Media transferred to Local Government ministry

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By Robert Mugabe

Minister James Musoni


Kigali, Rwanda-The Media which has been under the patronage of Cabinet Affairs Ministry, has now been transferred to the Local Government ministry [MINALOC], GLV can exclusively reveal.

The Minister of Local Government Musoni James confirmed exclusively to GLV that media is coming under MINALOC in the context of good governance. Musoni said, from now it is MINALOC that will be catering for issues of media policy and going to Parliament and Cabinet on issues of media.

According to James Musoni, the newly created Rwanda Governance Board [RGB], which is also supervised by MINALOC, will help in doing media advocacy. The Media department which has been at Cabinet Affairs is shifting to MINALOC to ensure continuity.

It will be a unit in the ministry. That means that Local government ministry will need to go some restructuring to accommodate media.

Musoni James will also be supervising the Media High Council and Orinfor, the state broadcaster.

Minister Musoni James confirmed that discussions are underway between the two ministries concerned to effect a handover. GLV sources say that could be as soon as Wednesday.

Rwanda has not had a substantive Information Minister since Louise Mushikiwabo was promoted to the more prestigious Foreign Affairs docket in 2009.

One year ago, the Information ministry, which was supposed to formulate public policy so as to advance the media sector and free expression in the country and to communicate government programs and positions on issues; it is said these roles are now under various government departments after the ministry its self was being scraped off by the cabinet.

Analysts say the decision to transfer the media portfolio to MINALOC could have significant impact on policy in Rwanda. This is an addition to the powers of the already powerful James Musoni who many commentators in Kigali believe is being positioned a potential Presidential Candidate when Paul Kagame retires in 2017. Controlling the media and the visibility that comes with it is a big achievement for Musoni James if indeed the succession battle is underway.

The immediate consequence is that it has halted the Minister of Cabinet Affairs Protais Musoni’s visit to UK for a study tour on liberalizing the state media.

Last week, Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, had called up development partners for the briefing as they had pledged support for the self-regulation body.

However, on the other hand, the move to MINALOC has also being whispered by some media practitioners as “the last days of media independence” in Rwanda. It is now unknown what the fate of media reforms being implemented by Protais Musoni will be.

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Great Lakes Voice (GLV) is an independent news network that aims to provide Africa's Great Lakes Region with a source of uncensored news.

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