Three mayors in Northern Province sacked

On 9 August 2023 at 09:00

Three district mayors namely; Janvier Ramuli of Musanze, Jean-Marie Vianney Nizeyimana of Gakenke, and Marie-Chantal Uwanyirigira, the former Mayor of Burera District, have been relieved of their duties over failure to fulfill their responsibilities. Their dismissals were officially communicated through a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday.

In addition to the aforementioned mayors, the statement reveals that a number of other local government leaders in the Northern Province have also been removed from their positions after investigations exposed their shortcomings in fulfilling their obligations. Notable among those dismissed is Geoffrey Mushaija, the former provincial executive secretary, who has been replaced by Emmanuel Nzabonimpa in an acting capacity.

The three districts affected by these changes have appointed interim mayors: Hamis Bizimana will temporarily lead Musanze, Aimé-François Niyonsenga will serve as the acting mayor of Gakenke, and Jean Baptiste Nshimiyimana has been assigned a similar role in Burera.

Further personnel changes include the removal of Axelle Kamanzi, the vice mayor of Musanze in charge of social welfare, and Innocent Twagirimana, the executive secretary of Kinigi sector.

Various senior staff members within the three districts have also been let go.

These dismissals follow the recent resignation of Andrew Mpuhwe Rucyahana, who stepped down from his position as the vice mayor for economic development in Musanze District for similar reasons.

According to the statement issued by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente, an investigation found that the officials in question had not adequately upheld their responsibilities to promote and safeguard national unity, a fundamental principle enshrined in the constitution. These actions were triggered in part by a recent gathering held in Kinigi Sector of Musanze District, which brought together individuals from across the country, ostensibly to partake in the installation of the chief of the Abakono clan.

This gathering was met with condemnation from various quarters, including the ruling party RPF-Inkotanyi, for being sectarian in nature. The Prime Minister’s decision to dismiss these officials was carried out in accordance with instructions from the President, who serves as the guardian of the Constitution. This Constitution obliges all government officials, whether elected or not, to uphold the core tenets of the Constitution.

The installation of the Abakono clan chief on July 9 attracted a significant number of attendees from all corners of the country, including government officials, local leaders, and individuals from private and security sectors. However, many individuals criticized the event for setting a concerning precedent in a nation that has a painful history of the Genocide against the Tutsi, an event largely fueled by sectarianism.

Subsequent to the gathering, several participants, including Esperance Nyirasafari, the Vice President of the Senate, issued public apologies and expressed their commitment to avoiding such discriminatory acts in the future. Justin Kazoza, a businessman who was installed as the chief of the Abakono clan, later apologized for his involvement and renounced his newly-acquired title.

Uwanyirigira Marie Chantal led Gakenke District from 6th December 2019 until 8th August 2023.
Ramuli Janvier, the mayor of Musanze has been replaced by Bizimana Hamiss.
Nizeyimana Jean Marie Vianney has been serving as the mayor of Gakenke since 2021.