Why Ministers Uwizeyimana and Munyakazi Resigned

Evode Uwizeyimana

Clause 4 of Article 4 of the 2013 Leadership Code of Conduct states that any leader particularly at the national level is prohibited from engaging “in the use of his/her position to mistreat people or to breach the laws”.

It also prohibits leaders from engaging in acts of “mismanagement” and “taking himself/herself for the institution under his/her authority” or engaging in “any conduct likely to degrade his/her integrity, or likely to jeopardize his/her position or the visibility of the institution he/she works for” as indicated in clause 12, 13 and 14 respectively.

This is the article, which modified Article 8 of Organic Law nº 61/2008 of 10/09/2008 on the leadership code of conduct is the one that led to the tendering in of resignation of two State Ministers on Thursday night.

“This evening the Rt Hon. PM Ngirente received letters of resignation from the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education [Isaac] Munyakazi & Minister of State in charge of Constitutional & Legal Affairs, Evode Uwizeyimana, to be delivered to H.E the President,” a brief tweet from the Office of the Prime Minister reads.

While technically the resignations will have to be accepted by President Paul Kagame before they are considered effective, sources say the duo is as good as done –the remaining part is considered just a formality.

The resignation of Uwizeyimana was the least surprising coming days after the flamboyant official was caught at the centre of a “push and shove” scandal which got social media baying for his blood.

Despite efforts to atone for his sins by issuing a quick apology and posing for a photo op with Olive Mukamana, the ISCO guard he was involved with in an incident that led to him pushing to the floor the female security guard at Grand Pension Plaza, the writing was on the wall –it was just a matter of time before he could resign.

A statement from Prime Minister’s office has confirmed that the State Minister in Charge of Constitution and Legal Affairs Evode Uwizeyimana resigned. This happened after he assaulted a security guard on Monday February 3rd. 

On Monday this week, a tweet by Joseph Hakuzumuremyi, a journalist, claimed that the flamboyant and outspoken Minister pushed and shoved a female security guard at Grand Pension Plaza, after she insisted that he goes through the security scanner.

The same statement also said that the State Minister in charge of Primary and Secondary Education Isaac Munyakazi also resigned.

Earlier this week, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) told KT Press that investigations to determine what happened between the State Minister and the security guard but observers had predicted that whatever the case, Uwizeyimana would have to step down, for a government not known to tolerate misconduct or impunity.

On Thursday, the Spokesperson of RIB, Marie Michelle Umuhoza told KT Press “investigations were still ongoing” but the tone could tell that a conclusion was arrived at but any action would have to be taken by the appointing authority.

“All RIB was required to do was to present the facts. Any other action was going to be taken by the appointing authority after the actions of the Minister are confirmed,” a source told KT Press.

The Monday incident was reported by journalist Joseph Hakuzumuremyi on Twitter, indicating that the Minister pushed and shoved a female security guard at the RSSB-owned building after she insisted that he goes through the security scanner.

Minister Uwizeyimana apologised but if anything, his apology attracted more criticism and calls for resignation, with some Twitter users revealing other unknown incidents in which the outspoken Minister was caught flatfooted in his conduct.

In one incident, Uwizeyimana reportedly assaulted a guard at Kigali Heights –again because the security personnel mistook him for an ordinary person and in another one, he is said to have beaten up a Chinese national with who they were involved in a road incident.

A subsequent effort to undo the damage, appearing in a photo with Mukamana and the ISCO top leadership did not help matters.

Uwizeyimana has been State Minister at the Ministry of Justice since October 2016, a position he took after serving as the Vice Chair of the Rwanda Law Reform Commission since 2014 –his first appointment after returning from exile.

The flamboyant lawyer has been involved in a number of controversies during his time in office, particularly in December 2016 when he derided Roman Catholic Church bishop, Msgr. Sylverien Nzakamwita, of Byumba Diocese during the National Dialogue (Umushyikirano). 

He is also remembered for using derogatory terms while referring to journalists, calling them ‘charlatans’ or ‘goons’, while at one point in Parliament he made comments that suggested that marital rape was ok.

“When a woman signs up for marriage, they have given their partners a right to sexual intercourse for the rest of their lives,” Uwizeyimana said, suggesting that husbands have a right to their spouse’s bodies.

The resignation of Munyakazi caught many off guard, but local media reports that the State Minister for Education has been at the centre of scandals that have rocked the ministry charged with ensuring quality of education. 

It is reported that Dr Munyakazi interfered with the process of releasing national exam results by allegedly colluding with officials at Rwanda Education Board (REB) to give a good ranking to some schools which had not performed particularly well.

Other reports suggest that the State Minister was caught in a number of personal scandals and using his power to influence things in the Ministry, exhibiting a conflict of interest.

Other sources also indicate that Munyakazi could have been held liable for the recent confusion in the language of instruction to be used in primary schools.

The former Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education Isaac Munyakazi (centre)

In December last year, the government made a U-turn on a 2015 decision to make Kinyarwanda the language of instruction from primary one to primary three under the competency-based curriculum.

The Ministry said that starting from the 2020-2021 academic year, Kinyarwanda language will no longer be used as the medium of instruction, allowing the use of other languages.  Experts said the confusion was damaging particularly for younger children.

By press time, KT Press could not verify these allegations. The educationist has been at the Ministry since 2016. The Ministry of Education has a record as one of the Ministries with the highest turnover.




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