Rwandan President Kagame hints at firing more ministers

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President Kagame
Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has hinted at firing more ministers. 

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has hinted at firing more ministers in the coming days, accusing them of lying, carelessness and indiscipline.

At the Leader’s Retreat on Sunday hosted at the Gabiro Military Training Centre, Kagame warned that some officials “could be next”, following the firing of three top officials over the last three weeks, among them Minister of Health Diane Gashumba.

Dr Gashumba, who has served as Minister of Health since 2016, was sacked on Friday evening following “a series of habitual gross errors and repeated leadership failures,” the Prime Minister’s Office announced.

But speaking at the National Leadership Retreat, President Paul Kagame accused Dr Gashumba of lying to him about the availability of kits to test individuals for the deadly Coronavirus, Covid-19.

“One morning, I called one of the leaders and the Prime Minister about the Coronavirus and asked that they examine each one of us ahead of the Leader’s Retreat. I told them to tell the minister of health to ensure this.

“She responded that we have 3,500 kits, and that using 400 of them to test leaders would seriously deplete the number of kits we have. The person I sent told her that the message is an instruction, and that if she has objections she should call me.

“Later we discovered that we do not have the kits as she said. We have kits for only 95 people and not 3,500. I asked her about this and she started giving excuses in a long story. You leaders, you cannot even speak the truth; how do you expect to solve problems?” President Kagame said.

He then accused former State Minister for Education, Isaac Munyakazi, of accepting a bribe of Rwf500,000 (about $550) to doctor school rankings.

“Munyakazi met officials of some school that had been ranked last and they asked him to rank it among the top schools. He complied by putting the school among the top schools. He was awarded just Rwf500,000 for it. If I had not fired him, he would be here with us and none of you would come up to ask me why. That is how you have normalised bad behaviour,” President Kagame told the officials.

He said he sacked the Minister for Justice, Evode Uwizeyimana, for displaying “bad manners on several occasions.”

“Evode parked his vehicle in a place that people are not supposed to park and then tried to enter a building without being checked. The security guard followed him and politely told him that he must be checked but he instead beat her and threw her to the ground,” President Kagame said.

“But it was not the first or second time. This is how he has been conducting himself and some of you knew this and you were quiet about it. You had shown him that he could get away with such behaviour. Which kind of people are you?”

President Kagame has hinted that more officials could be heading out the door.

Among the embattled ministers include Minister of Defence Major Gen Albert Musasira and Minister of Internal Security Gen Patrick Nyanvumba.

The President said the two ministers must explain a case regarding the state of national hospitals and warned that they could also be on their “way out”, without divulging further details.

In December last year, President Kagame fired Ms Seraphine Mukantabana, former chairman of Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, over mismanaging the commission. Mr James Musoni, a long-serving top official, was dismissed as Minister of Infrastructure in March 2018.

Mr Musoni, however, returned to government in October last year when he was appointed ambassador to Zimbabwe. In October 2018, President Paul Kagame sent home four senior officials for “gross misconduct” and also sacked an entire unit at the Ministry of Health for “wasting public resources”.
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