KIGALI - The former deputy Speaker of Parliament, Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, was yesterday elected Senate president.
The elections also saw former Prime Minister, Bernard Makuza assuming the post of senate Vice president in charge of political affair while Jeanne d'Arc Gakuba was elected the second vice president of Senate in change of Administration and Finance.
Both Ntawukuriryayo and Makuza joined the senate as Presidential appointees while Gakuba, who is a former vice Mayor of Kigali city, was elected senator for Kigali City.
Speaking after swearing-in, Ntawukuriryayo expressed gratitude over the new appointment and thanked the Head of State for having trust in him.
“I thank the President and my colleagues for the continued trust they have had in me, I humbly assure you that the team I am going to work with is committed to executing the new responsibilities assigned to us,” Ntawukuriryayo said.
Ntawukuriryayo replaces Dr. Vincent Biruta whose eight year non-renewable mandate in the Senate came to an end.
In his speech, Biruta said he recognized the cooperation his team got from the Executive and advised the incoming Senate to continue with the good work.
“As the inaugural Senate, we did an impressive job but in case we missed out on something, we apologize,” Biruta said.
In a related development lawmaker, Hon. Everiste Kalisa replaced long serving Denis Polisi as the vice Speaker.
Polisi tendered in his resignation yesterday citing personal reasons.
Speaking to The New Times, Polis said that he has effectively executed his duties and believes that it’s time to leave room for other Rwandans to take up the challenge and acquire similar experience.
“I find it necessary that we groom other leaders by giving them leadership positions,” said Polisi. “My resignation as deputy speaker is part of shaping a better Rwanda.”
Polisi remains a Member of Parliament.
Polisi first came to the political limelight in 1993 when he became vice chairman of Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF).
After the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, he was appointed Rwanda’s ambassador to Belgium, an office he occupied until 1996 when he was recalled and elected the Secretary General of RPF.
He joined the Parliament in 1999 where he headed the Political Committee until 2003 when he became the deputy Speaker.
Hon. Marie Josee Kankera was elected to replace Ntawukuriryayo as the vice Speaker in charge of administration and finance.