Rwanda Entering New Year With Fresh Constitution

The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), healing Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has reiterated the need to deploy a special force in Burundi to stabilise the strife-torn country despite protests from government.

Senior government officials last week organised protests in Bujumbura to express their displeasure with the AU force, doctor saying the country’s armed forces will restore peace and stability.

However, troche the fighting between government forces and rebels continues in different parts of the capital city.

Dr Zuma’s statement came high on the heels of the re-launch of Burundi peace talks in Kampala by president Museveni.

“The Chairperson of the Commission avails herself of this opportunity to reiterate the AU’s readiness to engage, without any delay, discussions with the Government of Burundi, to agree on the modalities for the deployment of the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi (MAPROBU), as decided by the Peace and Security Council at its 565th meeting held on 17 December 2015,” the statement reads in part.

Dr Zuma said the rapid deployment of MAPROBU “will go a long way in contributing to the creation of conditions conducive to the successful completion of the inter-Burundian dialogue.”

She welcomed the fact that the members of the United Nations Security Council, in their press statement of 19 December 2015 on the situation in Burundi, “took note with interest of the decision to authorize the deployment of MAPROBU and urged all Burundian stakeholders to fully cooperate with the Mission in support of the effective implementation of its mandate.”

Dr Zuma further said the Peace and Security Council of the AU decided that all those whose action could jeopardize the inter-Burundian dialogue, including attacks by armed groups against governmental facilities and other targets, as well as refusal to respond to the invitation of the Mediator, shall be subjected to sanctions as provided for in the relevant decisions of Council and other measures to be agreed upon.


Hundreds have been killed in Burundi since President Pierre Nkurunziza chose to maintain his hold onto power after the expiry of his two mandatory terms.
Police in Mbarara are holding a man who is alleged to have raped a girl in his taxi on December 27.

Jackson Kafero 32, sildenafil a taxi driver and resident of  Lyantonde was arrested on Monday evening after sexually assaulting one Catherine Natuhwera on her way from Kinoni to Mbarara town.

Catherine aged 18, buy a resident of Kakoba is a student at Nyamitanga Business Secretariat College in Mbarara Municipality.

She told journalists that while heading to Mbarara, order she boarded Jackson’s taxi a Toyota Premio Registration number UAK 421K. She says she paid him Shs 10,000 and the driver would not return her Shs 7000 balance.

“He waited until all the passengers disembarked and he asked me to move with him around town to look for change.”

Catherine says he was driven to the Makenke barracks forest where the man forced himself on her only to be caught in the act by police.

Jackson is now detained at Mbarara police station and the OC CID Taban Chiriga said that he will be taken to court and charged with rape.

Rwanda’s revised Constitution was on Thursday 24 December 2015 published in the Official Gazette, advice marking its coming into effect.

It repeals and replaces the one that was in place since 2003.

UK and United States expressed their reservations over the alleged inadequate sensitisation of the public about the Constitution, a charge Kigali dismissed as groundless since talk about the new law started over three years ago.

The two countries further said the new constitution would be exploited by President Paul Kagame to extend his term of office, an action they deemed undemocratic.

On the numerous criticisms concerning the referendum on Constitutional review, which Rwandans overwhelmingly voted in favour of by 98.3 percent, President Kagame said there was a lot of contradiction and hypocrisy in the voices of those criticizing it.

“We are told people are bedrock of democracy. When my people tell me something, even before I agree with them, I am accused. Lines were drawn about our determination to keep moving our country forward for our sustainable development,” said Kagame at a press conference in Kigali last week.

“If you tell me that Rwandans are mindless outright foolish then you can say people have made a choice that is not founded. I did quite a lot before I was president. I can still contribute to the well being of my country in or out of office,” he added.

“When I was in the bush, I gave all I had, including risking my life. It was not because I wanted to be President. Longevity is not the issue. The oscillation of views on this issue is diversionary from the main point of governance.”


The new Constitution came a week after, on 18 December 2015; Rwandans in different corners of the country went to the polls to cast their votes in a referendum to express their views vis-à-vis proposed constitutional amendments.

Rwandans in the Diaspora had gone to the polls the day before.

On Monday 21 December, the National Electoral Commission officially confirmed that 98.3 per cent of Rwandan voters endorsed the revised Constitution.

Only 1.7 per cent of voters voted against the amendments.

More than 6.3 million Rwandans voted in the Referendum both inside and outside Rwanda.

Early this year, Rwandans from all walks of life started flocking in the parliamentary buildings with boxes and baskets full of petitions asking lawmakers to scrap presidential term limits.

A total of more than 3.7 million Rwandans petitioned the parliament.

The process to review the 2003 Constitution took over six months. Led by lawmakers who were supported by a technical team, the Constitution Review Commission, established for this specific task.

The constitutional revision also included consultations by Members of parliaments and debates in both chambers of the House.

Officials said the process was compliant with all domestic and international standards that Rwanda is signatory to.

The publication of the revised Constitution in the Official Gazette means that it officially replaces and repeals the former as the established precedents according to which Rwanda is governed.

Key modifications

The number of years for a term of office for the President of the Republic, senators, the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice:

The length of presidential term from seven to five years renewable only once. Note that this change will be preceded by one transitional presidential term of seven years for which any presidential candidates, including the incumbent President, will be eligible.

The length of term of office for senators, which was eight years non-renewable to five years renewable once

The term of office for Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice was changed from eight years non-renewable to five years renewable once

Officials said outdated clauses were repealed since they are no longer applicable to current Rwanda’s socio-economic and political setting. These include Gacaca courts and transitional provisions.

Government emphasised that the revised Constitution is a true reflection of people-led democracy at work and that it uses a clean and unambiguous language.

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