Rwandans who will be the centre of focus in 2015

Friday December 26 2014

Infrastructure Minister James Musoni. PHOTO |

Infrastructure Minister James Musoni. PHOTO | FILE 

By A Joint Report, Rwanda Today

At the end of 2013, Rwanda Today came up with a list of public figures who were likely to be the centre of focus for what they were expected to deliver.

It turned out that some of the highlighted officials could not last the mile. Some were dropped or reshuffled. The following will be in the limelight in 2015, with a lot expected from them.

James Musoni

The government reshuffle in July was seen as President Paul Kagame’s strategic move for 2017 by moving men and women known to deliver to vital dockets.

James Musoni, a close confidant of the president, is a known performer. Moving him to the Infrastructure Ministry, analysts said, was aimed at “making things work” in a ministry that had fallen short on delivering on vital energy and infrastructure projects.

When the under-fire Prof Silas Lwakabamba moved to another unstable office, Education, the ministry had seen a record nine ministers since 2001, including some who fell by the wayside.

Rwanda hopes to generate 563MW of power by 2017 from 155MW and push access to electricity from 22 per cent to 70 per cent by then.

Mr Musoni has been courting private investors in regional and domestic projects such as the 80MW Rusumo Hydro-Electric project, 147MW Rusizi III Hydro project, 200MW methane gas concession from Lake Kivu and potential geothermal prospects.
He will also need to ensure efficiency at a ministry riddled with accountability issues.

Francis Kaboneka

Mr Musoni’s successor at Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, is a vocal, youthful former MP who rose through the RPF ranks and is considered a major mobiliser and a hard worker who was “handpicked” for bigger things.

He swiftly moved to shake up things administratively, demanding accountability and openness in addressing service delivery at the grassroots.

Under pressure, a couple of mayors — Protais Murayire of Kirehe District and Willy Ndizeye of Gasabo and his two deputies — threw in the towel. The no-nonsense Mr Kaboneka speaks to the people directly, passing off as “a man of the people.”

Oda Gasinzigwa

While the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion may pass off as an “ordinary ministry,” the recent national debates on issues related to the breakdown in society and family fabric in Rwanda puts Oda Gasinzigwa in the firing line.

President Kagame has regularly spoken against against human trafficking, a vice that mainly targets young Rwandan girls who fall for lucrative job offers in foreign lands only to end up in sexual slavery.

Another major challenge is family breakdown, with many cases of divorce, domestic violence and concerns of adultery among married couples.

Also raised at the 12th National Dialogue was the concern that the youth are increasingly abusing drugs and alcohol and young girls married off to much older men.

Dr Gérardine Mukeshimana

Since replacing Dr Agnes Kalibata at the Ministry of Agriculture in July, Dr Gérardine Mukeshimana has kept a low profile, leaving her youthful state minister Tony Nsanganira to do most of the talking.

The PhD holder has to turn around declining agriculture fortunes following a poor harvest last year and increase arable land for food crops.

Dr Agnes Binagwaho

The Rwandan Demographic and Health Survey shows that more than 40 per cent of Rwandan children under five suffer from malnutrition or stunting.

In 2013, the Ministry of Health launched the 1,000-day campaign to eradicate malnutritio; a year later, chronic malnutrition is a key challenge. As she eliminates malnutrition, Dr Agnes Binagwaho will have to address accountability issues in referral hospitals.

Fred Muvunyi

In 2013, it had been predicted that Fred Muvunyi, the chairman of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), would face hurdles in his bid to steer the media self-regulation body to operate independently without government interference.

Mr Muvunyi, known to be an independent journalist, has faced rough patches following Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority’s (Rura) suspension of BBC Kinyarwanda programming, which he questioned.

Dr Daniel Ufitikirezi

The “elitist” Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) has been in the news for reasons such as corruption scandals and failing to invest in affordable housing for its contributors.

Its boss, Dr Daniel Ufitikirezi, has to ensure that the pension body’s board is transparent and accountable.

Valens Ndayisenga

The first home winner of the Tour of Rwanda and UCI African Cyclist of the Year nominee will be under pressure to defend his title in 2015.

Frankie Joe and Arthur Nkusi

As the first Rwandans in Big Brother Africa television show, the duo will be expected to take advantage of the continental fame to up their careers.