ARBEF leadership dissolved
Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has appointed an interim leadership of the Rwandan Association for the Promotion of Family Welfare (ARBEF) that will facilitate the setting up of a new leadership.
The organisation has for long been embroiled in internal wrangles resulting from a series of disagreements between the board and the executive committee with accusations and counteraccusations, including nepotism, mismanagement of funds, and interference.
The controversies saw some people lose their jobs while all the association’s business came to a standstill following the temporary freezing of the NGO’s bank accounts.
This resulted into the intervention of RGB, which has oversight of NGOs operating in the country under its attributes, which took the decision to dissolve the leadership that had controversially been elected.
The Governance body appointed a new 11-member board on an interim basis.
The new ARBEF board is now chaired by former head of the Islamic community, Sheikh Saleh Habimana, who is a commissioner at RGB.
“We have been tasked with a mandate of ensuring that we put ARBEF back in order within six month, but with the vibrant team I am going to work with, we want to achieve our goal ahead of the deadline,” said Habimana.
RGB, which had assumed NGO oversight responsibilities from the Ministry of Justice only a week earlier, has powers to help solve wrangles that may threaten to tear NGOs apart.
RGB also appointed an interim executive director in retired physician Dr Felix Kayihura.
Handing over office, the outgoing Executive Director, Dr Laurien Nyabienda, advised his successor Dr Kayihura to fast-track the process of paying employees’ salaries since they have gone two months without pay since the bank accounts were closed.
“With the facilitation of RGB, I have handed over office including finances, but I advise the new leadership to expedite the process of restoring donors’ confidence,” said Dr Nyabienda.
ARBEF is a non-profit organisation that focuses primarily on family planning and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and is the only institution that combines sexual and reproductive health with efforts to combat HIV/Aids.
The wrangles and intrigues had resulted in two factions, one led by former board chairman Dr Osee
Sebatunzi, and the other by the man who controversially replaced Sebatunzi as board chairman, Emmanuel Shamakokera, and Nyabyenda. The latter two accused Sebatunzi of mismanagement and nepotism.
Several meetings were held as both sides tried to find the middle ground but in vain. Later an independent commission, including officials from government institutions and civil society groups, was
set up to look into the issues and help find a solution.
The commission came up with a report which cited
loopholes in the management of the organization, but came short of bringing about cohesion at the Muhima-based institution.
Instead the differences took an ugly turn as the Sebatunzi-led board attempted to sack Nyabienda, but the latter resisted with the backing from several officials including Shamakokera.
A controversially convened general assembly replaced Sebatunzi and his colleagues as board members, installing a new team led by Shamakokera, and retained Nyabienda as the executive director. But that only served to worsen the situation.
Contact email: edwin.musoni[at]newtimes.co.rw