Parliament to adopt ‘open–door’ policy

Lawmakers are planning a new communication strategy whereby members of the public will be invited to the Parliamentary Buildings to interact with Members of Parliament and Senators.
Senate President Vincent Biruta at the press conference on Wednesday. (Photo/G.Barya).
Senate President Vincent Biruta at the press conference on Wednesday. (Photo/G.Barya).

Lawmakers are planning a new communication strategy whereby members of the public will be invited to the Parliamentary Buildings to interact with Members of Parliament and Senators.

The strategy, according to Senate President Dr. Vincent Biruta, is composed of a system, dubbed ‘open-door’ which will show “all Rwandans how parliamentary business is conducted and to create a forum of interaction between lawmakers and the public.” The modalities of how the system will be enforced are still being worked out.

“This will improve citizens’ involvement in drafting laws and other activities of the Parliament and also widens their understanding of the roles of the legislature,” Biruta said Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference meant to exhibit the Senate’s 2008 achievements and future plans, Biruta pointed at several activities composed in the new strategy which includes a Parliamentary radio station.

“The radio station would broadcast the day-to-day activities of the Parliament and also receive citizens’ queries that will be passed on to the lawmakers,” he added. Meanwhile, last year, the Senate endorsed 45 bills, 70 percent of which had been passed in the Lower Chamber in 2008.

“The reason we were not at the same pace with the Lower Chamber is because there are laws passed in the Chamber of Deputies that do not necessarily have come to the Senate.”

Some of the bills passed by the Senate in 2008 include the code of conduct for government officials, the law against Gender Based Violence and the law against the Genocide Ideology.

During the press conference, journalists expressed dissatisfaction over the recently passed media bill saying it favours government officials than boosting the growth of the media.

Biruta responded that there is still room for rectification of the bill.

“The law was designed to solve the long cropping problems in the media industry; the President, (of the Republic) is by constitution allowed to reverse the law for correction,” said Biruta.

He however hastened to add that the revision of the Penal Code is going on in the Lower Chamber and that the issues concerning punitive measures in the media law can be tackled in this Code.

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