The President of the Republic of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame on Thursday October 18, 2018, made sweeping reforms in his government through a cabinet reshuffle. Using his prerogatives as the incumbent and demonstrating his strong stance for gender equality, Kagame surprised the nation by giving women a 50 per cent representation in the new streamlined cabinet. Announced by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, the new cabinet has undergone a 15% reduction, from thirty-one to twenty-six, with women occupying 13 positions out of the 26. These sweeping reforms follow the recent election of the country’s viable and long serving Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo as the Secretary General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie. However, Dr Richard Sezibera takes over the duties of Mme Mushikiwabo. What remain outstanding about the new cabinet shakeup is the involvement of Young/youthful Ministers and the creation of Ministry of Emergency Management. The new Ministry replaces the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs.
SOME KEY POSITIONS ALLOCATED TO WOMEN IN THE NEW CABINET
-Paula Ingabir: Minister for ICT and Innovation
-Soraya Hakuziyaremye: Trade and Industry Minister
-Solina Nyirahabimana: Minister for gender and family promotion
-Germaine Kamayirese: Ministry of Emergency Management
-Marie-Solange Kayisire: Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, among others.
Many Rwandans have applauded President Kagame, who is also African Union Chairperson, for giving the youth a place in the new executive body. Reacting to this, the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Vera Songwe said ‘’with women holding 50 per cent of new cabinet portfolios, it is a testament that Rwanda is deliberate on staying true to gender equality. The African Union Commission Chair Moussa Mahamat for his part hailed Ethiopia and Rwanda, for having ensured equal gender representation in their respective cabinets. Kagame’s move comes to uphold Rwanda’s quest for gender parity in the country and the African Continent at large. President Kagame among other African leaders sees Youths and Women as catalysts to Africa’s transformation. He has not undermined the importance of Youths and Women in achieving the continents’ development goals. Paul Kagame once said “Empowering women and ensuring gender equality ultimately enriches communities and entire nations. Both historically, during our liberation struggle and even more recently, in reconstructing our country, women have contributed greatly and have been at the forefront of political, economic and reconciliation initiatives.”