Protais Musoni (Eng.) is the Minister of Cabinet Affairs.
Born in Muhura, in the current Gatsibo District in the Eastern Province, the 57-year-old Musoni and his family fled the country in 1961 due to the killings and unrest that befell Rwanda at the time.
“We moved into the refugee camp of Nyakivare and life was not easy. In a camp setting everything is temporary, one can’t acquire property and you’re constantly told ‘this is not your home’,” Musoni recalls.
He adds that when one is a refugee, the constant reminder by the citizens of the country that you’re not a citizen creates inferiority complex within you.
“People normally created other coping mechanisms such as ‘Itorero’ to make sure that the pride of being born a Rwandan is kept burning. Banyarwanda Associations were created in schools to keep the citizens’ identity alive,” he narrates.
He attended St. Leo's College Kyegobe in Fort Portal, Uganda, for his O’ Level before joining Ntare School for his A’ Level. Thereafter, he pursed a Bachelors Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Makerere University Kampala.
“In 1979 we started the Rwanda Refugee Welfare Association to help for the children in camps go to school so that they would connect with opportunities. Later on it groomed people into activists to fight for their rights and plan for the future,” Musoni discloses.
After graduating, he attained a job at the Uganda Railway although he lost it and had to flee the country.
“Because I was a Rwandan I was blamed for an incident where some wagons of a train missed the tunnel and delayed. Obote’s (then president Militon) soldiers ended up killing some of us. I was not involved in any way but they came looking for me, so I fled to Kenya,” recalls Musoni.
While in Nairobi, he joined Rwandese Alliance for National Unity (RANU), which prepared people for social formation.
“In 1987 RANU was changed into Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF). We changed it so as to create a broader base for the liberation struggle,” he recalls.
As any struggle for liberation, RPF also faced several challenges but we didn’t lose hope.
“It was critical for us while recruiting people because we had to be careful that they were not dangerous to us. They were also young with hardly any experience of political life or how to convince other people to join,” Musoni explains.
He adds that the other challenges faced were lack of financial support considering the only funds they had came from their own pockets, few as they were.
“For people to be convinced that things can work was quite a challenge because we had to do a lot of organizing and hold meetings to let them know we were on the right track,” he says.
How he managed to juggle fighting for liberation and balance his family life, Musoni said it was tough.
“When I was moving to Kampala in 1986 I had to shift my family to Kenya as well. We shifted with no property and moved to a country without the sole purpose of working.
“So what I did was to start a business that my wife, a younger sister and an uncle could run. Unfortunately, by 1987 we had lost all the money and had to shift to the village. We eventually pulled through after I was loaned money by a friend and bought a car,” Musoni says.
Musoni actively participated in the democratization and reconciliation of post-Genocide Rwanda and was a member of the team which designed the Gacaca Court’s process.
Besides being involved in politics, Protais Musoni is married and blessed with seven children.
According to his daughter, Penny Burabyo, he has loved and has nurtured them in a good way and continues to do so in the best way a father could.
“He would do anything for his family and Country. He also never takes anything for granted to him everything is by the book,” says Burabyo.
Posts he held
He became an administrator of Kibungo Province from 1994-1997 and in the City of Kigali from 1998 to February 1999.
From 1999-2002, he was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry in charge of Local Governance and, in particular, headed the team that formulated the policies on Good Governance and Decentralized Governance.
From 2002 – 2004, he was Minister of State in charge of Good Governance in the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Social Affairs.
From 2004 to 2009, he was the Minister of Local Government, Good Governance, Community Development and Social Affairs
Music: Country Music
Artist: Jim Reeves
Sportsman: Kobe Bryant
Quote: “It will happen no matter what.”