The year 2009 came and now is gone. 2010 is here and we are all anxious for what it has in store for us. The Lower Chamber of Parliament has thus far worked tirelessly to correct where the government institutions have not done well, to bring to us well revised laws that will benefit us and the nation at large.
Today, we look at some of the public leaders that have appeared in the lower chamber of parliament to shed light on how the institutions they head/headed are dealing with different issues that affect Rwandans.
Almost eight months since the Auditor General’s report was launched, Prime Minister Bernard Makuza appeared before the law makers where he was quizzed by members of both Chambers of Parliament on numerous policies adopted by government to promote good governance, over the past 15 years.
The Premier, who had been summoned by Parliament to provide answers on a wide range of issues, went at length to provide details on numerous policies and initiatives implemented by government the legal instruments put in place, establishment of institutions that provide a check and balance on government operations, institutional and human capacity building measures and the numerous policies put in place to promote zero tolerance to corruption.
The PM took much time responding to lawmakers’ questions seeking to know what kind of measures government had taken to follow up on the findings of numerous Auditor General reports.
Working on the recommendations of the Auditor General, Makuza said that 74 government institutions implicated in the 2007 report are to be investigated for the financial losses they caused to government.
The PM provided a report on how government had handled cases of mismanagement of state resources as far back as 2004.
He told Parliament that close to 480 civil servants were implicated in an investigation launched by government between July 2004 and September 2009.
Citing an example of the 2006 Auditor General’s report, the PM said that 108 institutions had been investigated over Rfw 5.3 billion unaccounted for and culprits had been punished.
According to his report, a probe was launched on 105 institutions and 20 were found to have caused a financial loss worth Rwf165m.
The Prime Minister pointed out that one of the major decisions taken to root out embezzlement was working with the Supreme Court to make sure that former civil servants tried by courts of law and found guilty would never be employed by government again.
The State Minister in the Ministry of Local government in charge of social welfare, Christine Nyatanyi appeared before Parliament where she was put to task to explain several loopholes in the proposed Electoral bill, months before Rwanda goes to the polls.
Nyatanyi told the lawmakers that the proposed bill is a replacement of that of 1999 which she said had been overtaken by events. The new bill will incorporate the rules and regulations of grassroots, parliamentary, presidential and referendum elections.
The new legislation will combine laws and regulations governing different elections. Among the new articles added in the new bill is one, prohibiting a person convicted for embezzlement to stand in any election.
The Executive Secretary of Gacaca courts; Domitilla Mukantagazwa, presented one of the most sought after reports to members of the Lower Chamber of Parliament.
Speaking of the remaining cases, Mukantaganzwa explained that currently, only 967 cases are being tried in the Southern Province where 78 of these are Category One, 767 in Category Two and 122 in category three.
In the Northern Province, 77 cases were yet to be tried, with 5 of them being in category one, 68 in category two and 4 in category three. In the Western Province, 472 cases were being tried with 30 of these in category one, 322 in category two and 120 in category three.
In Eastern province, 550 cases are on trial 35 of them being category one, 390 in category two and 125 in category three.
Meanwhile in Kigali, only 195 cases were still being tried with 30 of them in Category one, 74 in category two and 91 in category three. All together, gacaca courts have to deal with 2,263 cases before they close shop.
Gacaca courts were introduced by the Rwandan government to try cases related to the genocide mainly as a means of providing justice to those who lost their loved ones but also to foster unity and reconciliation among Rwandans. Over one million cases have been disposed off by Gacaca courts whose doors are closing soon.
Former State Minister for Energy, Dr. Albert Butare told members of the Lower Chamber of Parliament recently that the Nyanza landfill receives at least 400 tonnes of waste everyday adding that estimates indicate that the waste would increase three fold in three to five years.
The Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) and the authorities of Kigali City Council are putting final touches to plans that will see a German company extract methane gas from the site.
Plans to shift the Nyanza landfill received a boost when a German-based company only identified as, WAT showed its interest in extracting methane gas from the site.
The Lawmakers also heard that MININFRA and KCC plans were joined by United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) and the Germany province of Rhineland Palatinat.
The UNDP will offer technical and financial support to bridge the technical and skills capacity gap required for proper waste management.
Dr. Butare informed the lawmakers that the landfill was increasingly posing health threats due to its proximity to the population and the issue of water that continues to emit from it threatening to contaminate water used by the public.
He also pointed out the issue of explosive fires resulting from the methane gas that has accumulated at the bottom of these enormous heaps of waste.
The government hopes to phase out the Nyanza landfill by 2013.
Only six percent of all Rwandans subscribe to the Social Security Fund of Rwanda (SSFR), the Lower Chamber of Parliament heard yesterday.
Vincent Karega, the former State Minister for Minerals and Natural Resources (currently Minister of Infrastructure), told the lawmakers yesterday that the government was devising a way of helping all Rwandans from both private and government to save for retirement.
Karega was in parliament as a government emissary in a consultative meeting with the lawmakers about the ongoing reforms within SSFR.
Karega said in his presentation that pension coverage is generally limited to individuals who are employees in the formal sector who make approximately seven percent of the working population.
Though the Organic Law establishing general provisions governing public institutions has been revised several times, institutions that were meant to be guided by it are jeopardized by its structure, the Minister for Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama told the lower chamber of Parliament recently.
Karugarama told the lawmakers that though the Organic Law establishing general provisions governing public institution has been revised several times to ease the operation of these institutions, it is has become common knowledge that the structure of this law jeopardises how these institutions operate.
Karugarama’s revelations come at the heel of three reports that were previously published by the four committees of parliament detailing the loopholes that may provide a leeway for corruption.
It was discovered that the structure and functioning of these instittutions were not formulated in a way that would protect them and those they serve from injustice.
This, according to Karugarama is especially obvious at the time when there is urgent need to change the responsibilities, organisation and functioning of the institution to suit the times.
The Minister in the President’s office, Solina Nyirahabimana, appeared before the lower chamber of parliament where she said while drafting the new Law on Immigration and Emigration, the need for fast service delivery and the new ICT age were the main principles that were kept in mind.
“This draft law put into consideration the fact that there were many people comingand leaving the country everyday, so we wanted a law that would make the whole process faster asbased on the “doing business in Rwanda” principles,” she said.