On Thursday Feb 14, Health Minister, Dr Diane Gashumba, tendered in her resignation due to what the Prime Minister’s Office described as “habitual gross errors and repeated leadership failures during her tenure.”
There no more explanations. Her resignation came shortly after two other ministers had resigned.
The Prime Minister’s office still had not detailed the cause of their resignations, leaving the public in suspense and feeding on speculation.
It has now emerged that the Health Minister had no choice, but to leave office after making a dangerous move. She had told a blatant lie and undermined the President’s orders.
President Paul Kagame broke the ice on Sunday afternoon during the annual leadership retreat, where he gave an account leading up to Dr. Gashumba’s exit from cabinet.
He said that before the departure for the retreat, he had a light bob moment.
He thought that it would be important for all participants to be screened for Corona Virus, “include me, without exception,” he narrated to about 400 participants at the retreat who left Kigali headed to Gabiro Combat Training Centre on Saturday afternoon.
“I had been told a few days ago that in the event of a corona virus outbreak, everything is in place and that we are ready, ready to go [to respond],” the President said.
The President had given instructions to his aid, Director of Cabinet in the Office of the President, Ines Mpambara, to ask Minister Gashumba to make the arrangements for the screening.
In response, the President explained, the Minister undermined the order, proposing that participants should not worry and sarcastically suggested that prayers would be enough.
In the exchange with the President’s aid, Minister Gashumba was first asked how many devices were available to conduct the exercise. She apparently said 3500, and that taking out 400 would not be an ideal decision.
The aid told the Minister that there were no discussions because it was an instruction from the President, and advised her to “call the President” and give him all those excuses.
Meanwhile, the President had also instructed his aid to inform other officials, including security organs.
While all this dramatic exchange was unfolding between the Dr Gashumba and Mpambara, one of the security chiefs dispatched a team to the ministry of health to investigate and establish the truth of the matter.
His team found out that actually the ministry has only 95 devices, as opposed to the 3500 devices earlier reported by the Health Minister.
The report was sent to the President. He then called the Minister. “They are telling me you only have enough for 95 people, is that correct,” the President asked her. “Yes, it is true,” she told the President. “But you said you have 3500?” the President asked her.
The Minister went into a long story explaining herself, full of lies, the President said. At this moment, the whole audience was silent. “How are we ever going to solve our problems if you can’t tell the truth?” the President asked.
Kagame also explained the reason behind the resignation of the other two Ministers, Evode Uwizeyimana, Minister of State in charge of Constitutional and Legal Affairs, and the Minister of State in charge of Primary and Secondary Education, Issac Munyakazi.
The President said Uwizeyimana displayed misconduct for assaulting a security guard on Monday February 3, at Grand Pension Plaza, one of the city malls.
He said that he was dismayed by the Minister’s misdemeanor, by mugging a female security guard who had insisted that the minister goes through a metal detector only to refuse and tackle her down.
The President deplored officials for tolerating Minister Uwizeyimana’s behavior, which he said was becoming a normal practice after doing the same thing, “not once not twice.”
As for Issac Munyakazi, he fell for a Rwf500,000 bribe from a school that had performed badly, seeking to get a higher rank above 100.
“That’s little money anybody can reject for any reason,” President Kagame said.