The vacant seat left in the Senate by the new Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies will be filled next month, an official from the National Electoral Commission has said.
Donatille Mukabalisa, who was elected Speaker, last week, resigned her seat in the Senate to contest for yet another stint in the Chamber of Deputies’ during the September elections.
The 26-member Senate has two unoccupied seats following the resignation of Mukabalisa and Penelope Kantarama, who resigned in July.
Before stepping down, Mukabalisa was vice president of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance, while Kantarama was vice president of the Committee in charge of Assessment of the Senate’s Activities, Senators’ Conduct and Immunity.
Mukabalisa, a member of the Liberal Party (PL) who represented the Eastern Province in the Senate, will be replaced through a by-elections.
Kantarama, however, was appointed by the President, who will in due course pick her replacement.
“The elections will be held next month. The date is not yet confirmed but it will be around November 20,” said Moses Bukasa, the information and communications officer of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
According to Article 7 of the 2012 organic law establishing internal rules of the Senate, in the event of an elected Senator’s resignation, death, impeachment by a Court of Law or a permanent impediment to accomplish their duties when term of office has at least one year to run, fresh elections shall be held. Part of the clause also says that in case of an appointed Senator, the competent organ shall designate their replacement.
The Senate has 26 members who serve an eight year, non-renewable term. At least 30 per cent of the members must be women, as per the Constitution.
Currently, women constitute more than 40 per cent of the seats in the Upper House.
The Constitution stipulates that 12 Senators shall be elected by specific organs in accordance with the administrative entities; eight appointed by the President, and four designated by the consultative forum of political organisations.
Public and private tertiary institutions also pick one member each.