August 5, 2019

Kigali City Gets Acting Mayor As Government Begins Implementing New Law

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City of Kigali has an acting mayor Parfait Busabizwa, who has been the vice mayor for finance and economic development. He will also keep his job.

The City Council this Monday voted Busabizwa as interim mayor, as government prepares to implement the new law governing Kigali which came into force last week. President Paul Kagame assented to the law, that completely changes Kigali as it had been known for years.

At a ceremony held Monday, outgoing mayor, now ambassador to Switzerland Marie Chantal Rwakazina, handed over office to the interim replacement.

City Council chair Athanase Rutabingwa presided over the handover at city hall. The chair told media that mayoral elections are being organized, but declined to give details.

Once the polls are held, the City Council itself will reduce from current 33 individuals elected from a complicated mechanism. The new Council will have 11 members: a man and woman from each district making it 6 elected Councillors, and 5 professionals appointed by Presidential Order.

The mayor will be elected as has been done, right from the village level. Mayor will have two assistants: the Vice Mayor of the City of Kigali in charge of Urbanisation and Infrastructure; and the Vice Mayor of the City of Kigali in charge of Socio-economic Affairs.

A new office, called the City of Kigali Management Office is going to be established, headed by City Manager who is appointed by the Prime Minister. This official is the accounting and budgeting officer of the whole City of Kigali.

The districts of Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Gasabo – which have been having elected mayors, will each now get an appointed District Executive Administrator. These officials will be charged with implementing what has been planned from the City of Kigali HQ and City Hall.

However, one change could bring a new fight: the location of the HQ of Kigali. In the law, the location will be determined by Presidential Order.

Currently, the HQ and City Hall are located in Nyarugenge district, with a magnificent complex. But as the situation stands now, the new electee Mayor and his or her team may be required to move. A lot of issues are expected to arise.

What is clear from the law is that the candidate who will scoop the mayoral office, will wield enormous powers as they will control all aspects of Kigali.

Government is yet to release a detailed scheduled of when all Kigali’s officials will be in place.

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