The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Parliament Returns From Recess

The Chamber of Deputies yesterday started its first ordinary session of the year with the revised Electoral Code lined up for debate.

Once passed, later in the year, the law will determine the modalities and the necessary legal framework of the upcoming September elections of lawmakers.

Lawmakers will also consider the draft law establishing a public fund to support Genocide survivors.

Parliament also considered several other Bills, including the draft law authorising the ratification of the EAC Protocol on Foreign Policy Soordination, adopted in Arusha, Tanzania, on December 3, 2010; and the draft law ratifying the EAC Protocol on Cooperation in Defence Affairs signed on April 28, 2012.

The EAC protocol was signed by the five member states after its adoption.

The protocol includes promoting foreign policy, enhancing development, the rule of law and human rights within the EAC; keeping peace and security within member states and collaborating in disseminating interests of EAC community in the Diaspora.

Rwanda's interests

The explanatory says ratifying the protocol is of great interest to Rwanda, because it will enable the country collaborate with other EAC member states in explaining and promoting the interests of regional countries on the international scene.

"The protocol will help Rwanda get additional countries that will lend considerable support to our nation in voicing its opinion in this global perspective that is characterised by togetherness in action," reads part of the explanatory note.

However, superior organs of EAC say the protocol lacks provisions that deal with individual foreign policy for each member state, the reason the protocol will undergo further debate.

"Pursuant to paragraph 2 of Article 189 of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, we found that the ratification of the EAC Protocol on Foreign Policy should be tabled before the Parliament because it relates to an international organisation."

EAC defence

The EAC Protocol on Cooperation in Defense was signed by Heads of State in April 2012, at a summit in Arusha, Tanzania.

Its key objectives include developing and monitoring the policies and programmes aimed at expanding defence cooperation between EAC Member States; promoting peace and security, peaceful coexistence between member states, and ensuring speedy prevention and management of conflicts in case they arise.

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