November 4, 2019

Kagame Makes Changes In Cabinet and Military, PSD Party Eats Big

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Dr Vincent Biruta introduces incumbent President Paul Kagame at a campaign rally during the August 2017 polls. Though considered the second biggest party, Dr Biruta’s PSD did not field a presidential candidate, instead joining all the major parties to back Kagame. He won with a landslide.

Dr Vincent Biruta, chairperson of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) has been appointed as Minister for foreign affairs and regional cooperation – replacing Dr Richard Sezibera who is recovering in Israel.

The Biruta appointment in the mini-cabinet reshuffle announced late Monday night also brought in new names. Some ministries were broken up and new ones created.

Incidentally, Olivier Nduhungirehe, the serving State Minister in the foreign ministry in charge of east african affairs, is also from PSD party – making the diplomatic docket a PSD affair indeed.

Though considered the second biggest party, PSD did not field a presidential candidate in the August 2017 polls, instead joining all the major parties to back Kagame. He won with a landslide.

Just two weeks ago, PSD also took over the helm of the Senate as Dr Iyamuremye Augustin became its President.

Gen Patrick Nyamvumba, who has been the RDF Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), has been appointed Internal Security Minister. A cabinet reshuffle in October 2016, just before the 2017 elections – saw the removal of this ministry, which had for years been headed by Sheikh Musa Fazil Harelimana, now in Parliament. The responsibilities of this ministry have been under the Justice Minister.

Gen Nyamvumba is key confidant of President Kagame, and his appointment to oversee the police and other civilian security bodies, is a sign internal order is increasingly becoming a serious issue in Kagame’s mind.

Maj Gen Jean Bosco Kazura, has been promoted to General and named Chief of Defense Staff (CDS). He has been commandant of the RDF Command and Staff College, the military’s elite training college in Musanze district, northern Rwanda.

Dr Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya, who has been envoy to Russia, moves back to cabinet as Environment Minister, which was where the new foreign minister Dr Biruta was. Dr Mujawamariya is a former education minister herself.

The Sports and Culture Ministry has been broken up. Now, there is Ministry of sports with a new entrant into cabinet Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju.

Then there is Youth and Culture Ministry, which has been handed to Rose Mary Mbabazi, who has actually been minister for youth. Bamporiki Edouard, who has been head of the Itorero program, a national mass mobilization scheme, has been named State Minister in this same ministry.

This move is clear indication that government is keen to shape a young generation that is not too detached from cultural values amid growing decadence of values. There has also been growing concern over the low levels of Kinyarwanda language. The young cannot read or write the national language. There is also issue of drug abuse.

Dr Rose Mukankomeje, who for many years headed the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), was fired disgracefully and even prosecuted over corruption and influence peddling but acquitted, is back at the top again. She is the new Director General of High Council of Education (HEC), which oversees university education.

Meanwhile, Gen Fred Ibingira bounces back to his position as Reserve Force Chief of Staff, from which he was dismissed last year in November. Apart from speculation, no official reason has ever been revealed as to why he was suddenly dropped from a position he had held for many years.

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