MPs back plan to maintain term limits in constitution

Lawmakers yesterday unanimously voted to maintain two terms for the Head of State, as part of the ongoing process to amend the constitution.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament in charge of Legislation Jeanne d'Arc Uwimanimpaye (L) explains the changes of different articles in the Constitution draft as Donatille Mukabalisa, the Speaker of Parliament, and Abbas Mukama, the Deputy Speaker in charge of finance and administration listen. (Doreen Umutesi)
Deputy Speaker of Parliament in charge of Legislation Jeanne d'Arc Uwimanimpaye (L) explains the changes of different articles in the Constitution draft as Donatille Mukabalisa, the Speaker of Parliament, and Abbas Mukama, the Deputy Speaker in charge of finance and administration listen. (Doreen Umutesi)

Lawmakers yesterday unanimously voted to maintain two terms for the Head of State, as part of the ongoing process to amend the constitution.

This came up yesterday as MPs started voting article by article of the draft review of the constitution which was put together with help of a team of seven commissioners, all with diverse expertise in constitutional law.

The draft, which is subject to a referendum before the amendments are adapted into the constitution, also trims the presidential terms to five years, down from seven.

Submitting the new changes before the plenary, Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye, the Deputy Speaker in charge of legislation said that the reduction in number of years was a result of nationwide consultations. Uwimanimpaye is the rapporteur of the council of committee chairpersons, which is championing the exercise.

According to article 101 of the new draft law as seen by this newspaper, “The President of the Republic is elected for a term of office of five (5) years. He/she may be re-elected only once.”

Reacting to the changes, MP Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi said that the new changes, especially the reduction of years did not reflect fully the citizens’ demands.

“I want to know why presidential term years was trimmed from seven to five years and how does it link to political programs,” he said.

In response, Uwimanimpaye, said that while previously the clause sounded different, the team considered a number of suggestions from lawmakers, citizens and other experiences.

She said that they also considered the context of the country and the great progress registered in terms of leadership and nation building. 

The voting on the articles will continue today while lawmakers will have to reexamine some of the articles that were left out yesterday, mostly those relating to senate powers before the draft is adopted and sent to the upper chamber for further scrutiny.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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