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Major cabinet reshuffle


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Copyright 2002 World Markets Research Limited;                          
November 18, 2002
President Undertakes Major Cabinet Reshuffle in Rwanda

Gus Selassie

   President Paul Kagame has carried out his first major cabinet
reshuffle since becoming the country's head of state in April 2000.

WMRC Perspective

Significance The new line-up sees the appointment of a number of new
ministers and secretaries of state (senior officials of ministries), as well as
the creation of several new ministries, including infrastructure and

Implications The reshuffle, at least on the surface, appears to be a
routine rotation of ministers, along with the introduction of fresh faces into
the government, as Kagame aims to stamp his own personal mark on the

Outlook However, according to informed sources, the reshuffle is also
the first real sign of Kagame preparing the ground for the general elections due
to be held in 2003, the first since the 1994 genocide.

   According to the communiqué released by the president's office,
the most significant change sees Charles Murigande - the secretary-general of
the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (FPR) and a close ally of Kagame - appointed as foreign affairs minister, replacing André Bumaya of the Islamic Democratic Party (PDI), who is now in charge of the civil service and Labour Ministry.
Another move sees Major General Marcel Gatsinzi - previously head of civilian and military education (intelligence actually, NDLR) and former officer under the regime of late president Juvenal Habyalimana - take over from Emmanuel Habyalimana at the Defence Ministry.
Christophe Bazivamo, secretary-general of the national electoral commission and vice-president of the FPR, has been appointed as minister of the administration of territory and information, taking over from DesirAfA(c) Nyandwi, who has left the government altogether.

   Revised Cabinet List

Prime Minister  Bernard Makuza (unchanged)

Economy, Finance and Planning Minister  Donald Kaberuka (unchanged)

Foreign Affairs and Regional Co-operation Minister Charles Murigande

Defence and National Security Minister Major General Marcel Gatsinzi

Public Service and Labour Minister AndrAfA(c) Bumaya (new)

Justice Minister Jean de Dieu Mucyo  (unchanged)

Administration of the Territory and Information Minister Christophe

Health Minister Dushimiyimana Abel (new)

Youth, Sports and Culture Minister Robert Bayigamba (new)

Gender and Family Minister Marie Munkantabana (new)

Presidency of the Republic Minister  Nyirahabimana Sorine (new)

Interior and Security Minister Jean de Dieu Ntiruhungwa (unchanged)

   Other changes see Dushimiyimana Abel named as the new health
minister, Robert Bayigamba - director of the privatisation office - taking over the youth, sports and culture portfolio and their predecessors - Ezechias Rwabuhihi and Francois Ngarambe - both sacked from the government. Another former minister, Angelina Muganza, who was previously in charge of the ministry of gender and family, has been demoted to the rank of secretary of state in the Craft Industry and Labour Ministry, to be replaced by Marie Munkantabana.

   Seven ministers have retained their portfolios, including Prime
Minister Bernard Makuza and Economy, Finance and Planning Minister Donald Kaberuka (see Rwanda: 09 March 2000: President Names New Prime Minister).

   Outlook and Implications

   The cabinet changes announced on 16 November 2002 are seen as a move
by President Kagame to consolidate his already strong grip on power ahead
of the general elections, expected to take place in the last quarter of 2003.
The current transitional period, under which the FPR has ruled since coming
to power in the aftermath of the 1994 genocide, is due to expire in July 2003,
by which time the government has to call elections. The mandate for the
transitional government, which was put in place to prepare the country for national elections, draft a new constitution and promote national reconciliation
and justice, was due to have expired in June 1999, but the government
extended it by a further four years after claiming that its objectives had not yet
been achieved (see Rwanda: 11 June 1999: Provisional Government Set to

   The government is unlikely to seek another extension this time
around and announced recently that it will hold a constitution referendum in March 2003 (see Rwanda: 11 November 2002: Government Calls Constitutional Referendum for March 2003). The new constitution, which has been in the making throughout the year, will first have to be finalised by the unicameral Transitional National Assembly (TNA) before being judged by the general public.

WMRC Contact   Gus Selassie (