Members of civil society organisations have questioned the very low rate of draft laws initiated by lawmakers – as representatives of the people – considering that most bills are coming from the executive. This situation, they suggested, might be leading to enacting laws that do not speak to citizens’ needs or address their problems. Civil society organisations expressed their concern on Thursday, January 26, during a consultative meeting between the Chamber of Deputies and non-governmental organisations, universities and higher learning institutions. The session was meant to increase citizen participation in parliamentary activities. Eric Mahoro, Deputy Executive Director in charge of Partnership and coalition at Never Again Rwanda, said that the data they collected in line with following parliamentary work suggests that in the last 10 years, bills introduced by lawmakers were less than two per cent of the total laws that parliament passed. “Would you explain why that is the case?” he asked the Chamber of Deputies, indicating that the explanation could help in improving collaboration between Parliament and civil society and higher learning institutions. For example, in 2022, the most impactful bills including the draft law regulating the use of human organs, tissues and cells were from the executive. READ ALSO: Legislation: Five bills that got people talking in 2022 The Chamber of Deputies’ leaders agreed that the bills that are initiated by legislators – also called private members’ bills – are few. Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, said that one of the causes for the dismal number of bills initiated by legislators “is lack of means,” indicating that producing a bill is resource-demanding. “In countries which have adequate resources, an MP has their own office,” she said, adding that each lawmaker also has five to 10 support staffers who help them in the legislation process including research and drafting bills. “But for us, an MP has no support staff,” she said, indicating that even a standing parliamentary committee has two workers. However, the Speaker said that even in those countries with relatively enough resources, more bills come from the executive than from lawmakers. Elaborating on that, Mukabalisa said that it is because it is the government that prepares policies. “In the implementation of policies, there are draft laws that are provided for. Therefore, they (the executive) are the ones who often initiate bills in line with the execution of such policies approved by the Government,” she said. She pointed out that the Parliament also carries out an oversight of the implementation of those policies, and to know whether a law is addressing the issues for which it was set to solve.