President Paul Kagame has dropped Richard Sezibera as minister of Foreign Affairs, replacing him with long-serving Minister of Environment Vincent Biruta, in a major Cabinet reshuffle announced Monday evening.
Mr Sezibera had been undergoing treatment since July this year and until Monday’s reshuffle, his duties had been temporarily be assumed by State Minister for Regional Affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe.
Mr Sezibera had served in Foreign Affairs having replaced Louis Mushikiwabo, who is now stationed in France as the head of the La Francophonie.
His replacement, Mr Biruta, 60, is a seasoned politician who has served in several ministerial positions, and as president of the senate.
He is also the president of the Social Democratic Party – one of the many minor parties in coalition with the ruling party, Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).
He takes over the ministry in the middle of an ongoing reconciliation process with Uganda, as the two countries seek to normalise diplomatic relations.
President Kagame also made a major change in the army by promoting Jean-Bosco Kazura, 56, to a full General and also appointing him to the Chief of Defence Staff of the Rwanda Defence Forces.
He replaces Gen Patrick Nyanvumba who served in that capacity since 2013 and will now serve as minister in the newly created ministry of Internal Security.
Gen Kazura headed the Rwandan Football Federation for two terms between 2006 and 2011.
He was arrested in June 2010 for being away without leave and for traveling to South Africa without permission – and released after spending a month in military detention.
He rebounded from his debacles later in 2013 when he was appointed Force Commander of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali.
President Kagame also returned Gen Fred Ibingira as Chief of Staff of the Reserve Force, a position he had previously held for eight years before being sacked last year.
He has replaced Lt Gen Jacques Musemakweli who is now the Inspector General of the RDF, which is a new office.
President Kagame also split the ministry of Sports of Culture into different institutions and appointed a new face, Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju as the Minister of Sports. This is her first government appointment having previously served as chief executive of a local insurance firm, Sonarwa.