News / Africa

    Rwanda Dismisses Prime Minister, Appoints Replacement

    FILE - Dismissed Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi is shown at the Rwandan Parliament in Kigali.
    FILE - Dismissed Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi is shown at the Rwandan Parliament in Kigali.
    Nick Long

    ​Rwandan Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi has been dismissed and Anastase Murekezi appointed to replace him.

    ​While the decision to replace Habumuremyi is not officially described as a dismissal, that is how it has been reported in local media.

    And there has been no official denial that he was, in effect, fired on Wednesday.

    The new prime minister, Anastase Murekezi, was sworn in Thursday, along with several new ministers.

    Afterwards, President Paul Kagame said the Cabinet shakeup did not mean the replaced members were lacking in capabilities or achievements, and added they would continue to serve in other offices.

    There had been media reports outside Rwanda that police were investigating the former prime minister and his family for possible links to the Rwandan rebel group FDLR, based in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

    "There are unverified allegations that one of the prime minister’s relatives, who was in the FDLR, returned to the country without passing through the demobilization process," said Kigali journalist and commentator Gonzaga Muganwa, who has been following this story. "The allegations say the prime minister could have been aware of that and did not take appropriate steps.“

    But there has been no official confirmation of any such investigation.

    Formerly the education minister, Habumuremyi had been prime minister since 2011. His departure was unexpected, says Gonzaga.
     
    "According to the media and public he was considered to be very active when compared to the previous prime minister, the one he had replaced," he said. "Habumuremyi was very active, very engaged on Twitter and other social media, engaging with the public and so on, so people had not expected that he would be removed so quickly.“
     
    The new prime minister has raised his profile on Twitter since Wednesday, when he had 167 followers. By Thursday that figure had jumped to more than 2,000.  
     
    Murekezi has a background as an agricultural engineer and was previously the public service and labor minister, and before that agriculture minister. He becomes President Paul Kagame’s third prime minister since 2000, and the country’s 10th since 1960.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Peter from: Rwanda
    July 26, 2014 2:29 PM
    Could the reshuffle allow Kagame to tighten the noose a bit more on the vaguest hope that Rwanda could become a democratic country with freedom of speech? Kagame uses FDLR and "terrorist" as an excuse to do whatever it takes to push away any challengers to his authority and lazy reporters don't bother to challenge this. Seems like this is the gear up to another bloody election cycle where again conveniently only one candidate has any chance of winning - dictator Kagame. When will the US stop turning a blind eye to what is happening in the DRC because of Kagame's lust for the mineral wealth of Congo and power in Rwanda?

    by: Anonymous
    July 24, 2014 11:12 PM
    kagame has a problem why changing prime ministers?
    In Response

    by: samson from: dubai
    July 25, 2014 7:39 AM
    Kagame isnt a problem....those individuals in public offices who does wrong are " the real problem" be it to state security, economy of the country and even to the people of Rwanda in particular .kagame is just such a leader how can detect the threat before and tries to prevent it in order to save common interests of people of Rwanda.

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