President Kagame sacks health minister over corruption

Tuesday July 12 2016

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame today sacked the country’s Health Minister Dr Agnès Binagwaho, whose five-year term has been ridden with scandals.

Social media users woke up to the news of the sacking of the minister, some tweeting ‘finally’, as the firing letter signed by the Prime Minister made rounds.

“In accordance with the Constitution as amended to date, specifically article 116, President Paul Kagame has removed from cabinet Dr Agnès Binagwaho,” the short statement signed by Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi reads.

Dr Binagwaho has been heading the health docket since May 2011 after she was elevated from the position of Permanent Secretary but her tenure has been ridden with major scandals over the years even as she held on the position.

Her sacking comes at a time when there has been growing concern in the health sector, with the latest upsurge in malaria and mismanagement of health facilities playing a major factor in her sacking.

Singled out the health ministry


The resurgence of malaria has been blamed on the government procurement of 3 million substandard mosquito nets which cost the country more than $15m in 2013.

The Auditor General, Mr Obadiah Biraro, in his 2015 report, also singled out the health ministry and its linked institution Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) as some of the government bodies with gross mismanagement of resources.

An ongoing audit in the Ministry and RBC has nipped in the bud key officials, some of whom have been arrested or sacked from government service over the last couple of months, in what turns out to be a multimillion corruption scandal.

“Dr Binagwaho protected some people during the ongoing audit, people considered to be close to her and did not want them to be investigated or arrested,” a source told The East African.

The sacking of Dr Binagwaho comes after the Cabinet expelled from government service Dr Corine Karema, who headed the malaria department, and Nathan Mugume, who was the director of Rwanda Health Communication Centre at RBC, on June 24. The two were also implicated in the ongoing audit.

According to sources, the mismanagement at the country’s biggest referral hospital King Faisal Hospital (KFH) has been a point of concern.

In April this year, the government ceded management of the hospital to Oshen Healthcare, which promised to invest 21 million Euros (about Rwf17 billion) to overhaul the hospital and turn it into a multi-speciality regional referral facility.