Parliament challenges minister on electoral bill

KIMIHURURA - The State Minister in the Ministry of Local government in charge of social welfare, Christine Nyatanyi was yesterday put to task to explain several loopholes in the proposed Electoral bill, months before Rwanda goes to the polls.

KIMIHURURA - The State Minister in the Ministry of Local government in charge of social welfare, Christine Nyatanyi was yesterday put to task to explain several loopholes in the proposed Electoral bill, months before Rwanda goes to the polls.

Nyatanyi was appearing before Members of the Lower Chamber of Parliament to give details about a bill that would see Rwanda update its numerous electoral laws.

Nyatanyi told the 65 lawmakers who were in attendance for the first day after their recess, that the proposed bill is a replacement for that of 1999 which she said had been overtaken by events.

The new bill will incorporate the rules and regulations of grassroots, parliamentary, presidential and referendum elections.

“The first electoral law was established in 1999 but so many things have changed since then. This new bill will make everything easier to understand for both voters and the candidates,” she said.

The new legislation will combine laws and regulations governing different elections.

Among the new articles added in the new bill is one prohibiting a person convicted for embezzlement to stand in any election.

The law makers questioned the proposed bill’s exclusion of penalties that punish those who violently reject election results.

Faith Mukakalisa, who raised the issue, reasoned that Rwanda should learn from regional countries like Kenya which faced post electoral violence after a group disagreed with the results.

Mukakalisa also advised that the new law should be specific on the article that says that anyone who is standing for president should first quit their jobs.

“I do not understand why someone, especially those from the private sector should quit his or her job before contesting,” she asked.

Lawmakers sought to find out how candidates interested in running for office but have been out of the country for a long time will be handled.  They also inquired on how state media will be utilized amicably by candidates.  

To stand for election, one will be required to posses a ‘clean’ legal background and be living in Rwanda by the time of presenting his candidature.

The new electoral bill will be scrutinized by a parliamentary committee before it’s again debated on the floor of parliament.

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