21 February 2013

Rwanda: I Used to Think I Would Become a Nun ? Ombudsman Aloysie Cyanzaire

Former Chief Justice and now Ombudsman's dream profession as a teenager was to be an economist. The 49-year-old Aloysie Cyanzaire, in an exclusive interview with Women Today's Doreen Umutesi, explains how working hard paid off for her.

"In whatever I do, I aim to do it to the best of my ability. I use all my strength when accomplishing a task. All jobs are supposed to be respected and it's important to achieve anything you aim at. Every job is valuable," Cyanzaire explains.

Regarding the challenges she has faced while fulfilling her tasks she said, "All jobs are challenging. But the greatest challenge when dealing with people, especially if you are a leader trying to manage them. Instilling team work can be challenging because we all have a different way of seeing things given our different backgrounds and mentality. In most cases the way you would want things to run will not be an easy thing. All you have to do is to try to understand everyone and also try talking to them about reaching your target; you have to work as a team collectively."

She noted that women should always believe in themselves and also inspire and uplift one another.

"Any job accomplished by a man can also be accomplished by a woman, especially those that don't require excessive use of physical strength. We have seen girls excelling in school. A boy can come in first place and a girl comes in second and vice-versa. If that is possible in school, why should it be hard in professional work? We are all pillars of the nation," Cyanzaire adds.

She goes further, saying that girl education is important and it's an initiative that should be spearheaded by mothers and women in different positions.

"For example the science school I attended at Nyundo was the first one established for girls. In the early years, girls were made to believe that science subjects were only for boys. Even when they joined high school, they would opt for arts or secretarial courses but when girls started taking sciences, they excelled.

She attended O'Level at save before joining Nyundo School.

"Nyundo was the first science school for girls and we were the pioneers. When you offer science subjects, there are high chances for anyone to do any course. With my science background, I went on to attain a Bachelors Degree in Law at the National University of Rwanda," Cyanzaire explains.

She adds, "When I enrolled in the nun's school at Save, I felt I wanted to become a nun but later, I felt like the calling was distant. Although I wanted to offer economics, I couldn't because I had high points in Mathematics and anyone with good points in Mathematics was posted to sciences. It's funny, (she laughs) even when I was joining University, I wanted to do a Bachelors in Economics but I was still posted to the faculty of Law. However, I'm grateful that I later enjoyed law and became good at it."

As a family woman, she says, "We have to work together as men and women to uplift our nation. It's just like a family; if one spouse works hard and the other does nothing then the family will achieve nothing. But a couple that works hard is prosperous."

She also adds that integrity is the first trait she encourages her children to uphold. The Ombudsman has thre children.

The soft spoken former chief Justice was born in Ruhango District, Southern Province and is the first born of seven. All her siblings are boys.

"As a first born you have to be responsible and act exemplary at all times. You not only guide them but always have to watch over them. Sometimes you stop being a sister and become a parent. I'm happy that my siblings have not disappointed or failed me in anyway," Cyanzaire discloses proudly.

Rwanda's first female Ombudsman also adds that her role requires unbiased judgment and honesty.

"When we get a case, we carry out thorough investigation and research to avoid any injustice. There is nothing as bad as unfair judgment. You have to use your conscience in difficult cases. But if it turns out that you were wrong, it's important to always apologise and amend the damage you caused. We are human and are bound to make mistakes. When you realise you made a mistake, it's important to correct them," she explains.

As for how she spends her leisure time she says cheerfully, "I spend more time at home. If I'm not at work. I enjoy doing house chores and clean my house every chance I get."

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