The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Over 30 Laws Enacted Since October

THE Chamber of Deputies passed 36 laws during the third ordinary session that began on October 5 and ended on December 4, the Speaker, Rose Mukantabana, told a news conference in the Senate plenary in Kigali, yesterday.

She was speaking at Parliament's Open Day yesterday. A total of 30 other bills tabled before Parliament at the same period are under scrutiny.The Speaker was accompanied by the Senate President, Dr. Jean Damascene Ntawukuliryayo, and other senior lawmakers.

The bills passed include three media related laws - the media law, access to information law, and the Media High Council (MHC) law.

"The media bills that you have so long expected have been passed and will soon be promulgated. Another important bill passed that will also soon be promulgated is the one on tobacco use," she said.

Mukantabana listed other achievements including the scrutiny of the 2010/11 Auditor General's Report and summoning of public officials involved in the mismanagement of public funds, as well as standing committees tours around the country to ascertain progress made in development projects in various sectors such as education and agriculture.

The Speaker further cited recent international conferences in Kigali singling out the 35th conference of the African Parliamentary Union (APU) when she was elected to head the continental Assembly for the next two years.

Commenting on the House's Open Day, Mukantabana observed: "This is also a way of getting to know the thoughts, ideas and wishes of various citizens."

On his part Ntawukuliryayo, said: "We are contented with our achievements but we have a challenge as there is always a lot of work to do yet the time is not enough. We always want to do more and that is why very often, we have extra-ordinary sessions to try and accomplish more."

During the third ordinary session, Parliament accomplished several government oversight assignments too. The Prime Minister recently tabled a government $4.7 billion plan for the energy sector for the next five years.

Dr. Ntawukuliryayo reiterated Parliament's determination to continue engaging their African counterparts in seeking a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, besides divulging the truth regarding various misconceptions about Rwanda by the UN experts.

"There is a meeting the Speaker will attend in Nairobi (Kenya) very soon at the level of the East African community. We cannot fail to present Rwanda's case in such meetings. In January, I will travel to Kinshasa (DRC) to attend an International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Parliamentary meeting," the Senate President explained.

"The ICGLR framework, we have decided should be the only viable means through which to seek sustainable solutions to problems in eastern DRC. Here again, we shall explain our reasons as regards the reports by these UN experts who do not want to listen to the truth."

"The DRC is a neighbour and Congolese are brothers and sisters that we shall not stop engaging while working to find solutions to our problems."

On Wednesday, over 240 university rectors, lecturers and student representatives from 29 public and private institutions of higher learning took part in the House's open day in a bid to familiarise themselves with its activities.

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