Senators, yesterday, endorsed the appointment of four ambassadors as well as the new vice-chancellor of the University of Rwanda who were named by Cabinet last month.
The four envoys approved by the Senate include Yamina Karitanyi, Olivier Nduhungirehe, Hope Tumukunde and Alfred Kalisa.
They were all described as experienced and capable people who will be able to successfully handle their new jobs and develop further Rwanda’s relations with the countries where they will be ambassadors.
Karitanyi, 40, was named High Commissioner to the UK, where she will replace William Nkurunziza who has been there since 2013.
Prior to her appointment as ambassador, she was working as the chief tourism officer at Rwanda Development Board – the development and business promotion arm of the Government of Rwanda.
Nduhungirehe, a career diplomat who is currently the acting director general in charge of multilateral affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was named ambassador to Belgium, where he will replace Robert Masozera.
He told The New Times yesterday that his work in Belgium will focus on reinforcing the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, especially by encouraging business-based cooperation as well as encouraging the big Rwandan Diaspora in Belgium to participate more in their country’s development.
“We need to reinforce our bilateral cooperation to keep attracting investors to Rwanda; so we need to reinforce business diplomacy. We also need to continue working with Rwandans in the Diaspora so they can continue to be part of the development process in Rwanda,” he said.
Tumukunde, who was working as the vice-mayor in charge of social affairs at the City of Kigali, was endorsed as ambassador to Ethiopia.
Tumukunde will replace former Sports and Culture Minister, Protais Mitali, who abandoned his ambassadorial posting in Ethiopia and became a fugitive following investigations into allegations that he embezzled his political party’s funds back home in Rwanda.
Mitali was president of the Liberal Party (PL) when he allegedly embezzled millions from its coffers. He is now on Interpol’s wanted list.
The senators also approved Kalisa to be Rwanda’s Ambassador to Angola, where he will be the first ambassador to the country as Rwanda strengthens its relations and cooperation with the central African nation.
Kalisa is an experienced banker who has served as the chief executive officer and board chairman of the former Bank of Commerce, Development and Industry (BCDI) in Rwanda before it was taken over by Ecobank.
The senators also endorsed the designate vice-chancellor of the University of Rwanda, Prof Phillip Cotton, who was formerly working as the principal of the university’s College of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Prof Cotton is a medical doctor by training and a British citizen.
Prior to his appointment as the principal of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences of the University of Rwanda, he was a professor of learning and teaching at the School of Medicine at Glasgow University, where he was deputy head of the undergraduate school.
He was also a member of a taskforce set up by the Government of Rwanda to create the University of Rwanda as a result of after the merger of all government-owned universities and institutions of higher learning.
Prof Cotton will replace Prof James McWha, a position the latter had been occupying since the university was created in 2013.