Joseph Nsegimana was recently appointed Rwanda’s ambassador to the African Union. He is one of the people one can say have ably displayed their commitment to public service. His career path tells the story of his dedication to serving the public.
Nsengimana is one official who testifies to the challenges that one meets in serving the public but at the same time he says they are not insurmountable. Nsengimana is the former Rwandan Ambassador to the United Nations, a responsibility he has held since 2006.
Prior to coming to Rwanda, he served as a professor at Lubumbashi University in DRC before joining government.
He holds a doctorate in comparative Literature from Limoges University in France. He has served government since 1994.
He started as a Cabinet Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Culture; he also served as Minister of Public Service and Labor.
In 1999 he was trusted with the responsibility of Minister of Land, Settlement and Environment protection and later as a Special Advisor to President Paul Kagame before he became a Permanent Representative of Rwanda to the United Nations.
At the United Nations, he was succeeded by Ambassador Gasana Eugene upon being transferred to represent Rwanda at the African Union.
Nsengimana talks about the challenges of his work but at the same time reveals that it’s been a rewarding experience since serving his country in the best way possible has always been his ambition.
“I have always been in line to serving the best way possible even when challenges show-up,” Nsengimana said.
The ambassador points out team work, consulting, research, understanding the value of advice and analyzing certain situations as some of the tools that have made his long service a success.
“Listening to advice from others is very important although one needs to be focused,” he notes.
He reveals that representing Rwanda at the United Nations is a mission to handle with much care and requires a lot of confidence.
“The mission needs confidence in a way that it calls for serving your country in an umbrella that comprises of many and powerful organs in the world”.
He explained that there are achievements registered while at the United Nations Mission like the national frame work programme aimed at directly coordinating with national programmes like EDPRS in Rwanda.
Nevertheless, he says that the structure of the United Nations Mission is much more a concern for Africa along side others.
The structure comprises of the principal organs of the United Nations including the General Assembly, Secretariat and the Security Council.
Nsengimana says that at the United Nations, there is a problem in decision making by the Security Council, saying that decisions are mainly taken basing on the choices of the permanent five (P 5) representatives.
He notes that it is not unfair that Africa is not among the permanent five (P 5) that only includes the USA, UK, France, China and Russia.
“Out of the 15 member representatives, only five are permanent.
Taking a decision against their will is never possible,” he said adding that making a decision that represents the interests of your country needs high-quality and effective lobbying with in the other members.
He explained that when a decision is taken, like by the Security Council, it will be considered as a declaration that has been approved by the United Nations.
In that case therefore, if it happens to work against the interests of your country, you are part of the decision making.
“Under the administration of Ban Ki-moon, the issue of Africa being represented among the P5 has been raised and I am optimistic it will come to pass”.
However, he said that Rwanda has been honored by the United Nations in many responsibilities that government has respected.
Among the many to which he explained including the on going reconciliation process after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, development in different sectors among others.
However, Rwanda’s contribution to maintaining security in the region is highly appreciated through the Security Council.
“Rwanda has actively performed in peace keeping missions, efforts that are highly being appreciated by the United Nations Council,” he said and pointed out the combined efforts by Rwanda and Congo to stop FDLR rebels that were a security problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to Nsengimana, the United Nations highly recognizes Rwanda as being exceptional based on the governments’ achievements mainly in social economic affairs that are being boosted by security in the country.
He also said that Rwanda is considered sixth in the world in peace keeping missions and second in Africa.
Nsengimana hopes to utilize the skills and experience he has achieved from the United Nations to represent Rwanda at the African Union.