KIGALI - Members of the Lower Chamber of Parliament could soon adopt a standard dress code for legislators.
Following a report on the conduct of the MP’s presented by the Committee in charge of conduct of Deputies and assessment of the Chamber of Deputies activities, the majority of MP’s supported a move to adopt an appropriate dress that suites the house.
The report presented by the Chairperson of the Committee, Aimable Nibishaka, highlighted flaws and inappropriate dress codes by the Members during sessions, hence calling for a need to establish a dressing code-like it is with most parliaments.
The report, without naming names indicated that some MP’s do not dress to the standards of their job which does not project a good image of them, in and outside parliament.
The report also revealed alarming levels of absenteeism and late-coming of MP’s to parliamentary sessions and committee meetings, hence the need to set strict rules and regulations on the above.
However MP’s could not agree with the findings of the report which indicated some MP’s just appear to sign in the attendance book and disappear without attending any sessions or committee meetings.
MP Giovani Renzaho noted that now that Rwanda has joined the Commonwealth, it should borrow the house set-up, protocol and dress code from other Commonwealth member states.
Majority of the MP’s advocated for men wearing suits and neck ties but there was no consensus on whether female MP’s should be wearing the traditional garb (Umushana) or decent, executive wear.
MP Ezéchias Rwabuhihi noted that attendance in the Rwandan Parliament has never been a problem unlike most parliaments where business resumes when the quorum is full.
“As for lateness and absenteeism, I think our attendance is still the best in the region,”
“We also need to let the public know that the parliament is theirs and what is discussed affects them directly,” Rwabuhihi said in reaction to the findings that the public gallery is not utilised by the public.
Rwabuhihi also was of the view that it is high time the house adopted English as the official language to debate in if the Rwandan parliament is to adopt international standards.
MP Pelagie Uwamariya was against the traditional garb, arguing that the long dress can be a convenience to female MP’s as it does not make it possible to engage in other physical demanding roles like visiting the constituencies.
“I don’t think it is most suitable, some of us come here straight from doing other things in the field and it would not be appropriate. But on special occasions like when the President is presiding over a function, then that is understandable,” Uwimana told the house.
MP Faith Mukakalisa decried the low attendance by public of parliamentary sessions, noting that some discussions can be of interest to the public. She inquired on the status of establishing a Parliamentary Radio station which was earlier planned.
MP Alfred Kayiranga also supported the need to adopt a standard dress code but decried lateness and absenteeism, noting that some of the issues carried from the past parliament have not been addressed as a result of this, yet people want answers.
The debate on the report continues Friday.