|Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation|
4 December 2009
|Preceded by||Rosemary Museminali|
22 May 1961 |
Jabana, Kigali, Rwanda
|Alma mater||National University of Rwanda
University of Delaware
Louise Mushikiwabo (born 22 May 1961) 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.
Louise Mushikiwabo was born on 22 May 1961 in Kigali, the Rwandan capital. Her father was Bitsindinkumi, a Tutsi from the Batsobe clan; Bitsindinkumi worked as a farmer, managing the family's smallholding as well as working as bookkeeper for a colonial coffee plantation. Her mother was Nyiratulira. She spent her childhood in Kigali. The youngest of nine children, her siblings included Lando Ndasingwa, who became a notable businessman and politician in Rwanda before being killed in 1994 during the Rwandan Genocide, and Anne-Marie Kantengwa, who took over Lando's hotel Chez Lando after his death and served in the Parliament of Rwanda from 2003 to 2008.
After completing primary and secondary school in Kigali, Mushikiwabo went to study at the National University of Rwanda, in the southern city of Butare, in 1981. She graduated from university in 1984, with a bachelor's degree in English, and then worked briefly as a secondary school teacher. In 1986, she emigrated from Rwanda to the United States, where she began studying for a master's degree in Languages and Interpretation at the University of Delaware, with French as her specialist language. Upon finishing her studies in 1988, she remained in the United States, settling in the Washington, D.C. area. She started her career working for lobbying organisations, before taking a position with the African Development Bank (ADB); as part of her role with the ADB she lived in Tunisia for a short time, and eventually became the bank's Communications Director.
In 2006, Mushikiwabo wrote a book, Rwanda Means the Universe, which was co-authored by Jack Kramer, an American journalist and ex-marine. The book is semi-autobiographical, describing Mushikiwabo's family history, her early life in Rwanda, and her experiences upon emigrating to the United States. It also describes the Rwandan genocide in detail, from a historical perspective as well as from Mushikwabo's own point of view living in Washington, as she received the news that many of her family members had been killed.
Minister of Information, 2008–2009
In March 2008, Mushikiwabo was invited by Rwandan President Paul Kagame to return to her homeland Rwanda and take up a position in his government. She was appointed to the post of Minister of Information, replacing Laurent Nkusi. Early in her tenure, Mushikiwabo was responsible for deciding whether to take action against several local media organisations that had run defamatory stories about Kagame. One newspaper, the Kinyarwanda-language daily Umuco, had published an article comparing the president to Adolf Hitler, and the High Council of the Press (HCP) had requested the government to suspend the newspaper's licence. Nkusi had refused this request, and while Mushikiwabo did not officially suspend the paper, it nonetheless stopped printing in October 2008. Mushikiwabo generally encouraged her colleagues to support freedom of the press, but was also firm in ensuring that the media complied with Rwanda's tough laws surrounding genocide denial. In 2009, she issued a temporary ban on the Kinyarwanda radio station broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), because she claimed it had aired programmes "giving free scope to genocidaires and negationists of the genocide"; the BBC denied this claim, arguing that it and the government had different interpretations of the genocide.
As well as being responsible for the ministry's decision making, Mushikiwabo also fulfilled the role of government spokesperson during her stint as Minister of Information. For example when Rwanda had a diplomatic crisis with Germany following the arrest of President Kagame's chief of protocol Rose Kabuye, Mushikiwabo spoke to the international media to clarify the Rwandan government's position. She made use of her linguistic skills, being able to give statements in all of Rwanda's official languages, Kinyarwanda, French and English.
Personal life and family
Her brother, Lando Ndasingwa, was the only Tutsi minister in the last Habyarimana government, but was killed at the beginning of the 1994 genocide. Her sister, Anne-Marie Kantengwa, took over the management of their brother's hotel and restaurant, Chez Lando, after his murder. Mushikiwabo is also the niece of the distinguished Rwandan scholar and priest Alexis Kagame.
- Karuhanga, James (6 December 2009). "Museminali Hands Over to Mushikiwabo". The New Times. Rwanda. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- "Louise Mushikiwabo". Macmillan Books. St. Martin's Press. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- Twagilimana, Aimable. Historical Dictionary of Rwanda.
- Mushikiwabo & Kramer 2007, p. 65.
- Mushikiwabo & Kramer 2007, p. Dedications.
- Nkem-Eneanya, Jennifer (27 November 2013). "Minister Louise Mushikiwabo; Rebuilding Rwanda One Policy at a Time…". Konnect Africa.
- "New faces in Cabinet". The New Times. Rwanda. 8 March 2008.
- "Anne-Marie Kantengwa". The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "Louise Mushikiwabo". Duchess International Magazine. 8 January 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- Adams, Elizabeth (14 October 2014). "Rwanda overcomes tragedy". University of Delaware. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- Crisafulli, Patricia; Redmond, Andrea (2012). Rwanda, Inc.: How a Devastated Nation Became an Economic Model for the Developing World. Macmillan. p. 30. ISBN 9781137066473.
- Waters, Tony. "Rwanda Means the Universe: A Native's Memoir of Blood and Bloodlines". The International Journal of African Historical Studies. Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Macmillan Publishers. "Jack Kramer". Retrieved 16 November 2017.
- Munyaneza, James (26 March 2008). "Umuco saga: Why all eyes are on new Minister Mushikiwabo". The New Times. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2009. Government Printing Office. pp. 528–. GGKEY:EXCA0EGBR49.
- Munyaneza, James (24 March 2008). "Suspend Umuco, HCP tells new Information Minister". The New Times. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- Musoni, Edwin (3 May 2008). "Media has a right to public information–Mushikiwabo". The New Times. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- Nkurunziza, Sam (27 April 2009). "Mushikiwabo warns media on Genocide reporting". The New Times. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "Rwanda bans BBC local broadcasts". BBC News. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- Munyaneza, James (8 December 2009). "Why the media will miss Mushikiwabo". Retrieved 17 November 2017.
- McGreal, Chris (10 November 2008). "Top Rwandan aide chooses French terror trial". The Guardian.
- Advisory Council Munich Security Conference.
- Mushikiwabo's Autobiography on the site crimesofwar.org Archived 2004-12-05 at the Wayback Machine.
- Mushikiwabo, Louise; Kramer, Jack (2007). Rwanda Means the Universe: A Native's Memoir of Blood and Bloodlines. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9781429907316.
- Media related to Louise Mushikiwabo at Wikimedia Commons