By-elections to fill the vacant posts of district leaders were on Wednesday conducted by members of the District Advisory councils in different parts of the country.
In Bugesera District, Louis Rwagaju was elected Mayor while Leonear Narumanzi- a long time serving teacher- was elected Vice Mayor in charge of Social Affairs.
The election was overseen by the chairman of the National Electoral Commission, Prof. Chrysologue Karangwa.
Rwagaju, who was until recently the Executive Secretary of Gahara sector in Kicukiro district, won the elections by 255 votes, representing 93.7% of the total votes cast.
Addressing a mammoth crowd, Rwagaju vowed to work diligently for the district during his tenure.
“I will do all I can to uplift the economic standards of the district. I will never at any time, do what would drag us backwards. I commit to among other things keep our people united and work hard,” he said.
Prof. Karangwa emphasised the need for democratic elections.
“The mandate you get from the electorate gives you the chance to work for your country. If you never contest you will never expose your ideals. And remember that leadership belongs to the people, if you keep the power only to yourself,it must be known to you that you won’t go along smoothly,” he said.
The District Advisory Council chairman, Pierre Claver Kabera, thanked the electorate for the calmness and political maturity they exhibited.
“The new Mayor has been with us as a neighbour, and I don’t doubt he will deliver. Your maturity is a good start for him. Let us support him to deliver whatever he has for our district,” he said.
Rwagaju graduated from the National University of Rwanda (UNR) with a degree in economics. The post of Mayor fell vacant about three months ago after the interdiction of former Mayor Gaspard Musonera over alleged mismanagement. Julius Rukundo has been the acting Mayor.
In Kayonza District, Anastaze Barinda was elected to fill the vacant post of vice Mayor Economic planning, replacing Augustin Sibomana while in Ngoma District, Ithegene Mukangira was elected Vice Mayor in charge of Social affairs.
In Kamonyi District, Jacques Rutsinga and Claudine Uwineza were elected as the new Mayor and vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs respectively.
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) commended voters for the peaceful election exercise.
The newly elected leaders were subsequently sworn-in by Judge John Byakatonda at a ceremony also attended by the Governor Fidele Ndayisaba.
In their acceptance speeches, Rutsinga and Uwineza called for team-work and collaboration among local leaders. They also promised to work hard in order to place the district among the top performers.
The newly elected Mayor replaces Paul Munyandamutsa-who recently resigned from the post after being cited in a land grabbing scam.
Uwineza replaces Rutsinga (former vice Mayor in-charge of economic affairs) who resigned from his post to run for the mayoral post.
The governor, Fidele Ndayisaba, asked the leaders to desist from intrigue and corruption; but instead promote quality service delivery, of the district through socio-economic transformation.
The councillors expressed hope in the new team and pledged their support.
Meanwhile, in Gatsibo District, Anselme Majoro Rurangwa won the election of Mayor- while Nicolas Rwaka and Christine Mutuyemariya were elected deputies in charge of Economic Affairs and Social Affairs respectively.
Rurangwa has for the last four years been Nyagatare vice Mayor in charge of Economic Affairs. He was later appointed the Nyagatare district’s acting Mayor after Robert Kashemeza was sacked last month.
The new Gatsibo leaders replace three top former district officials who were fired over alleged mismanagement.
The elections at the district auditorium attracted two candidates for each post.
Out of 239 voters, Rurangwa garnered 226 votes beating his challenger, Agnes Bicaniro who got only 13 votes, while Rwaka (Economic affairs) and Mutuyemariya both passed unopposed.
The Executive Secretary of Eastern Province, Yusuf Mugiraneza, congratulated the new leaders upon being elected, urging them to work hard.
“You are elected to replace your predecessors who left a big gap in the district. The government expects a lot from you but remember that we are ready to replace with immediate effect those who are incompetent,” he said.
He advised them to tackle infrastructure, health and education as the most pressing needs.
Rurangwa on the other hand said: ‘The war of liberating the country was over and we are committed to stage a well organised war to achieve the district and country’s development.”
In Ngororero District, Gideon Ruboneza was elected as the new Mayor while Emmanuel Mazimpaka, was voted the vice Mayor in charge of Economic affairs.
Ruboneza who is the former Executive Secretary of Gisenyi town in Rubavu District won with an overwhelming majority of 85.4% while Mazimpaka (former Executive Secretary of Rugerero sector also in Rubavu) got 77.5%
The two were subsequently sworn in alongside Donatila Mukakaramuka, who also comes in to represent women on the advisory council.
The pair replaces Cyprian Nsengimana and his former deputy Jacques Habimana, who were fired over embezzlement of public funds, over two months ago.
While presiding over the swearing in ceremony at the district headquarters, provincial governor, Celestin Kabahizi thanked the leaders for their ability to move on despite the district’s past tainted image.
“I am happy for youthful leaders who get promoted by the day to fill vacant leadership posts. It is encouraging to see the broken pieces being brought together again,” Kabahizi said.
REPORTED BY STEPHEN RWEMBEHO, DANIEL SABIITI, DAN NGABONZIZA, SAM NKURUNZIZA