Taking stock of mayors’ stay in office amidst resignations, interdiction and arrests

On 2 December 2020 at 04:01

It is three months to go for all mayors to vacate office paving the way for elections of new 27 mayors. The number excludes three districts of Nyarugenge, Kicukiro and Gasabo which were scrapped of all legal personalities last year making the City of Kigali the only office to decide on all operations. The aforementioned districts are currently led by executives appointed under the Prime Minister’s Order.

The mayoral tenure drawing to end started in 2016. Mayors will vacate office in February 2021. Members of districts’ executive committees are elected for five year term limit renewable once.

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) recently announced that elections of new mayors will start on 6th February to end on 2nd March 2021.

The past ten years have been characterized by constant reshuffles where some mayors were appointed to new duties, others were suspended and some resigned citing personal reasons.

Only two held office for two terms

Only two among the remaining 27 mayors countrywide held offices for two respective terms. These include François Habitegeko, the mayor of Nyaruguru district and Deogratias Nzamwita, the mayor of Gakenke district since 2011.

Others took on from predecessors in the first term until today.

These include Nambaje Aphrodis, the mayor of Ngoma district since May 2012 (he replaced Niyotwagira François who resigned), Muzungu Gerald, the mayor of Kirehe district who took office since 2014 replacing Murayire Protais who resigned and Gasana Richard, the mayor of Gatsibo since March 2015.

Shortest term serving mayors

Tuyizere Thaddée, the Acting Mayor of Kamonyi district tops mayors with shortest terms in office. He was previously the vice mayor for economic affairs in the same district and replaced Alice Kayitesi appointed Governor of Southern Province in July 2020.

Others that held office for one year are; Uwanyirigira Chantal , the current mayor of Burera district since December 2019; Mukarutesi Vestine, the mayor of Karongi since November last year and Mukamasabo Appolonie , the mayor of Nyamasheke district.

Kayitare Jacqueline of Muhanga and Nuwumuremyi Jeannine of Musanze have also held office since November 2019.

Few mayors completed terms

At least 12 mayors have completed 5-year term since they took office in 2016.

Apart from 2 out of 27 appointed for new duties, others resigned or were forced to resign by executive committees.

In Southern Province, only three mayors among eight are completing their tenure. These are Habitegeko François of Nyaruguru, Rutaburingoga Jérôme of Gisagara and Ntazinda Erasme of Nyanza district.

In Northern Province, two out of five mayors namely; Kayiranga Emmanuel of Rulindo and Nzamwita Deogratias of Gakenke are completing their term.

Two out of seven mayors in Western Province namely; Ayinkamiye Emerance (Rutsiro) and Ndayambaje Godfrey of Ngororero are completing their term.

Among others, Eastern Province has a large number of mayors who served until the end of office term. These include Mbonyumuvunyi Radjab (Rwamagana), Murenzi Jean Claude (Kayonza), Gasana Richard (Gatsibo), Muzungu Gérald (Kirehe) and Nambaje Aphrodis (Ngoma).


As some mayors enjoy fruits of their work at the end of office term, quite a large number have resigned for different reasons which they claimed ‘personal’ while others were forced to resign on account of underperformance.

Starting with the Southern Province, four out of eight mayors resigned. In Huye district, Kayiranga Muzuka Eugène resigned and replaced by Sebutege Ange in june 2018. The mayor of Nyamagabe, Mugisha Philbert was suspended by the advisiory committee over poor performance replaced by Uwamahoro Bonaventure in February 2018.

In Ruhango district, the advisort committee sacked Mbabazi François Xavier who was replaced by Habarurema Valens in May 2018 while the former mayor of Muhanga district Uwamariya Béatrice resigned and replaced by Kayitare Jacqueline in September 2019.

Kayitesi Alice who previously led Kamonyi district was in July 2020 appointed Governor of Southern Province.

In Northern Province, two of five mayors resigned. Musanze district was characterized by frequent reshuffles in the executive committee until Habyarimana Jean Damascène was forced to resign and replaced by Nuwumuremyi Jeannine in September 2019.

In Gicumbi district, Mudaheranwa Juvénal was in 2018 sent out by the advisory committee and temporarily replaced by Jean Claude Karangwa Sewase who also resigned until Ndayambaje Alexis was elected mayor in June 2018.

In Burera district, Uwanyirigira Marie Chantal was elected in December 2019 replacing Uwambajemariya Marie Florence who was at the time appointed Executive Secretary of Western Province.

As for Western Province, five out of seven mayors elected in 2016 resigned. They include Sinamenye Jeremie the former mayor of Rubavu district who resigned in 2017 replaced by Habyarimana Gilbert and Harerimana Frédéric of Rusizi district resigned in 2018 replaced by Kayumba Ephrem.

In Nyabihu district, Uwanzwenuwe Théoneste resigned and was replaced by Mukandayisenga Antoinette in 2019; Ndayisaba François former mayor of Karongi was replaced by Mukarutesi Vestine in 2019 while Kamali Aime Fabien of Nyamasheke resigned and replaced by Mukamasabo Appolonie in 2019.

In Eastern Province, only two out of seven mayors resigned. These are Nsanzumuhire Emmanuel of Bugesera who resigned citing personal reasons and replaced by Mutabazi Richard in July 2018 while Mupenzi George of Nyagatare also resigned citing personal reasons and replaced Mushabe David Claudien in July 2018.


Some of mayors who resigned were held accountable for alleged faults and arrested but were not convicted.

Mugisha Philbert, the former mayor of Nyamagabe was arrested in November 2017 along with five officials from the same district on account of funds misallocation and illegal offering of public tenders. He was later tried and acquitted.

Others include Sinamenye Jérémie arrested in 2017 along with Dukundimana Espérance, the official in charge of administration and human capital in Rubavu district.

Sinamenye was arrested on account of disrupting Mpayimana Philippe who was campaigning for presidency. It is said he prohibited residents from participating in the latter’s electoral campaigns in Nyamyumba, Gisenyi and Kanama sectors. He was released without court charges.

Ndabereye Augustin, former vice mayor for economic affairs in Musanze district was arrested for beating and injuring his wife. Ndabereye was tried by Muhoza Primary Court which handed him five year and one month sentence.

New mayors

The upcoming elections will begin with the selection of districts’ advisory committees among whom the executive committee comprised of mayor, vice mayors for economic and social affairs will be elected.

The advisory committee is made of members selected at sector level, members from National Youth Council and the coordinator of National Women’s Council at district level.

Others include the coordinator of the National Council of Persons with Disabilities at district level and the President of Private Sector Federation in the district. Women representation in the district’s advisory committee is supposed to be 30%.

Deogratias Nzamwita is the mayor of Gakenke district since 2011.
François Habitegeko, the mayor of Nyaruguru district held office for two respective terms.