When President Paul Kagame made a major cabinet reshuffle on the evening of Monday, November 4, 2019, social media was awash with mixed analyses.
Discussions were allover – that even some WhatsApp groups remained active throughout the entire night – analyzing the newly appointed officials.
The talk was hot, as President Kagame reshuffled both his cabinet and the Army – in his powers as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Dr Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya
When the name Dr Jean d’Arc Mujawamariya was read on the list of the appointed cabinet Ministers, those within the education sector heard it loud, but this time, Mujawamariya – a seasoned academician, was not coming back to education – a sector she served in different capacities.
Prior to being appointed the Minister of Environment, Dr Mujawamariya was Rwanda’s envoy to Russia – a country where she earned most of her academic accolades.
From 2003 to 2006, Dr Mujawamariya served as Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education.
In 2006, she became the minister of education up to March 2008, before she was appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of Gender and Family Promotion – a post she occupied until March 2011 when she became the Vice-Chancellor /Rector of the former Kigali Institute of Science and Technology.
Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya, 49, was at the helm of the institute until March 1st, 2013 when she was appointed by President Kagame Rwanda’s envoy to Russian Federation.
Gen Patrick Nyamvumba
Prior to his appointment as the Minister of Internal Affairs, General Patrick Nyamvumba has been the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) – a position he held since June 2013.
Before becoming CDS, Gen Nyamvumba was the Force Commander of the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from 2009-2013.
General Nyamvumba, 52, has held various Staff and Command appointments in the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) including Commander of Infantry Battalion, Mechanized Infantry Regiment and Infantry Brigade in 1995, 1996 and 1997 respectively.
Between 1998 and 1999, he served as Chief of Operations, Plans and Training at the Defence Headquarters. General Patrick Nyamvumba also served as the Commandant of the Force Preparation Centre between 2004 and 2006.
Other relevant responsibilities in his Military career include the Chairperson of Rwanda Defence Establishment Committee, Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Defence Budget, Project Coordinator for the establishment of the Rwanda Defence Academy and the Focal Point for AU/UN operations, including MoU negotiations on behalf of the Government of Rwanda.
He was also Chief of Logistics. General Patrick Nyamvumba is a graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy. He also completed National Security Studies at South African Defense College in 2003.
The new Minister of Internal Security is also a recipient of the following awards; National Liberation Medal, Campaign against Genocide Medal, Foreign Campaign Medal, Presidential Inauguration Medal, Peace Support Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Command Ribbon, Community Service Ribbon, Order of the Nile Medal and Long Service UN Medal.
Dr Vincent Biruta
For those who had sought refuge at the Parliamentary Building in Kimihurura during the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, the name Dr Vincent Biruta sounds more familiar.
It was difficult to access any medication to people who were rescued by Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) fighters who rushed them to Conseil National de Development (CND) building, now Rwanda’s parliament.
The parliamentary building had been occupied by 600 RPA fighters in the famous 3rd Battalion. In the building were also members of the RPF political wing that would form part of the interim government as provided in the Arusha Accord.
Vincent Biruta, a medical doctor then, was also rescued with his two children, his wife, a guest and several neighbours from his residence, opposite the parliamentary building.
In the building, Dr Biruta began treating the sick. Today, those who survived, know him better. But this was just a start of his political career.
Born on July 19, 1958, Minister Biruta has served as the Minister for Environment since 31 August 2017.
Prior to joining Environment Ministry, the new Foreign Affairs Minister served as the Minister of Natural resources, since 24 July 2014.
From 1997 until 1999, he served as the Minister of Health, before serving another year as the Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications.
Dr Biruta also served as the President of the National Transition Assembly from January 2000 until 2003.
From August 2003 until October 2011, Minister Biruta served as the President of the Rwandan Senate.
In December 2011, he was named the Minister of Education, until July 2014, when he was named Minister of Natural Resources.
The new cabinet is joined by a man known as a Rwandan award-winning filmmaker, Poet, Actor, Public Speaker and Art for Peace Founder; a Member of Parliament and the Chairman of the National Itorero Commission – on top of being a peace activist.
The New State Minister in the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Edouard Bamporiki is well known for mastering vernacular language – Kinyarwanda. Whenever he speaks, everyone listens – despite his strong terminologies hardly decoded. He is also known for entertaining the audience.
Rose Mary Mbabazi
State Minister Bamporiki will work under his senior – Minister Rose Mary Mbabazi – who joined the Cabinet as Minister of Youth since 31 August 2017.
In February 2012, she was appointed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and ICT. She also served as the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Community Affairs.
From 2009 until 2011 Minister Mbabazi served as the Head of the Investment Promotion Department in the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).
From 2013 until yesterday, the new State Minister in the Ministry of Local Government in charge of social affairs, was a Member of Parliament, Chamber of Deputies.
Prior to becoming a Member of Parliament, she served as a commissioner in the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission.
She also served as the head of the Swiss Foundation Mission dedicated to safeguarding the dignity of detained children under 18 years.
She was also Coordinator of the Committee to protect children as a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Expert in the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion.
The new State Minister is not new in the Ministry of Local Government. She once served as Personal Assistant in the Ministry’s Social Affairs Section.
Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju
In last night’s reshuffle, Aurore Mimosa Munyangaju was appointed a new cabinet member – heading the Ministry of Sports.
Before her appointment, Munyangaju was the Chief Executive Officer of SONARWA Life Assurance Ltd – a subsidiary of Sonarwa charged with providing services including Education Endowment Loan, Protection Assurance, Personal Pension plan; Term Assurance & Family Protection Plan, among others.
A product of the former National University of Rwanda (NUR) – current University of Rwanda, Minister Munyangaju is the best pick to head the Sports Ministry – given her long-term commitment to sports.
Basketball is her favourite sport.