Rwanda: MPs Reject Govt Proposal on Dismissal of Imprisoned Civil Servants

A proposal by the government to remove, from office, public servants who have been sentenced for more than two months has been rejected by lawmakers.

Under the draft law establishing the general statutes governing public servants, a civil servant who has been sentenced to more than two months should be dismissed from work.

The proposal failed to receive approval from Members of Parliament (MPs) during a plenary sitting of the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, August 4.

The article failed to get the required votes as it was voted for by 39 lawmakers, six voted against it, 33 abstained while one vote was null.

There were 79 MPs at the plenary.

According to the house rules, if an article does not obtain the required votes, it is rejected.

However, after failing to obtain the required votes, the article is sent back to the Committee after approval by the Plenary Assembly.

The lawmakers argued that a civil servant should remain in office provided that they did not get imprisoned, after a court verdict, for more than six months.

On the same day, parliament closed the third ordinary session of 2019/2020, meaning it goes into a one-month recess before voting the bill into law.

"There should be a harmony between this legal provision and others," said MP Jean Pierre Hindura.

MP Madina Ndangiza said that; "Our view is that a person be removed from public service if they have been imprisoned for more than six months."

The Minister of Public Service and Labour, Fanfan Rwanyindo, argued that when a public servant is sentenced to two-months and above government is compelled to look for someone else to execute their duties.

To her, public service delivery should not be halted because an employee is jailed.

"We realised that the two month period was reasonable," she said.

The Parliamentary Committee on Social Affairs, which is responsible for scrutinising the bill, asked for more time to make improvement on the article.

This remains one of the most contentious bills, having been taken to parliament last year (2019).

The Speaker of the Lower House, Donatille Mukabalisa, said that an ordinary session could be considered in order to complete the voting on the bill.

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