Who is who in the new Senate?

The new President of the Senate, Dr Augustin Iyamuremye./ All photos by Kwizera Emmanuel

President Paul Kagame on Thursday presided over the swearing-in of 20 new senators during a session in which the senators voted for the new Bureau – consisting the Senate President and his two Vice-Presidents.

The 20 senators will work with six members of the old senate under the principle of continuity of the Upper Chamber. The six senators will be replaced next year.

We bring to you the profiles of the new senators – majority of whom from the academia background who will be in the House for the next five years.

Augustin Iyamuremye

The new President of the Senate, Dr Augustin Iyamuremye, 74, is a vastly experienced senior politician from the Social Democratic Party (PSD).

His political career spans over four decades. Since 1994, he served in different Cabinet portfolios, including Agriculture, Information, and Foreign Affairs.

He also served as a senator in the First Senate for a full eight years and also as a presidential advisor, among other roles.

Iyamuremye bounced back in the Upper Chamber after he was tapped among the four nominees by President Paul Kagame.

Until he was named to senate, Iyamuremye was serving as the Chairperson of Rwanda Elders Advisory Forum (REAF), a role reserved for people who have proven experience and ability in solving national challenges.

Espérance Nyirasafari

A trained lawyer, Espérance Nyirasafari was this week voted as the new Senate Vice-President in charge of Legislation and Government Oversight.

Before being appointed by the President to Senate, Nyirasafari was serving as Minister for Sports and Culture. Before that, she was the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion.

She has also previously served as a permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice.

Before she joined government, Nyirasafari worked as a prosecutor with national competence.

Alvera Mukabaramba

Before she was voted as the new Senate Vice-President in charge of Finance and Administration, Mukabaramba was the State Minister for Social Affairs and Community Development in the Ministry of Local Government for eight years.

A pediatrician by training, 59-year-old Mukabaramba’s political career kicked off in 1999 when she first became a member of the National Transitional Assembly serving through 2003.

From 2003 until October 2011, she was a member of the Chamber of Deputies.

Until her appointment to the Senate. Mukabaramba is the president of Party of Progress and Concord (PPC).

Mukabaramba has also had two unsuccessful bids to for the presidency; in 2003 and in 2010.

Leatitia Nyinawamwiza

Born in Musanze District, 47-year-old Nyinawamwiza is an educationist. Until her election, she was the Principle of the University of Rwanda’s College of Agriculture, Animal Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.

She holds a Doctorate in Sciences from the Faculté Universitaire Notre-Dame de la Paix- Namur in Belgium.

Faustin Habineza

Habineza was born in Burera District, Northern Province.

The 60-year-old holds a PhD degree in Mathematics Education from University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. He got his Masters’ degree in Mathematics from University of Sherbrooke, Canada.

From 2016 up to when he was recently elected among the two senators that represent Nothern Province, Habineza was a lecturer in at the Musanze-based Institute of Applied Sciences (INES).

Pélagie Uwera

Born in Southern Province’s Nyaruguru District, has been a Commissioner in the National Electoral Commission (NEC) since 2012. The 45-year-old holds a Master’s degree in development studies from the Kigali Independent University.

She joined the house as one of the representatives from Southern Province.

Adrie Umuhire

Umuhire was born in Huye District, Southern Province. The 42-year-old holds a Master’s Degree from the National University of Rwanda.

Until she was voted into office, she was a Lecturer at the University of Rwanda where she was attached to the languages department. She taught English.

Innocent Nkurunziza

Born in Southern Province’s Huye District, Nkurunziza holds a Master’s degree from the Netherlands’ Maastricht School of Management.

The 58-year-old was the head of Corporate Management, Monitoring and Evaluation Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister at the time of his election.

Before joining government he was an educationist where he was head teacher at Groupe Scolaire St. Jean Baptiste Cyahinda, a Catholic Church-run school based in Nyaruguru district.

Nkurunziza has also previously worked in the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission.

George Mupenzi

Mupenzi hails from the Southern Province’s Kamonyi District. The 63-year-old holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Université Libre de Kigali.

Until being elected into the Senate, he was an independent consultant in capacity building, a profession that he took on in 2015.

John Bonds Bideri

By the time he was elected, he was the Executive Director of Rwanda Rural Rehabilitation and Amizero Training Centre. The 51-year-old holds a Bachelor of Science from Uganda Martyrs University.

Fulgence Nsengiyumva

61-year-old Nsengiyumva was until last year the Minister of State in Charge of Agriculture.

Born in Nyagatare District, Eastern Province, he holds a degree in agricultural engineering from the National University of Rwanda.

Until he was voted into office, he was a Senior Advisor in RPF, a position he has held since last year.

Nsengiyumva has also previously served as a prefect of the former Gitarama Prefecture.

Marie Rose Mureshyankwano

From 2005 to 2016, Mureshyankwano was member of the lower chamber of parliament.

From 2016 to 2018, she was the Governor of Southern Province.

She hails from Nyabihu District, Western Province.

Until her election, she was an advisor in RPF, a position she has held since 2018. The 50 year old holds a Masters of Degree in Development Studies from the Independent University of Kigali (ULK).

Emmanuel Havugimana

63-year-old Havugimana was born in Nyamagabe District in Southern Province. He holds a PhD from Sweden’s Göteborgs Universitet.

He has over the years been involved in different areas of education. At the time of his election, he was a lecturer at the University of Rwanda.

Lambert Dushimimana

Born in Rubavu District, Dushimimana holds a Master’s Degree from South Africa’s University of Pretoria.

The 48-year-old was the Head of Department/Legislative Drafting and Translation in Rwanda Law Reform Commission at the time of his election.

He had held the position since 2015.

Juvénal Nkusi

Nkusi, 64, comes to senate with a rich history of doing legislative work.

Until his decision not to seek re-election in last year’s Chamber of Deputies elections, Nkusi had been the longest-serving Member of Parliament having joined the Lower Chamber more than two decades ago.

He joined Parliament on November 25, 1994, when the Transitional National Assembly held its first sitting, serving as the first post-Genocide House Speaker until 1997.

He’s particularly remembered for presiding over grueling accountability sessions as PAC chairperson.

Nkusi was part of the team that prepared the PSD’s initial manifesto when it was being created in 1991.

William Ntidendereza

Ntidendereza was born in Rwamagana District, in Eastern Province. The 69-year-old holds a degree from Burundi’s Université du Burundi.

From 2013 until 2018, he was the Secretary General of the National Itorero Commission.

Prior to that, he was the Mayor of Kicukiro District.

At the time of his election, he was doing consultancy work.

Ephrem Kanyarukiga

Kanyurikiga was born in Ngoma District in Eastern Province. The 68-year-old holds a Doctorate from France’s Université de Paris III, Sorbone Nouvelle.

Until he was elected into the Upper Chamber of Parliament, he was an associate Professor at the University of Kigali, a position he has held since 2017.

Hadidja Murangwa Ndangiza

At 44, Murangwa holds a master’s degree in International Business Law from McGill University based in Montreal, Canada.

Until now, Murangwa was a consultant in charge of strategy and institutional stability at the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Rwanda (ICPAR).

She is a senior tax expert and legal practitioner. Murangwa has served on various boards including the Development Bank of Rwanda, the Military Medical Insurance (MMI), the National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) and Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC).

Cyprien Niyomugabo

Until he was elected into the Senate, Niyomugabo was serving as the Chairman of the Rwanda Academy of Language and Culture (RALC).

Previously, he has worked as the Dean of the School of Education at University of Rwanda - College of Education. He holds a PhD degree in Applied Languages Education, a Masters and a DEA in Linguistic Science, a BA in African Languages and Literature.

François Habiyakare

He is one of the four Senators that joined the Upper House on a Presidential ticket.

Until his appointment, Habiyakare has been serving as the president of the Board of Commissioners of the Public Service Commission.

Previously, Habiyakare served as the head of human resources in the country’s biggest and oldest beverage maker Bralirwa.

Habiyakare has also served as a minister prior to the Genocide against the Tutsi.


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