The Upper and Lower Chambers of Parliament yesterday highlighted the achievements both chambers registered in the 2009, which includes the passing of 58 crucial laws, the majority of which concerned the economy.
Addressing Journalists during a press conference held in the Senate, the Speaker of the Lower Chamber of Deputies, Rose Mukantabana, noted that the house delivered many milestones in the past year, in as far as its mission of putting in place necessary laws, holding the government accountable and promoting the wellbeing of all Rwandans is concerned.
“During 2009, Parliament managed to fulfil most of it obligations and among these, we managed to closely follow up the activities of government where government officials were summoned to explain some of the outstanding issues,” Mukatabana told the press.
Among those summoned include the Minister of Culture and Sports to explain on the state of Genocide memorial sites and the Minister of Gender and Family Promotion to explain on the functionality of the Women Guarantee Fund.
She added that in a bid to address public concerns, the Minister of Trade and Industry was summoned twice to explain the plight of people neighbouring Akagera National Park who lost their lives and property to straying wild animals.
Senators also summoned other government officials to explain the functions of the Social Security Policy and the Workers Medical Insurance Fund (RAMA) and different laws concerning easing doing business in Rwanda were also passed.
Both chambers also managed to carry out major reforms and reviews in the country’s 36-year old Penal Code act, making major changes in line with current times.
“During this year, MPs improved their interaction with the electorate through individual and group visits to the people in a bid to get closer and listen to their problems first-hand as well as check on different development projects,” Mukatabana added.
Senate President, Dr. Vincent Biruta, dismissed suggestions that the House does not question any laws or reports forwarded by the government.
“That is not true. We only pass them when we are satisfied. As far as I know, we have sent back many laws and reports, and we only pass them when they meet our satisfactions. We have made many ministers go and come back until they bring convincing results,”
“But even then, I don’t think that delaying things, even when they are meeting all conditions, is the solution. What matters here is the standard of whatever laws or reports we pass,” said Biruta in defence of the lawmakers.
In line with social welfare, the two speakers noted that MPs and Senators actively engaged with the electorate to create awareness on universal human rights and the fight against Genocide while concerns on the fund for genocide survivors (FARG) were also attended to.
In a bid to foster the countries bilateral relations, the lawmakers also engaged in different cross border missions aimed at creating working relationships with several regional and continental parliamentary bodies.
It was also revealed that the South Korean Parliament donated 104 computers to its Rwandan counterpart while plans to establish a parliamentary radio station are already under way.