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What Are the Duties of Rwanda’s Third Senate?

by Jean de la Croix Tabaro
10:37 am

It was an evening of excitement, with everyone thanking the head of State for the trust placed in them.

Twenty senators were sworn in yesterday, to join the six who still have a couple of months more to serve as legislators and after that, they will be replaced in accordance with the constitution.

Unlike the previous two senate, the elected and appointed Senators of the third senate will serve a five (5) year term, renewable once.

However, Senators who are former Heads of the State are not subject to term limits,  but there is no such member in the current senate.

The 26 members will all serve their term of office without any hindrance but the constitution provides for circumstances that may lead to vacation of office including; resignation, death, removal from office by a Court decision; or a permanent impediment to fulfill his or her responsibilities.

The senate has the power to vote for revision or amendment of the Constitution, organic laws and laws approving international treaties and agreements on armistice, peace, accession to international organisations, modification of national laws, or those approving international treaties.

The senate is also competent to vote for agreements relating to the status of persons; International law, International organizations, Treaty ratification and even laws on defense and national security.

However, the senate does not work alone, rather, it votes these draft laws  after they are transmitted by the speaker of Chamber of Deputies to the President of the Senate.

The Senate can still initiate and amend laws.

After receiving their oath on Thursday, President Paul Kagame reminded the senators that their responsibility is not just to “vote YES or NO to the laws on their table but to assure that Rwandans have what they need and deserve through their good work.”

Senators also have power to approve government officials including the President, the vice President and the Judges of the Supreme Court and high court, the prosecutor general and his deputy, the government commissions’ chairpersons and commissioners, and representatives of international organizations.

Meanwhile, the third senate elected Doctor Augustin Iyamuremye, a seasoned politician who served the government under the second republic and the current government of unity and reconciliation.

The veterinary doctor by training who studied in the francophone system in  Belgium, Iyamuremye 73, is however well knowlegeable of Rwandan politics.

“Our warmest congratulations to the newly elected president of the Rwanda Senate, Honorable Iyamuremye Augustin. PSD – RW wishes him success in all his future endeavors,” reads a tweet from Parti Socialiste Democrate(PSD) from where Iyamuremye hails.

He is replacing Bernard Makuza who does not have any political officially, does not have any political affiliation in Rwanda.

His deputies are two women who have also served he country in top pisitions including Alivera Mukabaramba who is fresh from the Ministry of Local government where she served as Minister of State in charge of social affairs.

Mukabaramba is the chairperson of Partie Socialiste et Concorde and she vied for presidency in 2003 and 2010 elections.

Esperance Nyirasafari, former Minister of sports and culture also joined the team of the senate leaders.

The third senate includes men and women with great experience that range from agriculture, finance, research, education to mention but a few.