Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

5 December 2012

Rwanda: Parliament Closes Third Ordinary Semester

Rwanda's parliament, both chambers yesterday closed the third ordinary semester which had started on October 5. During that two-month period, both the chambers of the House continued their mandated duties of voting laws and controlling the government's activities.

While briefing the press on what was accomplished during the ending semester, the speaker of the lower chamber Rose Mukantabana said that deputies voted 36 laws and accepted 30 bills which are still being discussed. In its duties of controlling the government activities, the chamber worked on both the standing committee and plenary levels. Among the bills passed, Mukantabana cited the media law, the access to information law, the law establishing the high council of the press as a capacity development fund instead of being a regulatory body.

"We have also passed the smoking bill and the cemetery management bill which includes cremation for those who might want it," she said.

While explaining the bills, Mukantabana said that the smoking bill will prevent all people from smoking in public places and punish those who induce their children (under 18) into that habit.

"Punishments for this are recorded in the penal code."

The president of Rwanda's senate Dr Jean-Damascene Ntawukuliryayo told the press that the senate voted 13 laws and accepted 11 bills. Among the bills passed by the senate were also the smoking, information and media bills.

"In our particular duty of approving higher public appointees, we confirmed Lt Col Jean Bitega as the head of Military Medical Insurance (MMI)," said the head of the senate. The senate also studies the implementation of health insurance adoption (Mutuelle de santé), the fight against grass-thatched houses (Nyakatsi), the fight against malnutrition and the issues of parking management in the city of Kigali. "All the recommendations were given to the concerned institutions," said the senate's speaker.

Concerning joint activities, the lower chamber together with the senate received Prime Minister's explanations on what the government is doing in the energy sector and discussed with the ministers in charge of foreign affairs, finance and economic planning, and defense issues regarding the Eastern DRC unrest. The plenary session of both chambers also received three reports; by the ombudsman (about the corruption status in the country), by the National commission against Genocide (CNLG) and by the National Human rights commission.

While closing this semester, the parliament also hosted an open day, where they received 243 rectors, lectures and students from Rwanda's universities and higher learning institutions to interact on what the parliament does and its implication in the education sector.

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