Senate passes law establishing constitutional review commission

Senators, yesterday, unanimously passed a Bill determining the set-up, regulation and mandate of a special commission that will assist lawmakers in carrying out studies that will guide the constitutional amendments.
Residents of Rwesero Cell, Nyanza District,  express their views about amending the Article 101 the Constitution to allow President Paul Kagame run for another term. This was at Nyanza Stadium on July 25. (Emmanuel Ntirenganya)
Residents of Rwesero Cell, Nyanza District, express their views about amending the Article 101 the Constitution to allow President Paul Kagame run for another term. This was at Nyanza Stadium on July 25. (Emmanuel Ntirenganya)

Senators, yesterday, unanimously passed a Bill determining the set-up, regulation and mandate of a special commission that will assist lawmakers in carrying out studies that will guide the constitutional amendments.

After the Bill was sent to Senate by the members of the Lower Chamber who initiated it, the senators endorsed all its articles, essentially enacting the law.

The legislation, which was initiated as a private member’s bill by the Lower Chamber, was last week passed by the same House before it was sent to senators for enactment.

From here, it remains subject of promulgation by the President before it can be published in the Official Gazette.

The parliamentary committee that prepared the Bill was chaired by MP Samuel Musabyimana, the current chairperson of the committee in charge of assessment of deputies’ activities, conduct and legislative immunity.

Together with MP Yvonne Uwayisenga, who is the deputy chairperson of the committee, Musabyimana requested the senators to consider passing it quickly, given the urgency Rwandans expressed to have the constitutional amendments done.

“We are happy that the senators passed the Bill. The Bill will now be sent to the Prime Minister’s Office,” Musabyimana told The New Times shortly after the session.

Setting up a Constitutional Review Commission to advise Parliament on constitutional amendments was initiated following countrywide consultations by lawmakers, where citizens called for the urgent lifting of the presidential term limits by amending Article 101 of the Constitution.

The consultations took place in July and early August after Parliament had received petitions from over 3.7 million citizens who wanted the Constitution amended to allow President Paul Kagame run for another term in office after 2017.

Senator Chrysologue Karangwa told lawmakers, yesterday, that passing the Bill on the Constitutional Review Commission during one single session proved that the lawmakers were doing exactly what the people want them to do.

“I support this Bill without any reservations,” Karangwa said.

Senator Gallican Niyongana concurred on fast-tracking the enactment of the Bill into law.

“It will help us complete what we set out to achieve,” he said, alluding to countrywide consultations on amending the Constitution.

Under the Bill, the commission will report to the Lower Chamber of Parliament and will comprise seven people with knowledge on constitutional law.

After the passing of the law that will govern the functions and scope of the commission, the seven commissioners, will be appointed by the President.

The commissioners will be paid by Parliament and they will work for four months. Their tenure can be renewed depending on how long their work stretches.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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