MPs pass law scrapping legal personality for urban districts

The Minister for Local Government, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, speaks to lawmakers as Edda Mukabagwiza, the Vice Speaker in charge of .Legal Affairs and Government Oversight looks on at the Parliamentary Buildings in Kimihurura yesterday. Craish Bahizi.

MPs in the Chamber of Deputies on Friday passed a new law governing the City of Kigali, which will scrap legal personality for all the three districts of the city.

Under the new law, the City of Kigali will be the only office that decides what is done in all areas of the capital.

The Minister for Local Government, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, welcomed the House’s approval of the government’s proposal, explaining that the change to the city’s governance structure will improve service delivery for residents and fast-track its development.

Members of Parliament follow Minister Shyaka’s presentation yesterday. Sam Ngendahimana.

“Once the approved law is gazetted, its implementation will be fast. We can only expect good things from these reforms,” he told journalists shortly after witnessing the law’s passing in Parliament.

The new law will allow the city to do away with current difficulties where both the office of the City of Kigali and its three districts have independent governing councils that decide what gets done.

Giving an example of where building a road from Gahanga (Kicukiro District) to Gisozi (Gasabo District) would require that the two districts take care of their own areas, the minister has said that the new law would make both planning and implementation for the city’s activities easier and more effective.

The city has three districts; Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro.

The minister has argued that the new law will make it possible to do effective planning and efficiently use resources for the city’s development.

The reforms are also expected to ease decision making since one office, the City of Kigali led by an elected mayor who is assisted by both elected and appointed councillors as well as a committee of specialised advisors, will be making decisions for the entire city area.

Many MPs who endorsed the bill are of the view that it will solve existing problems for the city’s governance and help achieve the goal of fast developing the city to cater for the needs of its residents.

MP Eugene Barikana said that while a debate is always there worldwide on whether to decentralise or centralise the governance of institutions, the current changes at the Kigali City will also fall under that debate.

“In this case it looks like we are moving towards centralisation of governance in the City of Kigali in order to achieve the intended goal,” he said during discussions on the draft law prior to its final passing.

In a move that Minister Shyaka has touted as an approach that will bring “better services” to city residents, all decisions concerning the City of Kigali will be made at the level of the City of Kigali instead of being taken by different organs at the district level.

Hence, a district in the city will have no District Council and will no longer have an Executive Committee.

It will rather have an Executive Organ of the District composed of a District Executive Administrator and his deputy, who are appointed by the Prime Minister.

District administrators for the three districts will be assisted by a security committee and a corporate services division focused on delivering the city’s services to citizens.

After Friday’s final approval of the law by the Lower House of Parliament, it now awaits presidential assent before it can be published in the Official Gazette and start being implemented.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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