New cabinet swears in

A new cabinet line-up has been unveiled today by Anastase Murekezi who was yesterday appointed the new prime minister, replacing Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi.
Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi. (File)
Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi. (File)

A new cabinet line-up has been unveiled today by Anastase Murekezi who was yesterday appointed the new prime minister, replacing Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi.

Murekezi, who was until yesterday the Public Service and Labour minister, becomes President Paul Kagame’s third prime minister since 2000, and the country’s tenth premier.

Previously, Murekezi, 62, served as Agriculture minister before he was transferred to his immediate former portfolio in 2008.

Habumuremyi, formerly Education minister, had served as prime minister since October 2011.

Speaking to The New Times moments after he was announced the new premier, Murekezi welcomed the new responsibilities saying his government’s work will be focused on accelerating economic development. “I am very thankful to President Kagame for entrusting me with this new task. I am absolutely committed to serving my country.”

Soon after he had been an nounced premier, Murekezi took to twitter to express his gratitude to the appointing authority. “My new appointment gives me a unique opportunity to keep serving my country and Rwandans, all of us working hard together,” he wrote.

Murekezi becomes the fifth Prime Minister since the end of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

A senior member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Murekezi is an agricultural engineer from the University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium.

Murekezi’s came to the limelight in 2004 when he was appointed the State Minister in Charge of Industry and Investment – a post he held for one year before he was elevated to a full cabinet minister and moved to the agriculture docket.

He served as the Minister of Agriculture for about three years until 2008.

The outgoing prime minister, Habumuremyi, also thanked President Kagame and the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), for the trust bestowed to him when he was appointed prime minister three years ago.

Habumuremyi, an RPF member, had replaced now Senate vice president Bernard Makuza as prime minister on October 7, 2011.

Cabinet dissolved

With the appointment of a new prime minister, the cabinet was presumed out of office.

Article 124 of the Constitution reads thus; “the resignation or vacation of the office of the Prime Minister on account of any reason shall lead to resignation of other members of the Cabinet. The President of the Republic shall receive the resignation of the Cabinet when it is submitted by the Prime Minister.”

During that period, according to the Constitution, cabinet shall only deal with routine business until a new one is appointed.

The new prime minister took oath of office before the Head of State at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura.

After taking oath, Murekezi then named a new cabinet.

Sheik Omar Khalfan, professor of international relations at the College of Arts and Humanities, University of Rwanda, said the shakeup should be seen as a routine matter designed to galvanise the Executive.

“Cabinet reshuffles are at the discretion of the President who is the overseer of the executive business. The President may decide to make major changes to improve on output and performance,” said Khalfan.

He praised the continued trend of power-sharing in the country’s leadership which he said has characterized post-Genocide administration.

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WHO IS MUREKEZI?

A senior member of the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Anastase Murekezi is an agricultural engineer from the University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium.

He came to the limelight in 2004 when he was appointed the State Minister in Charge of Industry and Investment – a post he held for one year before he was elevated to a full cabinet minister and moved to the agriculture docket. He served as the Minister of Agriculture for about three years until 2008.

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LIST OF RWANDA'S PRIME MINISTERS TO DATE

- Grégoire Kayibanda (1960)
- Dr Sylvestre Nsanzimana (02/10/1991 – 02/04/1992)
- Dr Dismas Nsengiyaremye (02/04/1992 – 18/07/1993)
- Agathe Uwilingiyimana (18/07/1993 – 07/04/1994)
- Jean Kambanda (09/04/1994 – 19/07/1994)
- Faustin Twagiramungu (19/07/1994 – 31/08/1995)
- Pierre-Céléstin Rwigema (31/08/1995 – 08/03/2000)
- Bernard Makuza (08/03/2000 – 7/10/2011)
- Dr Pierre-Damien Habumuremyi (07/10/2011 –23/07/2014)
- Anastase Murekezi (23/07/2014 .......)

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