President Paul Kagame this Friday named five professionals on the inaugural Kigali City Council under a new law – whose appointment was showcased as what the City of Kigali needs.
Government is currently implementing the new law governing Kigali, which has largely centralised key operations to a small team of people led by a-yet-to-be-named Mayor. The previously powerful districts and their mayors have been reduced to implementing agencies.
Kigali’s mayor will have the City Council as the custodian of the City’s development vision.
The Council will have a man and woman elected from Kigali’s districts: Kicukiro, Gasabo and Nyarugenge – making them 6. Then there are 5 professionals appointed by the President from different fields.
In defending the changes earlier this year in parliament, local government minister Prof Anastase Shyaka said for Kigali to attain the anticipated world class status, it needs more professionals and less politicians.
Kagame’s appointees to the Council are not household names. They have been picked from the academia, business and civil service.
They are: Dr Jeannette Bayisenga, Gentil Musengimana, Gilbert Muhutu, Regis Rugemanshuro, and Dr Ernest Nsabimana.
Dr Bayisenga is the Director of the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Rwanda. She has also been chair of Gasabo district Council. The youthful Mugemanshuro is the Chief Digital Officer at BK Group Plc and heads TechHouse, the technology arm of Rwanda’s biggest bank.
Geotechnical engineer Dr Nsabimana is the Principal of IPRC West based in Karongi district, one of the country’s five top polytechnic colleges.
Muhutu, an accounting professional and principal inspector with the National Bank of Rwanda, has also been chair of the Nyarugenge district Council.
Their new jobs, though coming with such bravado, are not permanent; but advisory. This means they wont be required to resign their previous jobs.
This weekend, there will be elections in the districts to constitute the elected Councillors.
With the Council fully constituted, next week, a new substantive mayor could be elected from among the Councillors.
However, there are many other aspects of the law that have yet to be implemented such as naming the City Manager, who is the accounting officer, and many other technical appointees to be named by the Prime Minister; such as District Administrators and deputy administrators.
Although the new law does not set the headquarters of the City, Article 7 of the Constitution says “The Capital of the Republic of Rwanda is Kigali City”.