The Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) party has expressed shock over the untimely passing of its senior cadre Aloisea Inyumba, the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion in the Prime Minister's Office.
Inyumba, 48, succumbed to cancer at her home in Kagugu, a Kigali suburb, on Thursday, at around 10a.m. She is survived by a husband and two children - a daughter aged 15, and a son 10.
Speaking to The New Times yesterday, François Ngarambe, the Secretary General of RPF, expressed distraught for the loss of "one of the most hardworking party officials" at the time when RPF is about to celebrate its silver jubilee.
RPF will celebrate 25 years of existence on December 20.
"This is a big loss to our party. She has left a big vacuum that requires somebody hardworking, and devoted party lover like her. We shall miss her a lot," said Ngarambe.
"We join the nation in mourning a great woman who devoted her life in building the new Rwanda we enjoy today. RPF has lost a great cadre," he added.
Inyumba was also the commissioner for international relations on the national executive committee.
Ngarambe stated that, the late cadre loved the party so much and was very active in promoting the RPF spirit, goals and principles in her different assignments.
He noted that, during the RPF struggle, Inyumba abandoned the opportunity of a good job as a young graduate from Makerere University in Uganda to dedicate her life to the liberation struggle that brought the Rwanda Patriotic Front to power and ended the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
During the liberation struggle (1990-94), she was entrusted with the movement's finances and was a community mobiliser who worked selflessly for the liberation cause.
"Whenever the party wanted her, she was always available, despite having her family and ministerial assignments to attend to. I cannot believe she is gone," lamented Ngarambe.
The news of her death came as a shock to the nation and many Rwandans and friends paid a glowing tribute to the RPF senior cadre on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook describing her death as a great loss to the nation.
After learning about the death of Inyumba, President Paul Kagame, the RPF Chairman tweeted, "What a great loss in the passing away of A. Inyumba for RPF, nation and all of us at a personal level!!? Among the best of RPF and national leaders!"
Inyumba played a central role in fundraising for the Rwanda Patriotic Front since 1987, directly managing the funds that were raised.
She was the Minister of Gender twice - first during the immediate aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and then from May, 2011 until her death.
In between, Inyumba served as the head of the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC), prefet of the former Kigali Ngali, and Senator in the country's bicameral parliament.
As Minister of Gender and Social Affairs in the first post-Genocide cabinet, Inyumba focused much attention on the welfare of widows and orphans of the Genocide.
She is credited for actively encouraging women to vie for elective positions.
The late minister held an Honors Degree in Social Work and Social Administration from Makerere University Kampala, Uganda, and a Masters of International Relations from the Irish American University and the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy.
She was also awarded an honorary doctorate by La Roche College in the United States.
The late Inyumba was a board member of Women for Women International (Washington, DC), and the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace in Kigali.