Rwanda: What Next After Second Senate Completes Its Mandate?

14 October 2019

The Second Senate, guided by the national constitution came to the end of its mandate on October 10 bringing an eight-year tenure to an end.

The Advisor to the President of the Senate, Olivier Mushimire told The New Times that at the strike of the clock at midnight on October 10, the Second Senate tenure came to an end but the Senate is still operational.

While the Senate is made up of 26 members, 20 new ones will be joining another six from the Second Senate who will continue working until their mandate expires next year.

Mushimire said that unlike the lower Chamber of Deputies, the Senate cannot be dissolved.

"The ordinary senators stopped working on Thursday but the Senate leadership is still working, managing current affairs until the swearing-in ceremony when they will hand over," he said.

Awaiting Presidential announcement

According to the Constitution, the President of the republic has 15 days after the Supreme Court has vetted the elected Senators to officially set the date of the swearing-in ceremony of the new Senate members.

The Supreme Court completed this exercise on October 3.

In his absence, the Chief Justice can preside over the ceremony.

However, the President of the Republic must be present when the President and the Vice Presidents are being elected.

The president of the Senate is elected by his or her colleagues during the Upper House's first session, so are the two vice presidents - one in charge of legislation and government oversight and the other Finance and Administration.

"What this means is that even if the Supreme Court President swears in the Senator, the Senate exists in principle as an institution but without leadership organs, it cannot operate. They can for instance not have a session or even do anything regarding their duties of government oversight," he said.

Rwanda has a bicameral parliament, consisting of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies.

The Senate is made up of 26 members; including 12 members who represent the country's four provinces and the City of Kigali and are picked through electoral colleges, and eight senators appointed by the President of the Republic.

Four Senators are designated by the Consultative Forum of Political Organisations, one Senator represents public universities and higher institutions of learning, while another one is picked from a private university and higher learning institution community.

Both the elected and appointed senators serve for a five-year term, renewable once.

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