The president of Rwanda’s Senate Dr Augustin Iyamuremye on Thursday resigned from his position due to health reasons according to an announcement issued by Parliament.
Dr. Iyamuremye, 76, who has been at the helm of the upper house of Parliament for the past three years and is a seasoned politician who has served in different capacities over the past three decades or so.
“Earlier today, Senate President Dr Augustin Iyamuremye submitted his resignation as the President of the Senate, and as a Senator, due to health reasons,”
“Tomorrow, December 9th, a special plenary sitting will convene to declare the Office of the President of the Senate vacant,” a brief statement from Parliament reads without revealing more details on his condition but earlier this week, he presided over a session to close the senate’s ordinary session.
Rwandans took to Twitter to wish Dr. Iyamuremye, who served in different ministerial dockets since 1994, a quick recovery while others said that they will pray for him.
A senior member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Iyamuremye, who assumed office in October 2019, has been an astute politician who served in the previous governments led by Juvenal Habyarimana and Pasteur Bizimungu and had the trust of President Paul Kagame, to to continue serving in the current government.
Known for his calm demeanor and friendliness, Dr. Iyamuremyi has been an ever present force in the government and often President Kagame publicly praised him for his leadership skills. In his resignation letter, Dr. Iyamuremye thanks President Kagame for entrusting him with different responsibilities over the years.
He was also a Senator from 2004 to 2011 and a member of the African Parliament during that time. In the Senate, Dr. Iyamuremye became the President of the Political and Governance Commission, a member of the Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security Commission and a member of the Social Welfare and Human Rights Commission.
Dr Iyamuremye occupied different dockets as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1999 to 2000 and as Minister of Information from 1998 to 1999. He was the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock from 1994 to 1998 and was also a member of the Senate from 2004 to 2011. During this period he headed a number of commissions.
Earlier in his career he served as the Secretary General of Internal Intelligence in the Prime Minister’s Office from June 1992 to April 1994. He was also the Prefect of what was Gitarama Prefecture from December 1990 to 1992, Director of Nyanza Dairy Factory from 1984 to 1990 and Professor and Researcher at the National University of Rwanda from 1977 to 1984.
A veterinarian by training, Dr. Iyamuremye was also a member of the Pan-African Parliament and was pushing for the establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly. Prior to rejoining the Senate, he was the Chairperson of Rwanda Elders Advisory Forum.
What next for the Senate?
According to the law, the Senate has up to 30 days to pick the new president but in the meantime, Espérance Nyirasafari, the Senate Vice-President in charge of Legislation and Government Oversight, will take over, pending a possible appointment of a new Senator by the President of Republic to fill the void.
Dr. Iyamuremye replaced Bernard Makuza who had concluded his tour of duty in the country’s 2nd highest office after the President of the Republic.