Catholic Bishops in Rwanda Elect Cardinal to Head Their Conference

Antoine Cardinal Kambanda, elected President of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda (CEPR). Credit: Archdiocese of Kigali

Catholic Bishops in Rwanda have elected Antoine Cardinal Kambanda President of the Episcopal Conference of Rwanda (CEPR).

In a December 2 statement, CEPR members say Cardinal Kambanda was elected at the end of their Plenary Assembly that was held in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali from November 29 to December 2.

The first-ever Cardinal in Rwanda is set to succeed Bishop Philippe Rukamba who has completed his three-year tenure.

“To assist Cardinal Kambanda as the Vice President is Bishop Vincent Harolimana of Ruhengeri Diocese,” CEPR members say.

The new CEPR advisers are Bishop Anaclet Mwumvaneza of Nyundo Diocese and Bishop Edouard Sinayobye of Cyangugu Diocese, CEPR members say about the officials elected for the next three years.


Born in November 1958, Cardinal Kambanda who studied in Burundi, Uganda, and Kenya was ordained a Priest on 8 September 1990 by St. John Paul II in his native Archdiocese of Kigali during the Pontiff’s visit to Rwanda. 

He was appointed Bishop of Kibungo Diocese in 2013 where he served for five years until his transfer and elevation as Archbishop of Kigali in 2018. His episcopal motto is “Ut vitam habeant’’ (That They May Have Life). 

On 16 December 2020, Cardinal Kambanda was appointed to the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples (CEP), whose members are responsible for coordinating the church’s missionary work.

The Local Ordinary of Rwanda’s Kigali Archdiocese was made Cardinal alongside 12 others during the 28 November 2020 Consistory.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.