• A milestone in the democratic process
PARLIAMENT - President Paul Kagame yesterday exercised the powers conferred upon him by the Constitution and dissolved the Lower Chamber of Parliament in the run-up to the September Parliamentary polls.
The 2003 Constitution empowers the President to close Parliament at least 30 days before Parliamentary elections. The polls are slated for September 15.
“As this parliament ends its five-year mandate, I would like to commend you lawmakers for the selfless attitude with which you executed your duties during the five years of your tenure,” Kagame said at the function that was held at the Parliamentary building in Kimihurura.
He specifically took note of their close collaboration with the state organs in ensuring democracy and harnessing development.
“The function today is a milestone in our country’s democratic process,” the Head of State said.
He called upon Rwandans to exercise their civic rights by turning up in large numbers to elect parliamentarians who will build on the firm foundation that has been laid by the outgoing members.
The President also recognized the pace that was set by these members regarding women representation in parliament. At 48 percent, Rwanda has the highest percentage of women representation in parliament in the world.
“This has helped in boosting self confidence in women and we hope the number will increase in the next parliament, and should continue being an example to other parliaments the world over,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kagame called for the speedy renovation of the parliamentary building that was left in bad shape after the 1994 Genocide.
“I have been asking the same question every time I come to this Parliament…how far has the renovation work gone?
The renovation started when you were starting your term and you have left it still incomplete,” he said.
He promised to add his contribution towards having it completed.
In his speech, the out-going Speaker of Parliament, Alfred Mukezamfura, said that the MPs during their five-year term received and analyzed 287 laws, of which 220 were promulgated and published in the Official Gazette.
“We passed the last one this morning,” said Mukezamfura.
He also said that 44 percent of the laws that passed before parliament were of economic nature, 20 percent concerned social welfare while good governance and justice constituted 18 percent and 17 percent respectively.
He called upon the new members who will be elected to start from where the outgoing parliament stopped and continue striving for a democratically governed nation.
The general elections are expected to take place on September 15, where 53 parliamentarians will be elected and in the subsequent three days, polls will be held by electoral colleges that will elect women, youths and disabled representatives to the 80-member House.