Alphonse Munyantwari successfully served as Nyamagabe District Mayor for the last five years. He blends leadership with inter-personal skills which he attributes to his success. He was recently promoted as Governor of the Southern Province.
At the age of 44, he was appointed Governor on February 1st, 2011, through a presidential communiqué.
He is the second mayor to be promoted to a top provincial job since 2006, after Aimé Bosenibamwe –current Governor of the Northern Province, who previously served Mayor of Burera district in the same province.
Munyentwari attributes his success to hard work and teamwork that characterized his relations with other authorities and local residents.
Munyentwari said: “Leadership is a mixture of many things: skills, knowledge, discipline, humility and the capacity to create a conducive environment for all workers, which is a key determinant for their devotion towards their work.”
As a leader, he said, “I had to be a man of the people to succeed: In order to know exactly what they need and expect from you.”
Over the last three years, during Munyantwari’s leadership, Nyamagabe prospered and became the best performing district in the implementation of Performance Contracts countrywide.
The district rose from being one of the poorest and hunger-stricken in the country to a food secure and a speed development model for the whole nation.
The governor recounts his achievements in Nyamagabe District as the most memorable because “residents have acquired more confidence” during his five-year term.
“Besides the clean water that was made accessible to the population, the construction and upgrading of roads and the increase of agricultural yields, I am most proud of the self-esteem and confidence that characterize the people of Nyamagabe today,” he said.
“You cannot attain development unless you are confident. People of Nyamagabe have reached this level and I am very proud of that,” Munyentwari adds.
He says he is confident that he will be able to develop the province he has been appointed to lead.
He argues that the experience he acquired in the past plus the collaboration and teamwork with others will help him reach the targeted development in the Southern Province.
“I have worked in the district for a long period of time, supervising their work and contributing to it is not something new for me. There are several people in all walks of life including authorities, workers and citizens who are approachable for help. This is something important that gives me courage and confidence”.
Munyentwari says he believes in the capacity of the Rwandan people to improve their livelihoods by themselves.
“Rwandans have a spirit of hard work and teamwork, which is essential for development. We have a vision, the population is willing to reach it and that is central to stepping forward. Even in the past, Rwandans have been characterised by a high self-esteem and the will to move forward,” he explained.
Munyentwari was born in 1967 in the ‘Holy hills’ of Kibeho in Nyaruguru district. He attained his Primary School education at Kibeho and later joined Petit Seminaire Virgo Fidelis and Grand Seminaire de Rutongo, where he left to join the National University of Rwanda. In 2003, he graduated at the University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Law.
His professional career has developed through several positions: He served the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF) and then the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) at Arusha-Tanzania as an Evidence Analyst.
He was also the Mayor of Nshiri District (current Nyaruguru District) until the 2006 territorial reforms that saw him take the Nyamagabe District seat until February, 2011 when he was appointed Governor, replacing Fidel Ndayisaba.
Munyantwari is married with two children. He does not devote his time to work alone. During his ‘little’ free time, he reads books, plays football, tennis and volleyball, but, most importantly, finds time to be with his family.
“Our job requires maximum time and concentration, but I cannot forget my family and myself,” Munyantwari said.