. The ministry was scrapped and its responsibilities handed to the Ministry of Justice.

Mr Harerimana was instrumental in the campaign to amend the constitution in 2011, to allow President Kagame to contest again in 2017. He had been Minister of Internal Security since March 2006, making him the longest surviving minister in President Kagame’s cabinet.

It is not clear if his sacking had anything to do with concerns over growing radicalism within the Muslim community in Rwanda, which he is a senior member. Following the decision, the Muslim community is not represented in Kagame's cabinet.

The EAC Ministry, previously headed by Amb Valentine Rugwabiza, was merged with the Trade and Industry Ministry. Francois Kanimba, the Minister of Trade and Industry, was retained as head of the expanded docket.


Rugwabiza was moved to the United Nations as Rwanda’s Permanent Representative, replacing the embattled Richard Eugene Gasana, who was recalled in August but there are reports that he did not return home and could have sought asylum.

It was not immediately clear whether Rugwabiza will also automatically become the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, in charge of Cooperation, a post which Mr Gasana held from 2012.

New dockets

Dr Diane Gashumba was named the Minister of Health replacing Dr Agnes Binagwaho, who was dropped from cabinet in July. The docket has been vacant for more than two months.

Dr Gashumba, who was the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion, was replaced by Esperance Nyirasafari at the ministry she previously occupied. Nyirasafari was until recently a Member of Parliament.

President Kagame also dropped two of his most youthful ministers, Tony Nsanganira, who was the State Minister for Agriculture and replaced by Fulgence Nsengimana and Evode Imena, who was the State Minister in charge of Mining whose docket was scrapped in the process.

Mr Nsanganira’s sacking follows concerns of Rwanda's inability to sustain agricultural gains in the last season amid reports of hunger in some parts of the country, as well as gross mismanagement of agricultural resources reported by the Auditor General in his 2014/15 report.

President Kagame also created additional state ministry dockets, one for Constitutional and Legal Affairs under the Ministry of Justice and the other for Socio-economic development in the Ministry of Local Government.

Evode Uwizeyimana, a former vocal government critic, who returned from exile in February 2014, was appointed State Minister in charge of Constitutional and Legal Affairs. Until the reshuffle he was the vice chairperson of the National Law Reform Commission.

Governors dropped

Vincent Munyeshyaka, who was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government, was appointed State Minister for Socio-economic Development in the same ministry.

In other changes, Dr Olivier Rwamukwaya, who has been heading the Primary and Secondary Education docket, was appointed State Minister for Technical and Vocational Education and Training in the Ministry of Education. His previous position was taken over by a new entrant Isaac Munyakazi.

In the shakeup, only one out of four provincial governors retained his position.

Southern Province Governor, Alphonse Munyetwali was retained but the Governors of Northern, Eastern and Western Provinces were all dropped.

Claude Musabyimana, who was the Mayor of Musanze District, was named the Governor of Northern Province, replacing Aimé Bosenibamwe, while Marie-Rose Mureshyankwano, who was until yesterday a Member of Parliament, was appointed the Governor of Western Province, replacing Caritas Mukandasira.

Judith Kazayire, who has been was the Vice Mayor of the City of Kigali, in charge of social affairs, was named the Governor of Eastern Province, replacing Odette Uwamariya, who was appointed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government.

Emmanuel Hategeka, who was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, was dropped and appointed the National Coordinator of Northern Corridor activities. He was replaced by Innocent Safari, who was previously the permanent secretary at MINEAC.

Dr Mark Bagabe Cyubahiro, was moved from Rwanda Standards Board (RSB) to Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) as Director General.