Clarification of the stories which appeared in the new times of april 4 and 7, 2008 on political organizations

  Dear editor, After reading and thoroughly analyzing the stories which appeared in The New Times of April 4, and 7, 2008, I wish to make the following clarification:

Dear editor,

After reading and thoroughly analyzing the stories which appeared in The New Times of April 4, and 7, 2008, I wish to make the following clarification:

The Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of June 2003 as amended to date, embraces the broad concepts of a multiparty democracy, it also codifies explicit limitations and requirements on political participation and puts in place a legal framework governing political organizations. In this context, Article 52 of the Constitution obliges political organizations to abide by the Constitution and other laws as well as democratic principles and not to destabilize national unity, territorial integrity and security of the Nation. Article 54 includes the requirement that "political organizations must constantly reflect the unity of the people of Rwanda and gender equality and complementality, whether in the recruitment of members, putting in place organs of leadership and in their operations and activities."

The Senate has the duty to safeguard and to enforce the respect of fundamental principles which are provided by the Constitution in its articles 9 and 54. According to Article 87 of the Constitution, it is the specific function to the Senate to supervise the application of those principles. In fulfilling its Constitutional mandate, the Senate, as provided by article 55 of the Constitution, may lodge a plaint against a political organization which has grossly violated the obligations contained in the provisions of article 52, 53 and 54 of the Constitution. The Senate refers the plaint to the High Court of the Republic in first instance. In case of appeal, the appeal is heard by the Supreme Court. Depending on the gravity of the violation proved, the High Court of the Republic may, without prejudice to criminal prosecution, impose any of following sanctions against political organizations found guilty of the violation: formal warning, suspension of activities for a period not exceeding suspension of activities for the whole parliamentary term and dissolution. The same provision is provided by Organic Law n° 16/2003 of 27/06/2003 governing political organization and Politicians as amended and completed to date.

According to the foresaid, the Senate can neither legally ban, dissolve nor suspend any political organization, nor can it prevent any political party from participating in general elections. This prerogative belongs to the High Court of Justice.

 

Augustin HABIMANA

Director of Translation, Documentation

and Communication in the Parliament.

 

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