President Kagame today presided over the consecration of the new Shyira Diocese Bishop, Dr. Laurent Mbanda, to replace Bishop John Rucyahana who has been serving as head of the Diocese since 1997. In his speech during the consecration ceremony, President Kagame urged Bishop Laurent Mbanda to continue to carry out the good work his predecessor had began. The President hailed Bishop John Rucyahana for excelling in the execution of his responsibilities not only as the Bishop of Shyira but also in his service to the entire nation. He pointed out that although John Rucyahana had retired, he was “not at all tired” because he would continue, like he has been doing, to carry out not only religious activities but for the nation

“Bishop Rucyahana has not been serving this Diocese alone. He has also been carrying out responsibilities of national significance and let no one think that his retirement from the Diocese means less work for him –on the contrary, there is even more work waiting for him,” The President said. He asked the new Shyira Bishop to emulate Bishop Rucyahana and go beyond serving the Diocese and carry out duties of national inclination, assuring him of Government’s support.

President Kagame reiterated the importance of accountability among leaders, saying the interests of the people being served should always come before those of the leaders. “Religious leaders or political leaders, we are all performing the same functions of serving the people. When you are a shepherd and have the responsibility of looking after sheep, you have to account for each and every one of them, needless to say that the sheep should always look good, not vice-versa,” the President said, adding that a good shepherd can be easily distinguished from a bad one by simply looking at the sheep. “The good shepherd will present health looking sheep while the bad one will look healthier than the sheep he is supposed to look after. While the former is rewarded, the latter is discredited. John has been a good shepherd and I have no doubt that Bishop Mbanda will not be any different,” the President said.

Bishop John Rucyahana said that without peace and stability in the country, all that he had achieved as head of Shyira Diocese would not have been possible, thanking President Kagame for ensuring peace in the country. He also hailed the President for the Girinka National Program, which he said had benefitted his Diocese a great deal. Bishop Laurent Mbanda said that although it was not easy to fit in his predecessor’s shoes, he had no doubt that he was “also a size 15.” The Governor of the Northern Province, Aime Bosenibamwe said that Bishop Rucyahana is the pride of the province and people would never forget him because of the way he had transformed the province. “Bishop Rucyahana is an exemplary missionary. He has ushered in many developmental projects in this province and aided in many government programs like Gacaca and unity and reconciliation,” the Governor said.