The Ministry of Public Service and Labour (MIFOTRA), and the Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management (RIAM) violated the constitution by permitting the recently appointed Director of the institute to take office before his approval by the Senate, The New Times has learnt.
According to the law, before heads of government parastatals assume office, they first have to be confirmed or approved by the Senate.
“If it is true that he took office; then it is totally wrong, the constitution was violated in this case,” Prosper Higiro, the Senate vice president said.
Deogratius Harorimana, the new RIAM boss assumed his post on February 17at a function presided over by the Minister of Labour and Public Service, Anastase Murekezi, at RIAM offices in Muhanga district, Southern Province.
According to the Senate’s agenda, Harorimana’s approval is scheduled to be tabled on Friday, March 5, more than two weeks after he took over office.
Higiro pointed out that it’s not the first time officials take office before being approved by the Senate.
“We had a similar case some time back and we wrote a letter to the Prime Minister informing him of the anomaly. We had hoped this error would not occur again,” Higiro said.
Meanwhile the Speaker of Chamber of Deputies, Rose Mukantabana, also confirmed that there has been violation of procedures in the RIAM case.
“It would be unfortunate and a big mistake for an official to take office before he or she is confirmed by Parliament; any decision taken by that official is illegal,” Mukantabana said.
When contacted for a comment, Minister Murekezi denied having violated the Constitution.
“The institution was facing serious problems that needed to be urgently addressed; there was someone appointed by cabinet so as a concerned ministry, we endorsed the takeover,” Murekezi said.
“This was totally a question of responsibility, we couldn’t sit back and look at such an institution running without leadership and facing terrible problems, that is why someone had to take over to assume responsibility.”
He added that the Upper Chamber of Parliament still has powers to overrule Harorimana’s appointment.
“If they find his credentials lacking, Senate will definitely inform the appointing authority and a new replacement may be made,” Murekezi said.
Harorimana, formally the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Deputy CEO in charge of Human Capital and Institutional Development, was appointed by a Cabinet meeting of January 4 and took office on February 17.
During the handover ceremony, Harorimana stated that his priority would be streamlining the institution’s programs and services by boosting its capabilities while developing the institute towards self sustainability.