President Paul Kagame has appointed 40-year old Lynder Nkuranga as Director of External Intelligence, the first woman ever to hold the post.
She takes over at a time when Rwanda has serious external security challenges especially within the region. President Kagame has completed his term as chair of the East African Community without convening a EA Authority (the summit of the community heads of state) largely because of his country’s strained relations with key neighbours Burundi and Uganda. Instead, he has had to attend peace making summits with Uganda brokered by outsiders to the community – DR Congo and Angola.
The past two years have seen Rwanda close its border with Uganda over accusations of sabotage by either side. Rwanda has been accusing Uganda of recruiting and supporting dissidents bent on overthrowing Kagame’s government by force of arms. Uganda has been accusing Rwandan spies of infiltrating Uganda to abduct people, mostly refugees. Uganda has even officially corut martialled security officers it accuses of working with Rwandan intelligence to abduct bona fide refugees and taking them to Rwanda.
In a recent interview with the regional East African newspaper, President Kagama said relations between the two have not improved over the Covid-19 pandemic lull.
Uganda recently warned its citizens at the border against crossing to Rwanda where they would likely be shot. Ugandan security has been boasting of successfully blocking Rwanda’s espionage and has even handed over arrested Rwandan agents to the Rwanda ambassador – before media cameras.
It is now up to Nkuranga to up her country’s game in dealing with the regional espionage race. Her predecessor Col Anaclet Kalibata has barely served in the office for two years.
Ms Nkuranga has served in the Rwanda National Police (RNP) for over ten years, having previously worked as Commissioner for Cooperation and Protocol. She was the only woman in the 36-member Rwanda Police Command. Beside her security credentials, Nkuranga has a master’s degree in peace and conflict studies.
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