Monique Mukaruliza has been relieved of her duties as Minister for East African Affairs over failure to live up to the demands of the job, the President said yesterday.
President Paul Kagame, the appointing authority, said that it was unacceptable for people to blunder repetitively and get away with it.
Also relieved of his duties is the Permanent Secretary in the same ministry, Bill Kayonga.
Mukaruliza has been at the helm of the of the ministry since 2008.
The President was speaking shortly after the swearing-in ceremony of the new minister for EAC affairs, Jacqueline Muhongayire.
The event that took place in Parliament also saw the recently appointed Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Patrick Nyamvumba and Dan Munyuza, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of Operations take oath of office.
While the President rarely gives details behind changes in Cabinet, he said this time was different because he lost patience with the level of inefficiency that characterised the ministry.
The incident that finally led to the axing of the officials was a regional meeting that was hosted in Kigali under the auspices of the East African Community. The event was poorly organised and coordinated with delegates, including VIPs left for hours at the Kigali International Airport upon arrival, the President said.
Kagame said the stranded EAC delegates only left the airport after a parliamentarian learned of their problems and picked them himself.
He pointed out that it was unacceptable for leaders to take their jobs for granted and if Rwanda was to continue moving forward there has to be a change in mindset and approach towards work.
Kagame reminded the country’s leaders that for Rwanda to achieve its desired goals, there is no room for complacency. He urged them to coordinate their activities, complement each other and communicate effectively.
The President emphasised that efficiency in all they do must remain the priority and that can only be achieved if they worked closely together as no one can go at it by themselves.
New officials speak out
Meanwhile, speaking to Saturday Times shortly after swearing in, the new minister of EAC Affairs Muhongayire said that, she would build on what has been achieved to ensure Rwandans benefit from the EAC integration process.
“I have been in East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) for five years, I have experience in issues of the regional bloc and I am looking forward to deepen EAC integration,” said Muhongayire, who has been a legislator (first at national, then regional level) since 1994.
Munyuza said, “Strong partnership with my colleagues will enable me to achieve my goals as the Deputy Inspector General in charge of Operations.”
Before being transferred to the Rwanda National Police, Munyuza, previously a colonel, served as the Director, External Security.
He joined the army in 1987 and has undergone various military trainings. He is married with four children.
Gen. Nyamvumba, who was last month promoted to a full general and appointed CDS, replaced Lt. Gen. Charles Kayonga.
Nyamvumba had just completed a tour of duty in Sudan where he was the Force Commander of the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) since 2009.
Nyamvumba held various senior command positions, in the milatary.
In 1995, 1996 and 1997, he served as the Commander of an infantry battalion, mechanised infantry regiment and infantry brigade, respectively.
Between 1998 and 1999, Nyamvumba served as Chief of Operations, Plans and Training in RDF. In 1999, he assumed the position of Joint Task Force Commander until his appointment as Commandant of the Rwanda Military Academy in 2003. He also served as the Commandant of the Force Preparation Centre between 2004 and 2007.
In 2007, Gen. Nyamvumba was appointed to serve as President of the Military High Court. He is a graduate of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), in Kaduna, a leading military and educational institution for the Nigerian Airforce, Army and Naval officers to be. Nyamvumba is married with three children.
What awaits Muhongayire
MINEAC serves as an operational link between the Government of Rwanda and other national stakeholders, and the EAC organs and institutions, regarding integration matters.
The new minister, who was once Deputy Speaker of the Transitional National Assembly, has the task of spearheading the realisation of the remaining pillars of the EAC integration process, namely the Monetary Union, Political Federation and establishment of a single customs territory.
The single customs territory will imply that land-locked partner states namely Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi will have a presence at the Mombasa Port in Kenya to facilitate the clearance of goods destined to these countries.
Some of the benefits for the single customs territory include reducing cost of doing business by elimination of Non Tariff barriers (NTBs) duplication of processes, reduction of costs associated with regulatory requirements, enhanced synergies through shared resources, provide a springboard for the free movement of factors of production under the common market.
She is also obliged to continue with advocating for the elimination of non tariff barriers that hinders the free movement of goods in the region as well as effective implementation of protocols like common market protocol.
Who is Muhongayire
Muhongayire has been a member of Parliament during the entire post-Genocide period. In 1995, she was one of the 12 women in the 70-member Transitional National Assembly.
Her work during that critical post-Genocide period included serving for three years as Deputy Speaker and lobbying for a landmark 1996 law categorising rape as a crime of genocide.
Muhongayire became a member of the Forum des Femmes Rwandaises Parlementaires, the parliament’s first cross-party caucus; the Rwanda Women Leaders Caucus, and several other human rights and women’s rights organizations.
An expert in peace building and gender, Muhongayire holds a degree in accounting and an MBA in project management. She studied political science and international relations at the Free University of Brussels.
Additional reporting by Eric Kabeera