Senators debate provisions in constitutional amendments

Senators yesterday suggested some changes in the draft law of constitutional amendments as the standing committee in charge of political affairs started to scrutinise the proposed amendments on articles.
Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission Senate Jean Nepomuscene Sindikubwabo and his deputy ,Gertrude Kazarwa, during the discussion yesterday. (Faustin Niyigena)
Chairman of the Constitutional Review Commission Senate Jean Nepomuscene Sindikubwabo and his deputy ,Gertrude Kazarwa, during the discussion yesterday. (Faustin Niyigena)

Senators yesterday suggested some changes in the draft law of constitutional amendments as the standing committee in charge of political affairs started to scrutinise the proposed amendments on articles.

Of the deconstructed articles were introductory provisions as entailed in the preamble of the Constitution.

Earlier debates on the preamble girdled around who and what to acknowledge. Yesterday’s discussions evolved on the appellation of democracy and its suitable meaning within the Rwandan context; the country’s achievements and aspects of gender, amongst others.

According to Marie Claire Mukasine, a member of the senatorial committee, the preamble should have captured strong pillars of peace, security, unity and reconciliation, which have many times been cited by members of the public.

“These are strong pillars expressed by members of the public as a result of our field trips. They should have been brought up or captured in the preamble. We consider them to be amongst the tenets of democracy,” she said.

Senator Tito Rutaremara made reference to what should be considered as principles of democracy in Rwanda.

“We believe components of peace, security, unity and reconciliation constitute strong pillars of the country’s democracy; otherwise the model that the country had chosen remains the consensual democracy,” he said.

Consensual democracy as opposed to adversorial democracy practiced by other countries claiming to be champions of egalitarianism, is a unique model chosen by the country entrenched in the country’s unique history, according to senators.

According to the draft law, in the same prelude, Rwandans should commit to build a State founded on democracy, power sharing, national unity and reconciliation, good governance, development, social justice, tolerance and resolution of issues through dialogue.

Additional to the preamble, the principle of gender equity, complementarities and acknowledgements of heroic deeds by ancestors were introduced with respects to achievements registered by the country.

“This is one of other major achievements recorded over the past 21 years. It would be paramount to have it captured in the preamble of the Constitution; it is something we take pride in,” said Mukasine.

Should the draft law be passed in its current status, it will equally acknowledge historical values as performed by the country’s forefathers, including liberators who rescued the country from the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

“We the people of Rwanda, honouring our heroic ancestors who  sacrificed in founding Rwanda, and  those who heroically fought for security,  justice, dignity, freedom and restored our  national tranquility and pride;

“Considering that we enjoy the privilege of having one country, a common language, a common culture and a long shared history which ought to lead to a common vision of our destiny;

“Conscious of the genocide committed against Tutsi that decimated more than a million sons and daughters of Rwanda and conscious of the tragic history of our country;

“Committed to build a State governed by the rule of law, based on respect for human rights, freedom and the principle of Gender equality of citizens before the law,” reads part of the amended preamble.

The draft law further stated in its preamble that Rwandans resolve to prevent and punish the crime of genocide, fight revionism, eradicate the ideology of genocide and all its manifestations – divisionism and discrimination – based on ethnicity, region and any other ground.

The same provision further states that Rwandans are determined to ensure that values based on family, morality, patriotism and justice are maintained and all functions of the State and  fulfilled in common interest.

“Exercising our sovereign and inalienable right to determine the form of governance for our country; Do hereby revise, through referendum, the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda adopted on 26 May 2003 and published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda of 04 June 2003 as amended,” further reads the concluding part of the preamble. The debate continues.

 

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