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Monday, 20 March, 2000, 12:21 GMT
Rwandan cabinet shake-up
Rwandan Vice President Paul Kagame
Vice President Kagame remains a powerful force
By Chris Simpson in Kigali

A new Rwandan Government has been named, with several leading politicians removed from their positions.

Newcomers have been brought in at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Interior.

The new Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza, is one of seven newcomers in the ministerial line up.


Rwanda's President Pasteur Bizimungu
President Bizimungu pushed unsuccessfully to retain a top official
Patrick Mazimhaka, a senior foreign policy advisor, has been removed as minister in the president's office.

Earlier this year, Mr Mazimhaka came under scrutiny from a parliamentary commission of inquiry which was concerned about allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the former ministry of Reintegration and Rehabilitation when he was in charge there.

It is reported that the President, Pasteur Bizimungu, pushed strongly for Mr Mazimhaka's inclusion in the new government but without success.

Delays

The reshuffle comes after a period of political uncertainty in Rwanda sparked by resignations and political feuding.

Announcing the new government has also taken far longer than expected.


Former Rwanda PM Pierre Rwigema
Former PM Rwigema's resignation prompted the reshuffle
Government officials have conceded that the delays were caused by serious differences of opinion, which they say have now been amicably resolved.

The last cabinet was officially dissolved when Prime Minister, Pierre-Celestin Rwigema, resigned at the end of February amidst mounting allegations of corruption.

The new Prime Minister, Mr Makuza, flew home from his post as ambassador to Germany a week ago to take up his new post.

Even though his appointment was announced a week ago he has only now been given a ministerial team to work with.

Fragile transition

Like the former prime minister, Mr Makuza is from the predominantly Hutu Democratic Republican Movement, the MDR.

Rwanda's Vice President, Paul Kagame, has talked of the need for changes at the top.

He has warned that Rwanda is going through a fragile transitional phase and should not lose sight of its priorities.

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See also:

06 Mar 00 | Africa
'Assassination' in Kigali
28 Feb 00 | Africa
Rwandan PM resigns
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