Outgoing Senate president, Dr Vincent Biruta, yesterday, handed over to his successor, Dr Jean Damascene Ntawukuriryayo, saying his team has left no unfinished business on the table.
Speaking at the Parliament Buildings, in the presence of both the incoming and outgoing senators, Biruta noted that the First Senate worked hard to ensure their successors did not inherit a backlog of pending bills.
“We cleared off all the bills and ensured that we left no pending business. Although we are handing over office, we believe, like all Rwandans, that we still have a responsibility to keep assisting the new Senate in executing its duties.
In case the new Senate calls for our assistance, we will be readily available,” said Biruta.
The former Senate president said of the experience in the first days of the inaugural upper chamber of parliament: “It was challenging but we are now celebrating the fact that we succeeded in executing the work assigned to us. We expect the new Senate to perform better than us.”
Among the documents Biruta handed over to Ntawukuriryayo, were copies of the Constitution, the Senate’s internal rules and regulations, the law on the oversight of Government, a report on the accomplishments of the outgoing Senate, action plan and agreements with foreign parliaments.
Biruta also requested the incoming Senate to make follow up on the recent findings from a senatorial research study on social justice, and to push for the finalisation of the study on the principle of dialogue and consensus building.
Biruta, who comes from the same political party as his predecessor (PSD), tipped the incoming team about the need to work closely with the Institute of Policy Analysis and Research (IPAR-Rwanda) on research issues, highlighting that some of the main challenges the first Senate faced was lack of professional researchers.
On his part, Ntawukuriryayo praised the outgoing team, observing that they laid a firm foundation which will help the new Senate.
“Considering the work done by the inaugural Senate, there is no doubt that our work will be easier. However, in situations where we need advice from them, we will always consult them,” said Ntawukuriryayo.
Welcoming the new senators, the former vice speaker of the chamber of deputies noted that he believes in delivering as a team and promised them full cooperation.
He promised to fast-track the establishment of the much-anticipated parliamentary radio, underlining that it was paramount to enable the public to follow House’s business on a daily basis.
The two outgoing vice presidents of the Senate, Marie Mukantabana and Prosper Higiro, also handed over office to their successors, Bernard Makuza, and Jeanne d’Arc Gakuba, respectively. Makuza is the immediate former prime minister, while Gakuba is a former Kigali City vice mayor in charge of social affairs.
The new Senate starts work at a time the Parliament is in its third ordinary session that started on October 5.