Patrick Kayumbu Mazimhaka is the former Deputy Chairperson of the African Union's African Commission. Mr. Mazimhaka was born on 26 April 1948 in Rwanda. He was elected the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission in July 2003 held in Maputo, Mozambique, and held the office until 6 February 2008, when he was succeeded by Erastus J. O. Mwencha. He was, until his election, the Senior Presidential Advisor to the President of Rwanda on the Great Lakes Region.
Patrick Kayumbu Mazimhaka was born in Rwanda and was raised and educated in Uganda, having left Rwanda in 1962 as a young boy in the aftermath of the 1959 Rwanda Revolution, which precipitated a large exodus of Rwandan refugees to Uganda. He attended Ntare School for his secondary education. He pursued his undergraduate studies at Makerere University in Kampala where he obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology. He received a Master of Science degree in 1975.
He started working as a lecturer in the Faculty of Science at Makerere University and was soon appointed the Head of Department of Geology in the same Faculty. In early 1981 Mazimhaka moved to Kenya where he briefly worked as a consultant with a mining company before he finally relocated to Canada with his family.
While there, he came into contact with many Rwandans who were determined as much as he was to return to Rwanda some day. He soon became deeply involved in the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) activities, which had been founded to launch a struggle against the then Rwandan government that had denied its citizens the right to return to their homeland. When the RPF launched an armed war on 1 October 1990 against the Rwandan government, Mazimhaka was appointed RPF's Commissioner for External Relations. He was later elected the Vice-Chairman of RPF in 1993, a position he held until 1998.
Patrick Mazimhaka was appointed the Minister of Youth, Sports and Cooperatives in July 1994 soon after the RPF had ousted the regime of Juvénal Habyarimana in April 1994. He held this position until 1996, when he was made Minister of Rehabilitation and Social Affairs. A year later he was appointed Minister in the Office of the President until 2000 when he was made a Special Envoy of the President.
It was as a Special Envoy that Mazimhaka's ability in diplomacy was tested most. While dealing with the Rwandan government's policy on the Great Lakes, he was involved in the negotiations that led to several agreements, including the 2002 Pretoria agreement. This agreement outlined the disarmament of the former Rwandan Armed Forces (Ex-FAR) and the Interahamwe militia on the one hand, and the withdrawal of Rwandan forces from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on the other. He had also previously been involved in negotiations for the formulation and implementation of The Lusaka Ceasefire Agreement in the DRC, while Minister in 1999.
Patrick Mazimhaka is currently an independent consultant in business, international diplomacy and security studies, with a particular interest in Africa. He is also the chairman of the board of Advisors of The Brenthurst Foundation.
Patrick Mazimhaka is married to Dr. Jolly Rwanyonga Mazimhaka. They have three daughters. She studied at the University of Saskatchewan, where her 1997 PhD thesis in English was The discourse of difference : the representation of black African characters in English renaissance drama.