The Ministry of Health is committed to professionalism

The Ministry of Health wishes to clarify preposterous accusations reported in the Rwanda Focus issue of May 2, 2011 under the headline “Fights, Squabbles and Chaos in the Health Ministry.” The article published blatantly false information, aimed at defaming the ministry’s PermanentSecretary.

The Ministry of Health wishes to clarify preposterous accusations reported in the Rwanda Focus issue of May 2, 2011 under the headline “Fights, Squabbles and Chaos in the Health Ministry.” The article published blatantly false information, aimed at defaming the ministry’s Permanent
Secretary.

To begin with, the article several times incorrectly describes the process of recruitments in the Rwandan Government. For example it says that the PS, using her authority, denied Jean Gahamanyi the right to a job. The author is either ignorant of recruitment procedures in the public service or deliberately chose to disregard them.

In reality, there is an independent Public Service Commission that, at the time of the Gahamanyi’s application, was fully mandated by the government to handle all recruitment activities within public service. The Ministry of was never engaged in recruitment without the involvement, guidance and supervision of this Commission.

Mr. Gahamanyi went through this channel and the marks he scored for the job interview were publicized and are well documented not only in our Human Resources department but also with the Commission.

Clearly, Mr Kanuma neither verified the facts snor crosschecked with the Commission before jumping to his accusatory conclusion.

The article reports that the Permanent Secretary of hiring Yanick Ngenda, and later firing him without pay, an accusation that is farfetched and baseless. The truth is  that Mr. Ngenda was hired by the Ministry on a contractual basis to help the finance department offload some files that had been pending for a long time. When his short-term contract was complete, Mr. Ngenda was paid and given a recommendation letter that later helped earn him a job in another reputable government institution.

In fact, in an email he sent to the Rwanda Focus, and copied to the Ministry, Mr. Ngenda confirms that what was written was factually wrong.

He writes, “I left the Ministry of Health under normal conditions, with a supporting letter. If where I am my contract comes to end, I will return to the MOH, and it is with confidence that I will be allowed without any doubt.”

In the same story, the author quotes Augustin Rwagasore who wrote to the PS allegedly seeking her influence to help him secure a high profile job to the level of a PS or a DG. It is simply incredulous to purport that PS has the power to usurp the national appointing authority.

Conveniently, and dishonestly, the author chose not to publish the PS’ response to Mr. Rwagasore’s misplaced request in the same article in direct violation of journalistic principles of fairness and balance.

The article further makes some serious accusations including describing the PS as corrupt, without providing any evidence, an flagrant act that can only damage the reputation of an individual.

The article also misrepresents the truth behind an international conference organized by Dr. Gene Bukhman, a faculty member of the Harvard Medical School who is partly supporting the Ministry’s work to conceive the framework for non-communicable diseases. This conference was independently organized by Harvard with all rights to invite individually resource people they wanted to attend. It is for this very reason that three doctors from Rwanda were invited to present papers and discussions.

This Harvard Faculty member worked without any cost to the Ministry, in association with Harvard and only on his own salary for the work he does in Boston. The ministry is grateful for this work as it is a sign of great solidarity in the development of our health sector.

It is therefore wrong to say that there was in-fighting in theMinistry since the emails published were meant to offer
guidance on how this issue should be handled.

There numerous other outrageous accusations in the article
that we do not want to dwell on – all of which the author would have been able to get clarification on had he bothered to consult our ministry, other institutions or with individuals before publishing.

It is likely that those who provided the reporter with the
material basis for his article did this very selectively to meet their own ends. Nonetheless, it was the author’s duty to verify this information, in accordance with the principles and ethics of fair reporting demanded by his profession.

The Ministry of Health remains open to any reporter, including those from Rwanda Focus, seeking information on any issue concerning our sector.

Communications Office
MoH