March 20, 2019

MP Resigns After Skipping Government Retreat To Go For Prayers

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Janvier Kabeya Kanyamashuli

Details have emerged as to why Janvier Kabeya Kanyamashuli, a key Member of Parliament of the Rwanda Patriotic Front party (RPF) abruptly resigned barely six months into his 5-year tenure in the Lower Chamber of Parliament.

Kanyamashuli wrote a resignation letter to the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Donatille Mukabalisa on March 12, 2019.

However, The Chronicles has established that this was his second resignation letter.

He had apparently addressed his first letter the previous day to the Office of the President, and copied the Speaker. She informed him that he was supposed to write to her, not the President.

It is then that he wrote the second letter.

In throwing in the towel, Kanyamashuli wrote that he was leaving for “personal reasons” – wording that has become common for resigning official in the country.

When The Chronicles contacted the 56year-old former legislator, he confirmed his resignation but refused to comment any farther.
“I resigned from my office due to my personal reasons and am not in position to inform the public my reasons, that’s all,” Kanyamashuli said.

However, highly placed sources told us that Kanyamashuli resigned after coming under pressure for skipping the opening session of the 16th National Leadership Retreat─ “Umwiherero 2019”.

In the afternoon of Friday March 8, more than 250 top government and business leaders, including all MPs boarded buses to the annual retreat at the RDF Combat Training Centre in Gabiro, Gatsibo District, eastern province.

The following day, on Saturday is when President Kagame delivered the opening speech, which turned out to be hard-hitting and an indictment for his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni for supporting groups bent on fighting the country.

In the more than 2-hour unscripted speech, Kagame also addressed various other internal issues; including challenges in health, education and agriculture dockets.

According to our sources, MP Kanyamashuli did not travel to Gabiro on Friday and was not present on the opening session, and throughout Saturday.

That this could be unearthed in a group of more than 250 officials is testament to how well organized the event is.

Kanyamashuli is a member of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, whose followers close up everything from Friday evening to Saturday evening. They do not engage in anything else except prayers.

Instead of being at the retreat, he is said to have been attending prayers.

Asked whether he was at the Retreat, Kanyamashuri did not deny or confirm, only telling The Chronicles to “ask the people who told you that I didn’t attend the Retreat”.

The retreat ended on Monday evening, March 11. It is unclear what happened behind scenes and who exactly may have confronted the lawmaker, forcing his “resignation”.

Kanyamashuli was envoy to Burundi from 2006 to 2010. Prior to that, he also headed to the former National Tender Board, which is now the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority.

Before he became a Member of Parliament on the RPF part ticket in September 2018, he was the Policy and Diplomatic Adviser in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Meanwhile, the National Electoral Commission announced yesterday March 19 that Kanyamashuli’s seat would be taken up by Ndoriyobijya Emmanuel, also from the RPF.

The mechanism of Rwanda’s parliamentary election system sets out that parties provide lists to NEC before the vote. The percentage a party gets in the popular vote is translated into how many MPs it sends to the House from its list.

In case a particular MP resigns or leaves, or dies, the next candidate on the ‘waiting list’ automatically takes up the seat.

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