President Paul Kagame has appointed four new senators, namely Jean-Pierre Dusingizemungu, Epiphanie Kanziza, André Twahirwa, and Evode Uwizeyimana.
The development was announced Friday in a statement signed by Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.
The quartet is part of six new senators who will replace another six politicians in the Upper House previously picked by the President (four) and Consultative Forum of Political Organisations (two).
Dusingizemungu, who has been serving as president of Ibuka, the umbrella organisation for Genocide survivors’ associations, previously served as commissioner at the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG). He also worked in the education sector as a lecturer in psychology at the former University of Rwanda. Dusinzimungu has also held leadership positions in multiple academic institutions including Ruhango Inderaburezi college and Inatek.
Uwizeyimana goes to the Senate months after he had stepped down from cabinet where he served as the Minister of State in charge of Constitutional & Legal Affairs. He left cabinet amid public backlash from an earlier incident in which he shoved a female private security guard on duty.
Before joining cabinet, Uwizeyimana had served as vice-chairperson of Rwanda Law Reform Commission.
Epiphanie Kanziza previously served as Coordinator of Women's Organization for Promoting Unity.
For his part, André Twahirwa is a respected scholar of history.
How are senators picked?
The Senate is composed of 26 members – some elected, others appointed by different players.
They include twelve 12 senators who are elected by electoral colleges in accordance with national administrative entities and eight who are appointed by the President of the Republic. In doing so, the President is required to give particular consideration to the principles of national unity, the representation of historically marginalized groups, and any other national interest.
In addition, there are four senators who are picked by the National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations, while two others come from public and private institutions of higher learning.
Also, former Heads of State who successfully completed their term of office or resigned voluntarily may become members of the Senate upon their request to the President of the Senate and approved by the Bureau of the Senate.
Senators appointed by the President of the Republic are not subject to approval by the Supreme Court and their appointment follows the election and designation of Senators from other organs.
The constitution requires that at least 30 per cent of elected and appointed senators must be women.
Senators serve a five-year term, renewable once, although former Heads of the State are not subject to term limits.
The main functions of the Senate include representing the population, passing legislation, scrutinising and overseeing executive action, and approving the appointment of some key state officials and diplomats.
The Upper Chamber of Parliament is also responsible for supervising the application of the fundamental principles of national unity and fighting genocide ideology.Follow NkurunzizaMiche