Parliament starts voting on amended draft constitution
The Plenary Sitting of the Chamber of Deputies today reviewed and voted on the amendments made on the constitution of Rwanda with majority of the articles getting a green light except a few which needed to be revisited.
The review of the constitutional articles was conducted by a special constitutional commission established on August 10 and has spent almost a month integrating the views of citizens collected from countrywide as a result of over three million Rwandans petitioning parliamentÂ this July.
Members of parliament commended the work done by the commission and said that the team did a great job of integrating the views of the citizens, which is very important in giving people the chance to choose their future.
This is a good job in less than two weeks because the commission did what the citizens asked of parliament. This is a constitution that goes by principle and no doubt on voting for itâ€ Hon. Edward Mporanyi said.
Reviewing all the 165 articles the parliament generally voted for most articles- which received votes raining above 68 votes out of the 73 members of parliament who attended the plenary session.
Some of the changes, according to the Vice president of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jeanne d’Arc Uwimanimpaye were seen in rearranging, correcting terminology used in the constitutional articles and review of the presidential terms (article 101) as requested by citizens.
Uwimanimpaye said that â€œthe job was well done considering the time line and the parliament committee was open for any ideas from the house. We ask that you vote accordingly so that we can present a constitution that respond the our history as a countryâ€
Members of parliament raised issues of the vocabulary and translation used between the three official languages in the constitution (Kinyarwanda, French English), and unclear terminology especially in freedom of expression, nationality among others.
She also said that some of the articles which need to be revisited and the issue of translation will be referred to the translators, but said that some of the articles were general and the details of the constitution can be supported by the existing laws.
A constitutional review team composed of the council of parliamentary committee chairpersons backed by the seven-member Constitutional Review Commission experts, was instituted to help Parliament work on amendments for the 12-year old Constitution.
On July 14, both chambers of Parliament, in separate sittings, supported the wishes of the people and basing on the principle that power belongs to the people, and launched countrywide consultations to gather more views from Rwandans of different constituencies.
After the consultations, the legislators initiated a law establishing a Constitutional Review Commission, a team of seven experts that was to help the MPs in overhauling the Constitution before it can be put to a referendum.
The commission which is headed by Augustin Iyamuremye, started its work with the committee of chairpersons of standing committees of the lower chamber and collectively came up with the amendments tabled that were tabled for review on October 14.