We don’t need more powers - Ombudsman

The Office of the Ombudsman does not need more powers and its work so far is effective  given that institutions have to share roles, the Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara said on Thursday.
The Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara addressing journalists on Thursday. (Photo E. Kwibuka).
The Ombudsman, Tito Rutaremara addressing journalists on Thursday. (Photo E. Kwibuka).

The Office of the Ombudsman does not need more powers and its work so far is effective  given that institutions have to share roles, the Ombudsman Tito Rutaremara said on Thursday.

Reacting to people’s views that his office needs to be given more powers because some of its decisions continue to be overlooked by some implementing institutions like the local government, police, prosecution, and courts, the Ombudsman said that his office doesn’t need to ‘jail’ people to be effective.

“We don’t need more powers because those we have are enough provided that each and every country’s institution does its job well. There needs to be division of work…and if we take up prosecutorial work, it will mean that tomorrow we will need to be judges,” he said in an interview with The New Times shortly after addressing journalists who had been attending a training workshop on how to report on corruption at Alpha Palace Hotel.  

He said that there is no need to amend the law governing his office to give it more powers unless there is evidence that some institutions are not working well. The law guarantees his office the ability to ask police, prosecution, and courts to implement its decisions.

“Everyone needs to do his work and do it well if we are to succeed in building democracy,” the Ombudsman said.

The Ombudsman also said that there was no way his office could be a prosecutorial office given its philosophy to be a mediator and to help people speak out on injustices.

“Our philosophy is that we don’t exist to punish. We exist to help people avoid making mistakes. No one will come to us again if we start throwing people in jail,” Rutaremara said.

Speaking out on the current impact of his office, Rutaremara said that the importance of his office is so far proved by the fact that the number of people asking for help from the Ombudsman is growing is growing daily. He added that the office will soon hire a private consultant to study the  impact of his office since 2006.

The Office of the Ombudsman was set up in 2003 by the country’s constitution to act as a link between the population, public and private institutions in the fight against corruption and other injustices.

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