Rwanda's President Paul Kagame ruffles feathers as he undertakes major cabinet reshuffle but Women are still winning

Julienne Uwacu, the Sports and Culture minister has also been removed days following the embarrassment the Rwanda suffered during an African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier match.

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  • On Thursday, President Kagame announced the reshuffle which features 19 cabinet members of which 11 are women, effectively retaining Rwanda’s status as a global leader in gender equality.
  • Long-serving Defence Minister Gen James Kabarebe has been replaced by Gen Albert Murasira at the Defence ministry.
  • President Kagame has also brought back former powerful minister, Mr. James Musoni who he had sacked early this year after lambasting him at a leadership retreat a few weeks earlier.

On Thursday, President Kagame announced the reshuffle which features 19 cabinet members of which 11 are women, effectively retaining Rwanda’s status as a global leader in gender equality.

While providing no reason for his removal, Mr, Kagame announced that his long-serving Defence Minister Gen James Kabarebe who has served in the position since April 2010 will now take up the role of presidential advisor on security.

Gen Kabarebe has been replaced by Gen Albert Murasira at the Defence ministry.

His departure is seen by analysts as a significant move towards the normalisation of Rwanda's relations with neighbouring Uganda, which have been frosty for several years.

Kigali accuses Kampala of illegally arresting Rwandans in Uganda and of harbouring dissidents while Uganda on its part accuses Rwanda of conducting espionage in Uganda and infiltrating its security bodies.

In June, at the height of these tensions, Gen Kabarebe accused Uganda of illegally arresting and torturing Rwandans.

He also openly accused Uganda of being jealous of Rwanda's development and warned Rwandan citizens against "scavenging" for jobs in Uganda.

Former East African Community secretary-general Richard Sezibera has been appointed as the new Foreign Affairs minister.

Mr Sezibera replaces Ms Louise Mushikiwabo who was recently elected as the secretary-general of the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), the French-speaking countries bloc.

Julienne Uwacu, the Sports and Culture minister, has also been removed days following her apology for the embarrassment the country suffered during an African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier match between Rwanda and Guinea after poor organisation led to the national anthems of the two countries failing to play before the start of the football game held at the Kigali Stadium.

Ms Uwacu was replaced with Esperance Nyirasafari, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion who makes a comeback to government. Ms Nyirasafari has been replaced by Solina Nyirahabimana.

Some of the new faces in the cabinet include Soraya Hakizumuremyi who replaces Vincent Munyeshyaka as the Minister of Trade and Industry, and Paula Ingabire who takes over from Jean de Dieu Rurangirwa as ICT and Innovation minister.

President Kagame also promoted state minster of Infrastructure Germaine Kamayirese to head the renamed Ministry of Emergency Management which was previously known as the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees Affairs.

In other major changes, President Kagame has also brought back former powerful minister, Mr. James Musoni who he had sacked early this year after lambasting him at a leadership retreat a few weeks earlier.

Mr. James Musoni, who has been in government for almost 24 years holding key government positions including Finance, Local Government and Infrastructure, will now serve as Rwanda’s first ambassador to Zimbabwe.

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