President Paul Kagame is today expected to preside over the swearing-in of 20 senators as the Third Senate starts its mandate.
The senators will join another six whose mandate will expire in 2020. The Senate is composed of 26 members who join the Upper House through elections or on appointment by the President of the Republic.
Twelve senators are elected by local government electoral colleges in the City of Kigali and the four provinces. Of these, one is picked from the City of Kigali, two from Northern Province, while the rest of the three provinces (West, East and South) elect three senators each.
Another four senators are elected by the National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations, while two others are picked by private and public tertiary institutions – one each.
Another eight members are appointed by the President of the Republic. In appointing them, the President gives particular consideration to the principles of national unity, the representation of historically marginalised groups, and any other national interests.
Every Member of Parliament represents the nation as a whole and not those who elected or nominated them, or the political organisation which seconded their candidacy during elections.
The law requires that each gender is represented by at least 30 per cent at every leadership level.
Both the elected and appointed senators serve for a five-year term, renewable once.
The Second Senate concluded its mandate on October 10 bringing an eight-year tenure to an end.
The Advisor to the President of the Senate, Olivier Mushimire, told The New Times that the leadership of the Senate would remain active until new leaders are picked.
“The ordinary senators stopped working on Thursday (last week) but the Senate leadership is still working, managing current affairs until the swearing-in ceremony when they will hand over,” he said.
According to the Constitution, the President of the Republic has 15 days after the Supreme Court has vetted the elected Senators to officially set the date of the swearing-in ceremony of the new Senate members.
The Supreme Court completed this exercise on October 3.
The Constitution also states that the President of the Republic must be present when the Senate President and the Vice Presidents are being elected.
The three are elected by their colleagues during the Upper House’s first session.
Rwanda has a bicameral parliament, consisting of the Senate, and Chamber of Deputies.