Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has made significant changes in the command structure of his military and police force, removing Gen James Kabarebe from the powerful position of Defence Minister.
Kagame, according to a statement issued Thursday night, also dropped the long-serving police chief Emmanuel Gasana.
Kabarebe has been replaced by Maj Gen Albert Murasira, the former Chief Executive Officer of Zigama Credit and Savings Society (CSS), a microfinance institution of the army.
Murasira was earlier this year promoted from the rank of Brigadier to Major General.
His appointment as Defence Minister will take many by surprise considering his rank. Interestingly, Dan Munyuza, who has been serving as Deputy IGP in charge of Operations, takes over from Gasana who will serve as Governor of the Southern Province. Munyuza has been replaced by CP Felix Ntamuhoranye, Commandant National Police College.
Sources indicate that these strategic changes come at a time of intense security maneuvers in the Great Lakes Region.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) remains on the edge due to increased insecurity in the eastern part of the country.
On the other hand, Rwanda continues to look at Burundi and Uganda with a suspicious eye. Most importantly, the reshuffle comes after Kagame appointed a new military intelligence chief Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Nyamvumba and also fired the external security boss, Brig Gen Francis Mutiganda.
Col (Rtd) Aniclet Kalibata will now take charge of the external security docket.
Juvenal Marizamunda will serve as Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Administration and Personnel.
Regis Gatarayiha, who once served as the Permanent Secretary Ministry of ICT and also Director General of Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, has been appointed Director General of Immigration and Emigration.
Many will perceive the changes as aimed at reorganising and strengthening the security docket in light of unfolding security developments in the region.
For Kabarebe, he will now serve as the Senior Defence and Security Advisor in the Office of the President, replacing Andrew Nyamvumba. This will be seen as a demotion. Kabarebe was recently criticised for using derogatory terms to disparage Uganda, hurting relations between the two neighbouring countries. It remains to be seen if Kagame’s move is aimed at restoring the deteriorating ties with Uganda.
Cabinet Meanwhile, Kagame appointed Prof. Shyaka Anastase, an RPF ideologue as Minister of Local Government.
Former Infrastructure Minister James Musoni will now serve as Rwandan ambassador to Zimbabwe. He was dropped following an alleged sexual affair. The move is likely to be seen as a punitive action against the once powerful official whom many saw as a potential successor of President Kagame.
Dr. Richard Sezibera, who was until recently the East Africa Community Secretary General, is the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Sezibera replaces Louise Mushikiwabo who was a few days ago elected Secretary General of La Francophonie.
Claver Gatete retains his position as Minister of Infrastructure. HMs Soraya Hakizumuremyi, is the Minister of Trade and Industry while Paula Ingabire will run the ICT and Innovation docket.
NYIRASAFALI Esperance – Minister of Sports and Culture
KAMAYIRESE Germaine -Minister in charge of Emergency Management
UWIZEYE Judith, Minister in the Office of the President
KAYISIRE Marie Solange, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister in charge of Cabinet Affairs
Dr NDAGIJIMANA Uzziel – Minister of Finance and Economic Planning
GATETE Claver – Minister of Infrastructure
BIRUTA Vincent – Minister of Environment
MUKESHIMANA Geraldine, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources
MUTIMURA Eugene – Minister of Education
MBABAZI Rosemary – Minister of Youth
BUSINGYE Johnston – Minister of Justice and Attorney General
RWANYINDO KAYIRANGWA – Minister of Public Service and Labour
GASHUMBA Diane – Minister of Health
MUKABARAMBA Alvera – Minister of State in charge of Social Affairs
UWERA Claudine – Minister of State in charge of Economic Planning
UWIZEYIMANA Evode – Minister of State in charge of Constitutional and Legal Affairs
Dr MUNYAKAZI Isaac – Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education
Dr NDIMUBANZI Patrick – Minister of State in charge of Primary Healthcare
UWIHANGANYE Jean de Dieu, Minister of State in charge of Transport
Bwana NDUHUNGIREHE Olivier – Minister of State in charge of the East African Community
MUKAZAYIRE Nelly: Rwanda Convention Bureau/ CEO Rwanda Convention Bureau
MUSABYIMANA Jean Claude, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources
IRERE Claudette, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT and Innovation
Col (Rtd) KALIBATA Aniclet: Director General of External Security