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Shuffle in local government as Rwanda prepares for major elections

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President Paul Kagame made several key appointments and changes in local government, as Rwanda prepares for major elections in July next year. 

On Thursday, the president shuffled the City of Kigali council and moved Pudence Rubingisa, former Mayor of the City of Kigali, to the new Governor of Eastern Province, replacing Emmanuel Gasana who is currently battling charges of abuse of office. 

A statement signed by the Prime Minister also announced the appointment of two members of the Council of the City of Kigali – Samuel Dusengiyumva formerly working in the Ministry of Local Government and Solange Ayanone, a seasoned journalist.

A subsequent tweet from the City Hall announced that former Mayor Pudence Rubingisa and former vice mayor Merard Mpabwanamaguru had been replaced as council members. This means that only one member of the city Executive Committee remains, the vice Mayor in charge of Socio-Economic Affairs, Urujeni Martine.

The Council of the City of Kigali is responsible for making decisions, putting in place strategies, and issuing instructions regarding matters including development strategies of the city and their implementation, as well as its budget and execution.

Incoming local leaders will enter an office bursting at the seams with citizens’ complaints, delayed projects, and social ills either induced or exacerbated by the current high cost of living and food inflation.

In particular, the leaders come under pressure to fulfill their agenda ahead of the expiry of the seven-year term, with presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2024.

Among other major appointments was Cleophas Barore, who is now the Director General of Rwanda Broadcasting Agency. Mr. Barore, a seasoned journalist with decades of experience, also serves as Chairperson of the Rwanda Media Commission, a media self-regulatory body. He replaces Arthur Asiimwe, who was proposed as Deputy Chief of Mission in the Rwandan embassy in the United States of America.

The statement also announced the appointment of Valens Uwineza as the Director of Cabinet in the Office of the President, replacing Urujeni Bakuramutsa, who became the Ambassador-designate to Jordan. Lawrence Manzi was redeployed as Ambassador-designate to Brazil from his position as the first counselor at the Rwandan embassy in the US. 

Other appointments include Felicien Usengumukiza as Deputy Chief Executive at the Rwanda Governance Board and Willy Mugenzi as Chief Operations Officer of Rwanda Cooperation Initiative. Stella Nteziryayo was appointed Chief Economist at the Ministry of Finance, and Anita Kayirangwa became Secretary General of the Supreme Court. Eric Uwitonze Mahoro was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of National Unity and Civic Engagement.

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