President names cabinet, new faces abound

Burundi’s new president, Pierre Nkurunziza, appointed a new and more streamlined cabinet on Tuesday with all but one of the 20 ministers coming into government for the first time.

Eleven of the ministers are Hutus and nine Tutsis, in accordance with the country's constitution which calls for a 60-40 ratio of Hutus to Tutsis. Nkurunziza, 40, is a Hutu who had headed the former Hutu-dominated rebel group; the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD).

Tutsis will head some of the most important ministries, including the Ministry for National Defence and Former Combatants, which will go to former army chief of staff Maj-Gen Germain Niyoyankana.

Seven women are to hold ministerial posts, in accordance with a requirement in the new constitution that at least 30 percent of personnel in all levels of government be women. Some of the most senior posts, such as the minister for justice; the minister for commerce and industry; the minister for external relations and international cooperation will be women - the first in Burundi’s history.

Nkurunziza’s ruling CNDD-FDD party holds 12 ministries, among them the Ministry of the Interior and Public Security.

Three ministries will be headed by the members of the party of former President Domitien Ndayizeye, the Front pour la democratie au Burundi (FRODEBU). These are the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock; the Ministry of Public Health; and the Ministry of Land Management, Environment and Tourism.

FRODEBU spokesman Frederic Bamvuginyumvira said his party was not consulted before the announcement of the appointments.

One member from each of four other parties were appointed ministers including one from the former ruling Tutsi-dominated Parti de l'unite pour le progrès national (UPRONA). She is Marie Goreth Nizigama, who will be minister of development planning and national reconstruction

However, UPRONA Chairman Jean Baptiste Manwangari denied that Nizigama was a member of UPRONA. "I am in the best place to know the party members and to my knowledge no minister from UPRONA is in the cabinet," Manwangari said.

Nkurunziza has eliminated six ministerial posts of the former cabinet. The only minister to be retained, Francoise Ngendahayo, will be minister of national solidarity, human rights and gender which combines three previous ministries.

The new ministers are due to be sworn in on Thursday.

Following is the ministerial list:

Minister of Interior and Public Security - Salvator Ntacobamaze (CNDD-FDD) - male
Minister of National Defence and Former Combatants - Maj-Gen Germain Niyoyankana (independent) - male
Minister of Development Planning and National Reconstruction - Marie Goreth Nizigama (UPRONA: But party chairman denies membership) - female
Minister of Public Works and Equipment - Potame Nizigire (CNDD-FDD)- male
Minister of Energy and Mines - Herman Tuyaga (CNDD-FDD) - male
Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation - Antoinette Batumubwira (CNDD-FDD) - female
Minister of Transport, Posts and Telecommunications - Jean Bigirimana (CNDD-FDD) - male
Minister of Finance - Dieudonne Ngowenubusa (CNDD-FDD) - male
Minister of Good Governance and General Inspection of the State and Local Administration - Joseph Ntakirutimana (CNDD-FDD) - male
Minister of Information, Communication, Relations with Parliament and Government Spokesman - Karenga Ramadhani (CNDD-FDD) - male
Minister of Public Health - Dr Barnabe Bonimpa (FRODEBU) - male
Minister of Commerce and Industry - Denise Sinankwa (CNDD-FDD) - female
Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals - Clotilde Niragira (CNDD-FDD) - female
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock - Elie Buzoya (FRODEBU) - male
Minister of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender - Francoise Ngendahayo (Inkinzo) - female
Minister of Public Service and Social Security - Juvenal Ngowenubusa *(MRC) - male
Minister of Youth and Sports - Jean-Jacques Nyenimigabo (CNDD-FDD) - male
Minister of Land Management, Environment and Tourism - Odette Kayitesi (FRODEBU) - female
Minister at the Presidency in charge of AIDS - Dr Triphonie Nkurunziza **(PARENA) - female
Minister of National Education and Culture - Saidi Kibeya (CNDD-FDD) - male

* MRC - Mouvement pour la réhabilitation du citoyen
** Parti pour le redressement national (PARENA)