Responsibility of leaders is to serve, Kagame tells senators

President Kagame poses for a photo with the new Senate Bureau after the swearing-in of the Third Senate at Parliamentary Buildings yesterday. The new senate president is Dr Augustin Iyamuremye (2nd left) and on the left is vice president Dr Alvera Mukabaramba (in charge of Finance and Administration). On the right is Espérance Nyirasafari who was voted vice president in charge of Legislation and Government Oversight). / Village Urugwiro

President Paul Kagame yesterday presided over the swearing-in ceremony of the Third Senate, reminding leaders to serve citizens and enable them to improve their well-being.

Kagame said this during the ceremony where 20 new senators took their oath joining another six whose mandate will end next year.

He reminded the new senators that their work should not only be technical but aim to deliver decisions that are useful to all Rwandans and to emphasize national unity.

“The responsibility of leaders is to serve. Your job is not to vote yes or no when it comes to laws but instead, it’s to make sure that Rwandans get what they need and deserve so that they have better quality lives,” Kagame said.

He reminded them that the trust that had been given go them should push them to work harder so that they can deliver on their responsibilities.

“The people chose you based on your values, experience, integrity, expertise, and abilities you have in different areas.

“That’s the reason Rwandans expect a lot from you. They know that all these abilities that you have will be used to change their livelihoods for the better,” he said.

New Senate Bureau voted in

The senators also elected their next leaders.

Dr Augustin Iyamuremye was elected as the new Senate President, winning against Zephryn Kalimba who was also nominated.

Iyamuremye, 74, is a vastly experienced senior PSD politician. His political career spans over three decades.

Since 1994, he served in different Cabinet portfolios, including Agriculture, Information, and Foreign Affairs.

He also served as a senator presidential advisor, among other roles.

He’s one of the four senate-designates who are joining the Upper House as presidential appointees.

Until his recent appointment, Iyamuremye was serving as the Chairperson of Rwanda Elders Advisory Forum (REAF), a role reserved for people who have proven experience and ability in solving national challenges.

The senators also voted two Vice Presidents.

Dr. Alvera Mukabaramba was voted as the new Senate Vice-President in charge of Finance and Administration. A pediatrician by training, 59-year-old Mukabaramba’s political career kicked off in 1999 when she first became a member of the National Transitional Assembly serving through 2003.

From 2003 until October 2011, she was a member of the Chamber of Deputies.

Until her appointment to the Senate, she served as the State Minister for Social Affairs and Community Development in the Ministry of Local Government for eight years.

Mukabaramba is the president of Party of Progress and Concord (PPC).

Espérance Nyirasafari was voted as the new Vice-President in charge of Legislation and Government Oversight.

Before being appointed by the President to Senate, Nyirasafari was serving as Minister for Sports and Culture.

Before that, she was the Minister for Gender and Family Promotion.

Iyamuremye commits

The new President of the Senate, Dr. Iyamuremye said that they had big shoes to fill but pledged his team’s hard work to do even better.

“The ones who served before us have achieved countless goals. It is not simple to step in their shoes but we have no right to do less than they did,” he said

“Our country’s progress is fast. When you say Senate, people think of old people who move slowly but we will work fast and we will move with the times and we will be forward-looking,” he said.

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