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African Union commend Rwanda new gender-parity cabinet

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Saturday congratulated President Paul Kagame of Rwanda for appointing a gender-parity government.

Rwanda made a major reshuffle last Thursday, with women making up 50 percent of the cabinet.

The reshuffle in Rwanda followed the election of former Foreign Minister Louise Mushikwabo as secretary-general of the International Organization of La Francophonie.

Rwanda is the global leader in women’s representation in parliament and ranks as the 4th country on the global gender equality scale, Faki noted in a statement on Saturday.

“The appointment of a gender-parity government, once again, demonstrates Rwanda’s deep and consistent commitment to women’s empowerment, including through appropriate representation and effective participation in political decision-making,” he said.

Last Tuesday, Faki also commended Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for appointing a cabinet marked by gender parity.

The Ethiopian Parliament last Tuesday approved the appointment of 20 ministers, with women also making up half of the cabinet.

Faki encouraged other member states to emulate the example set by Rwanda and Ethiopia to gender equality and women’s empowerment.



Women make up 50 percent of Rwanda new cabinet

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- The number of women in the Rwandan cabinet has reaches 50 percent following Thursday’s cabinet reshuffle made by President Paul Kagame.

They have been assigned to run key ministerial portfolios including ministries of trade and industry; health; ICT and innovation; youth; gender and family promotion; sports and culture; public service and labor; and emergency management.

A higher number of women in decision-making roles lead to a decrease in gender discrimination and gender-based crimes, Kagame told the opening of the 2018/19 Rwanda judicial year on Friday in the capital, Kigali.

He also said men must play an important role in upholding the rights of women.

Emma Marie Bugingo, executive secretary of an umbrella organization of women associations, Pro-Femmes Twese Hamwe, told Xinhua on Friday in a phone interview that women’s participation in Rwanda’s development “is a good example to disprove the old saying that women can’t lead.”

“The record 50 percent female representation in the cabinet is a win for the Rwandan government,” she said.

The number of members of the cabinet has fallen from 31 to 26 after the reshuffle.

Global Gender Gap Report 2017 of the World Economic Forum ranked Rwanda fourth globally in closing gender-based disparity with a gap of 18 percent.


Rwanda new cabinet members sworn in following major reshuffle

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Friday swore in six new ministers late Thursday in a major cabinet reshuffle.

The new ministers are Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister of Local Government, Minister of ICT and Innovation, and Minister of Gender and Family Promotion.

Women hold about 50 percent of cabinet portfolios after they obtain the positions of Minister of Trade and Industry and Minister of ICT and Innovation in the downsized cabinet, whose size decreases from 31 to 26 members.

Kagame urged the cabinet at the swearing-in ceremony to commit to transforming Rwanda and lives of its citizens.

Other senior officials sworn in at the ceremony were new Inspector General of Police and a deputy.

The reshuffle came a week after then foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo was elected as Secretary General of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, which represents about one third of the United Nations’ member states and accounts for a population of about 900 million people, including 274 million French speakers.


Defilement, drug abuse rampant in Rwanda: official

KIGALI Rwanda (Xinhua) -- Cases of child defilement and drug abuse are among rampant cases in Rwandan courts, Rwanda’s Chief Justice Sam Rugege said Friday.

In the past three years, more than 9,300 people were convicted of either drug abuse or trafficking, Rugege said at the opening of the 2018/19 judicial year in the Rwandan capital city Kigali.

He expressed dismay that cases of drug abuse seem to be on upward trend, from 1,030 registered in 2016 to 4199 so far this year.

Rugege also said 2,728 people were convicted of child defilement between 2016 and 2018 in different courts in the country, most of which involved victims between 3 to 12 years old.

Those found guilty of defilement will face 20 to 25 years in prison, and up to a life sentence for committing the crime against children below 14 years old. Trafficking or dealing in banned drugs will be sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.



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