Robert Bayigamba is the new Rwanda National Olympic Committee (RNOC) president.
The former sports minister stood unopposed and garnered 32 votes from a total of 42 votes cast during a general assembly at Lemigo Hotel in Kigali yesterday.
Bayigamba replaces Brig. Gen. Charles Rudakubana who was elected in 2009
“I am happy to be entrusted with this great responsibility and promise to help nurture a generation of champions,” Bayigamba said in his acceptance speech.
He said his immediate assignment was to ensure that the country produces athletes who will compete at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “I will start from where the outgoing committee had reached with a view of taking Rwandan sports to another level”.
Bayigamba said he would soon convene a retreat to strategise how the country will best prepare for the Games.
“Last-minute preparations for international games have to end and my administration will ensure that we prepare early enough for all the competitions, which is key to getting the results,” he said.
In others positions, incumbent Parfait Busabizwa lost the contest for secretary general to little-known Ahmed Habineza by two votes.
Phophina Gashugi was re-elected first vice president after beating Julienne Mukandekezi with 22 to 20 votes.
Elia Manirarora also retained his post as the second vice president, beating Bernard Uwimana with 24 votes against 18 for his rival.
Karate federation boss Theogene Uwayo trounced Thierry Rwabusaza to the post of treasurer. Uwayo secured 25 votes.
Felecite Rwemalika and Nicolas Dusine were elected as advisors after coming ahead of Jean Paul Munyandamutsa, journalist Shyaka Kanuma and Ernestine Umulisa.
The new committee will be sworn in during a handover ceremony in the next few days.
Speaking after the elections, the Minister of Sports and Culture, Protais Mitali, lauded what he described as “free and fair elections” and promised to work with the new team for the good of sports in the country.
He advised the new committee to put emphasis on grassroots sports development, including school competitions, and urged them to devise means of attracting private sector in developing sports.
He said that while government support is guaranteed it’s not enough.