Agathe Uwilingiyimana

Agathe Uwilingiyimana

date of birth : 23/05/ 195 | date of death : 07 /04/ 19
Born on 23 May 1953, Rwanda, Political figure, Prime minister, her term was ended when she was assassinated during the opening stages of the Rwandan Genocide. She was Rwanda's first and so far only female prime minister.

Birth, Birthplace, Time of birth:

Agathe Uwilingiyimana was born on May 23, 1953 in Nyaruhengeri , Rwanda.

Father's name: -
Mother's name: -
Brother: -
Sister: -
Spouse: Ignace Barahira (m. 1976)
Children: -

Life events:


Agathe Uwilingiyimana was born in 1953 in the village of Nyaruhengeri, Rwanda, to farming parents. Shortly after she was born the family emigrated from the border region of Butare to work in the Belgian Congo. Her father moved the family back to Butare when Uwilingiyimana was four. She was educated at Notre Dame des Citeaux High School. In 1976 she married Ignace Barahira, a fellow student from her village. Their first child was born later in the year; Agathe Uwilingiyimana had five children, four boys and one girl. The last born, a boy, was merely three years old when her mother died. Her husband, Ignace Barahira, perished with her on that fateful night of April 6, 1994 but her children survived and are currently living in Switzerland. When she was thirty (in 1983) she taught chemistry at the National University of Rwanda. This was financially possible because her husband obtained a University Laboratory post at twice the salary of a math teacher. She received a B.Sc. in 1985teaching chemistry for four years in the Butare academic schools. Rwandan media was later critical of her scientific education, as it was thought that girls should not study science. Agathe was a true African woman. She would wake up early to make sure her children and husbands had breakfast and were ready to go to school (in the case of children).
She even handled the mundane affairs concerning rations and servant duties herself,” Makuza reminisces. Agathe was a member of the pro-RPF, Movement for a Democratic Republic, or MDR party. The RPF and Tribunal propaganda has always been that the government of Rwanda was under the thumb of a dictatorial Hutu president. However, since the implementation of the internal political parties agreement signed in April 1992, and the Arusha Accords in 1993, the president had lost all real governmental power and, according to Dallaire, "was little more than a figurehead. She served as Prime Minister of Rwanda from 18 July 1993 until her death on 7 April 1994. She was killed the morning of April 7th, 1994, by persons unknown in Kigali, Rwanda.


After success in public examinations she was educated at Notre Dame des Citeaux High School, and obtained the certificate to teach humanities at twenty. In 1976 she received an A-level certificate in mathematics and chemistry; she became a mathematics teacher in a Butare social school.

Occupations and Career:

Agathe Uwilingiyimana was a political figure. She was Rwanda's first and so far only female prime minister. In 1986 she created a Soriority and Credit Cooperative Society and In 1989 she became a director in the Ministry of Commerce. She joined the Republican and Democratic Movement (MDR), an opposition party, in 1992, and four months later was appointed Minister of Education by Dismas Nsengiyaremye, the first opposition prime minister under a power-sharing scheme negotiated between President Juvénal Habyarimana and five major opposition parties. On 17 July 1993, after a meeting between President Habyarimana and all five parties, Agathe Uwilingiyimana became the first woman prime minister of Rwanda, replacing Dr Nsengiyaremye.The Habyarimana–Uwilingiyimana government was still Hutu dominated, and had the daunting task of successfully negotiating a peace accord with the rebel Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), the Tutsi-dominated guerilla movement. An agreement between Habyarimana, the five opposition parties (led ostensibly by Uwilingiyimana), and the RPF, was finally reached on 4 August 1993. Under the "Arusha Accords", Habyarimana's ruling MRND would take the transitional presidency, and the Prime Minister would come from the MDR. Since the MDR had suspended Uwilingiyimana they chose Faustin Twagiramungu (who had been instrumental in suspending her) to replace her. President Habyarimana officially dismissed her as Prime Minister eighteen days after her appointment to the office, but she stayed on in a caretaker capacity for eight months, until April 1994.

Hobbies and personal interests:

Her children were her pride and joy. When Agathe found the time, she cooked her favorite meal, igitoke and isombe (boiled green banana and pounded cassava leaves).

Death, place of death, Time of death, place of burial:

Seeing the stand-off outside her home, Agathe Uwilingiyimana and her family took refuge in the Kigali U.N. volunteer compound around 8 am. Eye-witnesses to the inquiry on U.N. actions say that Rwandan soldiers entered the compound at 10 am, and searched it for Agathe Uwilingiyimana. Fearing for the lives of her children, Agathe and her husband emerged, and they were shot and killed by the presidential guard on the morning of 7 April 1994. Her children escaped and eventually took refuge in Switzerland.she was buried atthe Heroes Corner in Remera.