Members of the Senate yesterday agreed to summon Prime Minister Bernard Makuza over the issue surrounding Deogratius Harorimana, the new boss of Rwanda Institute of Administration and Management(RIAM), who assumed office before getting a Senatorial nod.
The Senators, yesterday evening, concluded that the Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi, violated the constitution by permitting the recently appointed head of the institute to take office before his approval by the Senate.
“I think the Minister made a mistake and he disobeyed the Constitution. We shouldn’t just let it go. Something needs to be done, this issue needs to be addressed,” said Senator Joseph Karemera, who also chairs the standing committee on political affairs.
According to the law, before heads of government parastatals assume office, they first have to be confirmed or approved by the Senate.
Harorimana, who was until his appointment the Deputy CEO of Rwanda Development Board in charge of Human Capital and Institutional Development, was handed office at a function that was presided over by Murekezi.
The Vice President of the Senate, Rose Mukantabana, said that the Minister should not get away with this anomaly.
“A mistake was made and the law was broken. I personally think that the Minister should be summoned. It should not end with just writing him a letter,” she said
Senator Chrysologue Kubwimana said that the Senate is the body that was supposed to lead by example and asked his colleagues to portray exactly that.
“The Minister should be summoned. Though he explained in The New Times (that he did so because it was a matter of urgency), he needs to explain to us because Rwandans need to know that you cannot break the law and get away with it,” he said
The President of the Senate, Vincent Biruta, said that the Senate had not delayed to confirm Harorimana since his documents were brought late to the Senate (on February 17), the same day that he was handed the office by the Minister.
Murekezi insisted in The New Times on Wednesday that he had not violated the Constitution.
"The institution was facing serious problems that needed to be urgently addressed; there was someone appointed by cabinet, so as a concerned ministry, we endorsed the takeover," Murekezi said.
"This was totally a question of responsibility, we couldn't sit back and look at the institution running without leadership and facing terrible problems, that is why someone had to take over to assume responsibility."
The Senators agreed that because the Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza represented the government’s interests, he would also be summoned to discuss the working relationship between the Senate and government.