Putting the interests of the citizens first and serving the country selflessly should be the key principles to guide the newly sworn in members of the Senate according to President Paul Kagame.
The Head of State made the observation on Thursday after presiding over the swearing in of 20 new Senators who joined the upper chamber of Parliament and the election of the new bureau.
President Kagame paid tribute to the outgoing bureau led by former Senate President Bernard Makuza, stating that what they achieved will serve as the foundation for the incoming Senate’s activities and help the country to keep moving forward.
He urged the new senators to work for the country and the people because their election or appointment to the country’s highest legislative assembly based on their track record.
“As a leader, serving your country goes beyond doing just your work. It means fulfilling the responsibility to deliver on our promises to our citizens, including making decisions that benefit all of our citizens and strengthening our national unity,”
“You were elected Senators based on your values, your patriotism, knowledge and strengths. This forms the basis of why Rwandans expect you to use your strengths and abilities to improve their lives,” President Kagame said.
He pointed out that transforming the lives of the citizens will require working closely with them, to help solve the challenges they still face and advise them on how to confront those that remain ahead.
“Your job is not just to vote yes or no on the laws but also to make sure that Rwandans get all they need and deserve towards living healthier lives,” the head of state said.
He said that everything the government does is based on security and good governance and upholding the security of the country is everyone’s responsibility, same as good governance.
President Kagame said that while the country is not where it wants to be, it is on the right path, adding that it is important to maintain ownership of the process and putting in all the efforts needed.
During the event, Dr Augustin Iyamuremye was elected to be the new Senate President, scooping 25 votes out of a possible 26 against Zephryn Kalimba who still has one year to go in the Senate.
The veteran politician, who has served in different dockets over the last 30 years will be deputised by Dr. Alvera Mukabaramba, the Vice-President in charge of Finance and Administration and Espérance Nyirasafari, the Vice-President in charge of Legislation and Government Oversight.
Until his recently, Dr Iyamuremye was the Chairperson of Rwanda Elders Advisory Forum (REAF), and Dr Mukabaramba was the State Minister in the Ministry of Local Government in charge of Social Affairs and Community Development while Nyirasafari was the Minister of Sports and Culture.
Dr Iyamuremye said that the Senate, which still has 6 members with one year to go on their mandate, will build on the achievements of the outgoing Senators to continue serving Rwandans to their expectation.
The upper chamber has 26 members who serve an 8 year non-renewable term.