New faces in the Cabinet: Who is who

Oda Gasinzigwa – Minister of Family and Gender Promotion in the Office of the Prime Minister. Born on 1, August 1966, she attained her Bachelor’s Degree in Local Government.
Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, Oda Gasinzigwa, Amb. Claver Gatete, Dr Anita Asiimwe, and Evode Imena.
Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, Oda Gasinzigwa, Amb. Claver Gatete, Dr Anita Asiimwe, and Evode Imena.

Oda Gasinzigwa – Minister of Family and Gender Promotion in the Office of the Prime Minister.

Born on 1, August 1966, she attained her Bachelor’s Degree in Local Government.

Administration from the Institute of Development Management in Ruzube, Tanzania. She holds a Master’s Degree in Gender and Development from Kigali Institute of Education. Gasinzigwa is among several champions of women emancipation in Rwanda, who have used their knowledge and skills to improve the lives of Rwanda’s women. In 2001, she was elected as Secretary of the National Women Council at Cell level. In 2004, she was elected as the Chairperson of the National Women council. She was in 2008 appointed the Chief Gender Monitoring Officer—a position she has held until her appointment as Minister.

Professor Silas Lwakabamba – Minister of Infrastructure

Born and educated in Tanzania, Professor Silas Lwakabamba went to the University of Leeds in the UK for his training in Engineering. After graduating with a BSc (1971) and a PhD (1975) in Mechanical Engineering, he returned to Tanzania to join the staff of the Faculty of Engineering, which had just started at the University of Dar es Salaam. He progressed rapidly through the ranks and attained his professorship in 1981.

He gained managerial experience along the way. He became Head of Department, Associate Dean, and eventually Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. In 1985, Professor Lwakabamba joined the UN- sponsored African Regional Centre for Engineering Design and Manufacturing (ARCEDEM) based in Nigeria, as a founding Director of Training and Extension Services.


He became the founding Rector of Rwanda’s Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) in 1997, and, in 2006, he was appointed the Rector of the National University of Rwanda, the largest public institution of higher learning in the country, a position he occupied until his appointment as Minister of Infrastructure. Prof.


Lwakabamba has been a member of several National, Sub-regional and International boards and committees. He has recently completed his term as the member of the Executive Board of UNESCO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Virtual University (AVU) and a member of various national commissions and steering committees on economic affairs, information and communication technology, human resource development and higher education.


In 2008, he was named as the Co-chair of the Advisory Board of the US Africa Higher Education Initiative. He has also been recently named the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Inter-University Council of East Africa.

Evode Imena – Minister of State in the Ministry of Natural Resources in charge of Mining

Imena has been working in the same ministry for the last four years where he was heading the Mineral exploration Unit within the Geology and Mines Department in the same Ministry and also worked as a  geologist with the Geology and Mines Authority. He holds a Masters degree in Geology from a  Moroccan university.

Séraphine Mukantabana – Minister for Refugees and Disaster Management

Mukantabana is commonly known to have headed Rwandan refugee community in Congo – Brazaville. She voluntarily returned home on August 05, 2011. Until yesterday, she was a commissioner in the Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission. But prior to that she worked as an in-charge of refugee projects and repatriation in the Ministry that she now heads. Upon her arrival, Mukantabana, a former secondary school teacher, noted that she had spent 17 years as a refugee but had gained nothing even if she was the leader of refugee community since 1997. “I left Rwanda in 1994 when the country was politically unstable and I only realised recently that I had to come back because the country is now secure. There is no need of being a refugee,” she said. “I cried with happiness when I landed at kigali International Airport. A refugee is ever suffering. You can have money and all the riches, but you will never get the satisfaction one gets while at home,” she said in 2011 upon her arrival.

Amb. Claver Gatete – Minister of Finance and Economic Planning

Born in Uganda in 1962, Amb Gatete completed his undergraduate degree in 1991 at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada; specialising in Agricultural Economics. He pursued the same course at the same University at Masters level and graduated in 1993. Prior to his appointment as the Minister of Finance, Gatete served as the Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda from May 2011. Gatete was the deputy governor of BNR from December 2009. He joined the National Bank of Rwanda from United Kingdom where he was Rwanda’s Ambassador to the UK, Ireland and Iceland, a position he held from November 2005 to December 2009. From November 2003 to September 2005, Amb. Gatete was the Secretary General and Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning. Before joining the Office of the President as the President’s representative to Nepad in October 2001, he worked with United Nations Development Programme  – Kigali-Rwanda, between 1997 and 2000 as the National Economist. Upon com
pletion of his undergraduate and Post Graduate studies, Amb. Gatete worked in Canada as an Economist between 1991 and 1997; Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Statistics Canada, University of British Columbia and Algonquin College. He has held various positions at Key Boards of Directors including RRA, School of Finance and Banking, member of the Board of the National Bank of Rwanda, National Privatisation Technical Committee as Chairman, and Community Development Fund as Vice-Chairman.

Dr Anita Asiimwe – Health State minister in-charge of Public Health and Primary Healthcare

Anita Asiimwe is a specialist in public health strategies, tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other health conditions. A medical doctor by profession, she holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Dundee University (UK). Prior to her appointment on Monday, Dr. Asiimwe was the Deputy Director General of the Rwanda Biomedical Center and Head of the Institute of HIV, Disease Prevention and Control (IHDPC) where she was the overall coordinator of the national response to all disease conditions.

While she was the Executive Secretary of the Rwanda National AIDS Control Commission, Dr. Asiimwe was also an overseer of the Global Fund Projects Monitoring Unit in Rwanda. Prior to this, she served as the Deputy Director General of TRACPlus, the Director of HIV/ AIDS and IST’s Unit at TRACPlus, and the advisor to the State Minister in charge of HIV/ AIDS and other epidemics in the Ministry of Health, among other responsibilities. Dr. Asiimwe is presently a member of the Eastern and Southern Africa region’s high-level task force for women, girls, gender equality, and HIV.

During Rwanda’s Chairmanship of the Great Lakes Initiative on AIDS (GLIA), she chaired the GLIA Executive Committee, composed of the Heads of National AIDS Control Commissions of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

She is also a research scientist, and the principal investigator for several studies of the Rwandan HIV/AIDS programme.

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