JOSEPH HABINEZA is the new Sports and Culture Minister. He returns to the Ministry three years after he resigned from the same post. The amiable Habineza, fondly known as Joe, replaces Protais Mitali, who has served in the same capacity for the past three years.
Habineza was the Minister of Sports and Culture between 2005 and 2010 before he resigned unceremoniously in February, 2011 following a public backlash after pictures depicting indiscretion on his part circulated on the internet. Shortly after resigning, he was appointed as Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Nigeria where he has served until his latest appointment.
Habineza is seen by many as one of the most hard-working ministers, the Sports Ministry has had over the last decade. Analysts believe this is the reason why he has bounced back.
“I don’t know how to express my gratitude to HE @PaulKagame. My reappointment at Minispoc shows trust. I promise to deliver and make Rwandans proud,” Habineza took to twitter to react to news of his appointment. The 50-year-old is the first born in a family of seven.
Huge task ahead
Habineza’s honeymoon will be short-lived as huge tasks await him. One of the major tasks is staging a successful Africa Nations Championships (Chan) finals tournament, which will be held in Rwanda in 2016.
He will also need to move sports to the next level, while consolidating achievements of his predecessor.
During his first spell as sports minister, Habineza managed to bring many continental tournaments to Rwanda including the Zone V, U20 and U17 Africa Youth Championships in 2009 and 2011 respectively, where Rwanda went on to play in the Fifa U17 World Cup for the first time in 2011.
Tour of Rwanda was also developed into an international race in 2009 during Habineza’s reign.
The new minister will also need to work hard to make sports federations more efficient and professional. Rwandans want to see the revival of sports back to the old good days like when the country hosted the U-20 and U-17 Afcon final tournaments.
How the public reacted
THE REAPPOINTMENT of Joseph Habineza to the Ministry of Sports and Culture has excited the public.
Below are some of the comments people posted on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
By far, the most the popular minister in the new cabinet, a Twitter hashtag #JoeWhileYouWereAway was created and it trended throughout the afternoon.
•Umutoni Gasengayire Carine: Joe welcome back!
•JahDuk @JahdorDUKUZE Wooowwwwww Minister Joe is baaaaaaaaackkkkk!!! Welcome back to Sports
•Richard Kwizera @Muzungu4 Former Sports Minister Joseph Habineza rejoins the cabinet! Let’s wait and see
•Fiona Mbabazi @Fifilyn #joewhileyouwereaway hahaha. This tells me, you might trip but doesn’t mean you will Fall! @JoeHabineza welcome back clearly you were missed
•Tweet Rwanda @TweetRwanda RT @karemeradean: #JoeWhileYouWereAway #Miss Rwanda became a total mess http://dlvr.it/6Q3gYQ
•Shema Niyo: Welcome back Joseph Habineza. You are still the best.
•Lilg Lionel: Woooow! I’m so happy that Uncle Habineza Joseph has come back as the Minister of Culture and Sports!
•Byarugaba Isah: #JoeHabinezaWhileYouWereAway everything changed to worse..welcome back.happy for your return
•Yves Victorious: Welcome back Mr Joe.