KAMPALA: President Paul Kagame has removed Ugandan veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda from his set of advisors.
Mwenda, who runs the Independent Magazine, has been on the 23-man Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) since 2011. Despite being closer to Kagame, other politicians in Kigali never liked him to play that role.
However, sources in Rwanda say Mwenda was dropped over ‘diplomatic reasons’ in the changes by Kagame that brought in six new faces to form that committee.
Mwenda was not part of the PAC meeting chaired by President Kagame, yesterday in New York.
Kagame retained most of the members that made up the PAC since 2009, except Mwenda and five others who include; Former Presidential Secretary David Himbara, former Rwanda Foreign Affairs Minister Rosemary Museminari, former Rwanda Minister James Musoni, Francis Gatare and Francis Kannimba
However sources say positions on PAC are rotational from time to time thus Mwenda’s time could have come to a close.
“Though PAC members evolve from time, the council has had a few constant faces, mainly renowned individuals who continue to contribute to Rwanda’s development such as Saddleback Church Founder Pastor Rick Warren and American businessman and friend of Rwanda Joe Ritchie among others,” a report from Rwanda’s KT press says.
Mwenda’s presence on the advisory committee became a talking point amidst Rwanda, Uganda tensions with suggestions his loyalty was torn between Rwanda where he is an advisor and Uganda, where he is a citizen.
The new list of PAC members now includes; Dr Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group, former Minister of Finance, Rwanda, Dr Clet Niyikiza GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Vice President of Worldwide Research & Development, Dr Eliane Ubalijoro an Assistant Professor at McGill University, Canada and Prof. Michael Porter,
Also on the PAC is; businessman Ashish Thakkar, Michael Roux – Rwanda’s Honorary Consul General in Australia, Chairman, Asian Markets, KPMG; Roux International Pty Ltd; RI Group;
Sir Tom Hunter – Scottish entrepreneur, philanthropist, co-founder Clinton-Hunter Development Initiative
Other are; Kaia Miller, founder of Aslan Global and Michael Fairbank, Chairman Emeritus and founder of The OTF Group, Joseph Ritchie, Andrea Redmond, Christian Angermayer. Dale Dawson, Bishop John Rucyahana, Michael Fairbanks, Dr. Paul Davenport, Pastor Rick Warren, Sir David King, Doug Shears and Rod Reynolds.
The PAC is a group of eminent Rwandan and International experts who offer strategic advice and guidance to President Paul Kagame.
While meeting the PAC in NewYork yesterday, Kagame has thanked members for sticking with Rwanda even when many had written off the country, telling them that their efforts have not been in vain.
“I sincerely want to thank all of you for staying the course and sticking with us for a very long time. From the time we were not given any chance to do anything. From that time we’ve made a very good story, we have rebuilt. We rebuilt ourselves to a point at which we wish to be held,” President Kagame told the group.