President Paul Kagame on Monday reshuffled the country’s ambassadors and high commissioners in 15 countries in a surprise diplomatic shake up, dropping some while at the same time appointing new faces.
Among the newly-appointed envoys is Maj. Gen. Charles Karamba, the outgoing Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Air Force Chief of Staff who is now the High Commissioner to Tanzania, replacing Eugene Segore Kayihura, who is headed to South Africa.
In Pretoria, Kayihura replaces the outgoing High Commissioner Vincent Karega, who was appointed Rwanda’s Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The position in Kinshasa has been vacant since August 2017 after the then Ambassador Amandin Rugira was sent to Belgium and European Union as an envoy.
Among the surprise changes, Eng. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, who has been the Minister of State for Transport since August 2017 was appointed the country’s High Commissioner to Singapore, replacing Guillaume Kavaruganda, who has been representing Rwanda in Singapore since July 2015.
In yet another surprise appointment, Marie Chantal Rwakazina, who until now was the Mayor of the City of Kigali, was appointed Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation, replacing Dr Francois Xavier Ngarambe, who has been representing Rwanda in Geneva since 2014.
Dr Ngarambe will head to Paris, where he will replace Jacques Kabare –who was Rwanda’s ambassador to France since 2010 when the two countries had a diplomatic rapprochement and agreed to reappoint envoys.
Rwakazina was elected Mayor in May last year. Her stint at the City Hall has lasted just over a year.
Alfred Kalisa, who has been Rwanda’s Ambassador to Angola, was moved to Cairo, replacing Sheikh Saleh Habimana, who is now Rwanda’s Ambassador to Morocco. In Luanda, Kalisa will be replaced by Wellars Gasamagera.
Mr Gasamagera was hitherto to the appointment the Director General of Rwanda Management Institute (RMI).
Among those who have bounced back is Dr Aissa Kirabo Kacyira, who has been the Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General of UN-Habitat since November 2011. Prior to the UN position, she was the Governor of Eastern Province and Mayor of City of Kigali.
Apparently, when you serve as a mayor of city of Kigali, chances are, the appointing authority starts seeing in you talents of a diplomat.
Besides Kirabo and recently Rwakazina, other recent cases of people who ever served as mayors and are now in diplomatic positions include Monique Mukaruriza, Rwanda’s ambassador in Zambia and Hope Tumukunde Gasatura in Ethiopia and African Union.
Also to bounce back is Ambassador James Kimonyo, who was appointed Rwanda’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. Kimonyo replaces Lt Gen Charles Kayonga, who has been Rwanda’s Ambassador to China since February 2014.
Kimonyo, a seasoned diplomat was Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Kenya until September 2018 when he was recalled.
Prosper Higiro, who until now has been out of the political limelight, was appointed Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Canada in the fresh diplomatic shake up while Yasmin Amri Sued was appointed Rwanda’s Ambassador to South Korea.
President Kagame also appointed the economist Francois Nkulikiyimfura Rwanda’s Ambassador to Qatar, while Emmanuel Hategeka, who prior to the appointments was the Deputy CEO & Chief Operating Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), was named Rwanda’s envoy to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).