Analysis: Rwanda: Inside Kagame Diplomats’ Reshuffle

Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Monday night reshuffled the country’s top diplomats in which new envoys were sent to sensitive positions in South Africa, DRC and Angola.

RDF’s Chief of Staff, Lt. General Charles Karamba was deployed as Rwanda’s Ambassador to Tanzania.

In 1994, Karamba was the Rwandese Patriotic Army (RPA) intelligence officer for the battalion in Kigali.

Karamba was reporting to Kayumba Nyamwasa who then headed RPA’s Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) and Charles Kayonga who was the battalion commander.

A man of a few words, Karamba was in 2018 promoted from the rank of Brigadier to Chief of Staff, Air Force.

Rwanda needs Tanzania as its main source of imports following the closure of the common border with Uganda. In Tanzania, Karamba will seek to bolster relations between Rwanda and Tanzania.

Notably, Tanzania is the guardian of Burundi’s democracy and has since kept at bay plans to remove president Pierre Nkurunziza from power.

Since Rwanda’s relations with Burundi and Uganda remain strained, Kagame could be planning to consolidate ties with Tanzania as a reliable route for imports via the Indian Ocean.


Eugene Kayihura

Kayihura has spent the better part of his time in the National Intelligence Security Services.

According to former Rwandan Ambassador to United States, Theogene Rudasingwa, Kayihura’s family enjoys close ties with Kagame and his wife, Jeanette.

He spent time in a military jail in Rwanda after his service as a First Secretary in Rwanda Embassy in Washington DC.

“Behind the scenes, Kayihura was charged with embezzling funds. Kagame quietly pardoned him and appointed him as Rwanda’s Ambassador to South Korea and then High Commissioner to Tanzania,” Rudasingwa told ChimpReports in an email on Tuesday.

Rudasingwa, a harsh critic of President Kagame, says Kayihura has now been appointed High Commissioner to South Africa, the epicenter of Rwanda’s intelligence operations in the Southern Africa region.

Vincent Karega

As the High Commissioner to South Africa, Karega is faulted for failing to revamp Kigali’s ties with Pretoria.

South African authorities have for long accused Kigali of planning assassinations against Rwandan dissidents, claims Kagame’s government denies.

Former spymaster Col Patrick Karegeya was strangled in a hotel in South Africa while former army chief, Gen Kayumba Nyamwasa survived multiple assassination attempts.

Kigali accuses South Africa of providing refuge to Nyamwasa, saying he leads a rebel movement planning to overthrow President Kagame’s government.

Karega now heads to the Democratic Republic of Congo which is currently enjoying good relations with Rwanda.

However, security tensions remain high in the region with suspected Rwandan rebels operating in South Kivu.

Alfred Kalisa

A prominent businessman who went into banking business (BCDI) with RPF, he fell from grace, and his business was confiscated. Kalisa was known for his public flamboyance and sense of independence, according to Rudasingwa.

Kagame jailed him for a couple of years before pardoning him. He then sent him to Angola as the first Ambassador of Rwanda to that nation.

He has now been appointed Ambassador to Egypt.

Kalisa was also involved in Rwanda’s wars in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1990s.

Emmanuel Hategeka

He was recently promoted to Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Development Board.

Hategeka is the new envoy to United Arab Emirates. Kagame has been visiting UAE to deepen business ties with wealthy Arabs in the area.

Ambassador James Kimonyo, who was previously deployed to Kenya, now goes to China, replacing Gen Charles Kayonga.

Gasamagera Wellars, former Director General Rwanda Management Institute Muhanga, is the new envoy to Angola.

Kagame sees Angola and DRC as his main allies in the SADC bloc amid sour relations with neighbours Burundi and Uganda.

Prosper Higiro, who served as Vice-President of the Senate representing the Kirehe District in the Eastern Province, will represent Rwanda’s interests in Canada.

Kigali Mayor Marie-Chantal Rwakazina, who previously worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has been sent to Switzerland.

Rwakazina was the fourth female mayor of the city after Rose Kabuye, Aisa Kirabo Kacyira and Monique Mukaruliza.

Eng. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, who was appointed on 30 August, 2017 as the Minister of State in charge of Transport in the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), was sent to Singapore, in what is seen as a demotion.

Others are Dr Francois Ngarambe who has been deployed to France; Dr Aissa Kirabo to Ghana; Jean De Dieu Uwihanganye to Singapore; Vincent Munyeshyaka to South Korea and François Nkurikiyimfura to Qatar.

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