A delegation of 16 officials from Sri Lanka’s Defence Service Command and Staff College (DSCSC) yesterday held discussions with members of the lower and upper chambers of parliament where they were briefed on Rwanda’s progress and the country’s legislation processes.
The officers wanted to particularly know how power is shared between political parties, to which the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security, Zeno Mutimura, answered that the constitution was clear about power sharing saying that this was done to promote unity.
“The ruling party can only have up to 50 per cent of cabinet seats. The law is clear about that because the rest must go to other parties and individuals. Sharing is one of the things Rwandans needed to heal,” he explained.
The delegation enquired about what the President bases on to choose the eight senators that the law requires him to choose. On this, the president of the Senatorial Standing Committee of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Security Michel Rugema said that several issues were considered.
“The President chooses the eight Senators taking into consideration all these fundamental principles. It’s an exercise that is carried out to enable and ensure that no section of the society is left behind and requirements of the constitution to build include national processes are considered,” he said.
Responding to questions on how the government was able to sieve corrupt officials from the good ones before they took office, Senator Mike Rugema said that there were systems in place that promote checks and balances with help from different institutions.
“We have a system where when it comes to elections, political parties list their candidates in order of importance meaning their ethics, political activities and value to the party.
“This system sieves the wrong elements from the beginning. We also have other ways of checks and balances. Before candidates are accepted by the election commission, there is due diligence by the Supreme Court, we have other institutions like the Ombudsman. It’s not easy for an individual with such traits to raise to prominence,” he said.
The head of the visiting delegation, Colonel Kirnlkitsli Akanayake, said that there were similarities between the two countries, and pointed out that the speed and momentum at which Rwanda was moving forward was commendable.
“There are many similarities between our countries but to see what you have managed in the last 23 years is inspiring and commendable and we hope that we can learn much more from each other,” he said.
The delegation will be in the country until August 22.
During that time, they will also visit the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) Command and Staff College to learn about peace support operations as well as other institutions to learn from the country’s post-Genocide experience, as well as capacity building and skills development, doing business and air space management, among others.
Currently, 20 RDF officers are undergoing training in engineering in Sri Lanka.