Six to leave the Senate
Six members of the Senate are set to leave the stage from Rwanda’s bicameral parliament after serving out their eight year, non-renewable term.
Senators Dr Joseph Karemera, Seth Esri Kamanzi, Henritte Umulisa and Teddy Gacinya, all presidential appointees, have to retire from the Upper Chamber of Parliament before the end of next month.
Others are Agnes Mukabaranga and Juvenal Sebishwi, who joined the august House as choices from the Consultative Forum for Political Parties. The Forum on Thursday picked Charles Uyisenga of Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Jeanne d’Arc Mukakalisa of the Centrist Democratic Party (PDC) as Senate-designates, and the two are set to replace Mukabaranga and Sebishwi.
But the Senate-designates are subject to approval by the Supreme Court within seven days from the date of nomination.
“Six senators have their term coming to an end soon…,” Augustine Habimana, the Director General for Outreach and Communication at Parliament, confirmed to The New Times.
According to the law, anyone who joins the Senate to fill a position that fell vacant for whatever reason shall only serve out the period left on the successor’s term.
The Senate has a total of 26 members, the majority of whom are elected on the basis of geographical constituencies.
The other members joined the Senate last year.
The six will join another 20 former senators, whose mandate expired last year and have since been replaced. Some of them, including the country’s first Senate president, Dr Vincent Biruta (now Education minister), have since been appointed to different public service jobs.
Article 84 of the Constitution says, “with the exception of the former Heads of State who become members [of the Senate] in accordance with article 82 of this Constitution, members of the Senate serve a term of eight years, not renewable.”
The six senators who should be leaving will have clocked eight years by mid October 2012.
“For purposes of continuity the Senate is constituted at different intervals because the senatorial term is not renewable,” Habimana said.
The Constitution provides that the senatorial nominees shall be readied seven days prior to their effective appointment to allow ample time for them to be put under scrutiny. That means that President Kagame has a few days to nominate four people to the Senate.
Article 82 of the Constitution empowers the President to appoint a total of eight senators – in two phases – taking into consideration such matters as national unity, historically marginalized communities and national public interests.
The President appointed his first batch of four senators last year, as did the parties forum, which is mandated to pick four overall.
Most senior among those about to leave the Senate is Kamanzi, 64.
He studied Political Sciences and has previously served as a research assistant, Institute of Development Studies, University of Dar-es-Salaam; Senior Lecturer, Institute of Finance Management, Dar-es-Salaam; Secretary for Foreign Affairs, RPF Secretariat; Presidential Advisor on Foreign Affairs; and Vice-Rector, Kigali Institute of Education. He is a veteran RPF member.
The other is Senator Joseph Karemera, 58. He is a medical doctor by training and a veteran member of RPF. He previously served in cabinet in the dockets of health and education, before going on to serve as the country’s ambassador to South Africa. He has been in the Senate since 2002.
The Senate is mandated to supervise the application of the principles relating to the activities of the political parties and fundamental principles of the state, such as fight against genocide ideology, rule of rule, and promotion of social welfare, among others.