Aged 57, Louise Mushikiwabo is a Rwandan politician who has served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Rwanda since 2009. She also serves as Government Spokesperson. She was previously Minister of Information.
In May President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Chair of the African Union confirmed that Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo is competing on the position of the “Francophonie” organization’s Secretary General
President Kagame was speaking during a joint press conference with his French Counterpart, Emmanuel Macron in Paris where French President also pledged his support to Mushikiwabo, the Rwandan candidate.
He said,” If there is an African candidacy on the post of Secretary General of Francophonie, it would make much sense. And if it is about a female African candidate, this would make even much more sense. Thus, I believe, Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo has all competencies required for this post. I think having an African female candidate on this post is very good news-thus, I will support her.”
OIF elections are scheduled to take place on October 11-12 in Everan, the capital city of Rumania.
This website surveyed to a hundred respondents living in different countries and nationals living in Rwanda.
Our survey targets people aged between 30 and 65 Years old and among them 75% gave their answers while 25% promised to respond later until we publish the survey’s results which doesn’t include their views because they haven’t yet responded.
The main Survey Question was “Tell us one or two reasons why do you think Mushikiwabo is the best choice for OIF Secretariat position?”
The findings show five reasons:
- Her Diplomatic Character
A big number of respondents believed that Mushikiwabo experience in diplomatic relations and how effective she is when dealing with complicated matters prove that she is the best candidate to assume the responsibilities of OIF Secretary General.
Emma Claudine Ntirenganya, one of the women in Rwandan Media said “Louise Mushikiwabo has proven to be an effective leader serving Rwanda as a very effective Foreign Minister even during periods of political crisis.”
Back in the years, Mushikiwabo has been headlining National and International media during various crisis that needed diplomatic solutions. The recent ones are the DRC and FDLR rebel group which has escalated even to other regional countries with the example of diplomatic problems which involved Tanzania Former President Jakaya Kikwete and Rwandan President over FDLR links with Tanzanian leaders.
At that time Mushikiwabo used her diplomatic effectiveness and openness on the crisis which involved regional and even various blocs including SADC countries which resulted in a good understanding of FDLR’s issue of its Genocidal ideology.
FDLR is Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, an armed rebel group which was very active in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and at that time it carried out many attacks on Rwandan Territory which would have resulted into regional crisis if there was no common understanding among all actors. The U.N has on numerous occasions accused the group to have had committed atrocities in Eastern DRC.
Respondents showed that Mushikiwabo is smart, wise and eloquent adding that she speaks very fluently both French and English, and she is best candidate ever for that post.
Umutesi Olive, is pursuing her post graduate studies in Indonesia. She responded “Mushikiwabo Louise is qualified as long as she can speak both French and English very well and fit for International relations since she is currently Minister of Foreign Affairs in Rwanda! She can play the role very well, there would be no challenges for her in that position.”
The same as Mulinzi Mugabo Julien, a Freelancer Photographer and Safari Guide: “Mushikiwabo is perfect for OIF job. Her CV has led her to this” adding that “The future of the French language is in the hands of Africans, there are the majority French speakers, especially in West & central Africa.”
In 2009, When Mushikiwabo took over the post of Foreign Affairs, the WikiLeaks wrote that “Her French language skills will help Rwanda’s efforts to integrate its French- and English-speaking neighbors in a common effort to promote regional development and will assist Rwanda to reach out to France to restored diplomatic relations.”
The Foreign Minister is a warm though sometimes guarded interlocutor; publicly she is occasionally seen as a “fiery” figure for her passionate advocacy. Unlike her reserved predecessor who spoke no French, Louise is a fluent French speaker. Mushikiwabo, the youngest of nine children, grew up in Rwanda and attended the National University of Rwanda. A scholarship recipient, she pursued graduate studies in French and Conference Interpretation at the University of Delaware. She was working in public relations in Washington, DC when she learned that most members of her immediate family, including her brother Lando Ndasingwa, the only Tutsi in Habyarimana, s transitional cabinet, were killed in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi. Mushikiwabo is the co-founder and president of the Rwanda Children’s Fund, a charitable organization based in Washington, DC. Prior to becoming the Minister of Information in March 2008, Mushikiwabo was the communications director at the African Development Bank. Like many highly educated Rwandans who grew up in the country, Mushikiwabo speaks Kinyarwanda, French, English, and Swahili. End Bio Note
- Remarkable Women in Politics
Apart from her International relations experience, our survey results also show that Mushikiwabo is remarkable woman particularly in conflict resolving and peacekeeping and General in political scene both in Africa and outside the continent.
One of the respondents who was not willing to be mentioned in this article said: “She is among the five strong female leaders in Africa. This would lead her to be the right candidate for OIF.”
This year, Jeune Afrique, a French-language pan-African weekly news magazine has put the 57-year-old Mushikiwabo on the fifth position among 50 most influential women politicians in Africa.
The magazine says that it was not an easy exercise to select 50 people among over one billion people from 54 African countries. Among factors they considered include their universal visibility.
The factors also include ways they are followed on social media, particularly on Twitter and ways their statements or activities are received outside their countries and their role in political-related decision making.
Mushikiwabo is known for raising the voice in explaining the vision Rwanda has chosen and that Africa needs self-dependency.
On the list, the magazine did not include Heads of State and their wives. Also, they did not include Africans living outside the continent, though they might be doing activities developing the continent or their countries.
- Contribution in the resurrection of French-Rwanda Diplomacy
According to many of the respondents, Mushikiwabo managed strongly the Rwanda diplomacy during a turburance period for the country. Others maintain that her rich experience in matters pertaining regional and international blocs and her contribution in the resurrection of French-Rwanda Diplomacy is a clear indication that she can take the Francophonie Organization to the other level.
One of the respondents, Emmy Arsonval Maniriho, a communication officer at UNDP Rwanda said “She has strong political career in Foreign Affairs. Her candidacy is supported by France and Rwanda in Particular. There is nothing can prevent her from handling OIF matters.”
Back to France-Rwanda relations, the later has on various occasions criticized French Government to pretending it had no role in 1994 Genocide against Tutsi during which over a million Rwandans brutally killed by the Genocidal regime which had close links to the then French Government.
However, recently Louise Mushikiwabo during an Interview with France 24 revealed that “another chapter” is beginning for Kigali and Paris. Relations between the two countries have been strained since the 1994 genocide Against Tutsi. But in Paris last June, French President Emmanuel Macron hosted his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame for talks at the Élysée. It was Kagame’s first visit to the French presidential palace since 2011.
- Openness: Mushikiwabo’s Openness in communication shows her willingness to self-disclose or to reveal information about her country and Africa as well as about International politics makes her as appropriate. Respondents showed that Mushikiwabo listens openly and reacts honestly to the all matters that have impact on society.
Considering her career, Rushingabigwi Jean Bosco, Media personality and Communication Officer at Rwandese Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA) said “She is well equipped to deliver. Long experience as Foreign Affairs Minister of Rwanda equipped her with capacity to negotiate and compromise considering the country’s history. – Her openness to both Francophonie and Anglophonie will allow her to engage more partners and also Rwanda’s orientation to focus more on results than on mere politicking is likely to impact on her efficiency.”
Mushikiwabo has over the years proven herself, she’s respected on the continent and in the Western capitals.
Know also that:
She has Degrees in Languages and Interpretation from University of Delaware, USA. Author and public relations executive. Lived in the United States for 22 years, then briefly in Tunisia. March 2008, joined the Rwandan Cabinet. Former Minister of Information. Currently, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. Has given numerous television and radio talks on Rwandan issues and collaborated on many award-winning documentary films. Co-Author, Rwanda Means the Universe (2006), an intergenerational socio-historical memoir. Has contributed many articles to newspapers and online magazines. Outstanding Humanitarian Award (2004), American University’s School of International Studies.1155