Delayed Ministerial Orders hinder law enforcement, legal experts warn

Delayed Ministerial Orders hinder law enforcement, legal experts warn
Delayed Ministerial Orders hinder law enforcement, legal experts warn

Africa-Press – Rwanda. The existing legislation practice where Ministerial decrees that support the implementation of laws are delayed should be reviewed, legal experts have argued, indicating that such delays hinder effective law enforcement.

Andrews Kananga, Executive Director of Legal Aid Forum, said that in the laws that Parliament passes, it allows the Executive arm of government room enough for establishing many implementing Orders, some of which are not set.

He made the disclosure on Thursday, January 26, during a consultative meeting between the Chamber of Deputies and non-governmental organisations, universities and higher learning institutions. The session was meant to increase citizen participation in parliamentary activities.

On several occasions, Parliament has passed laws but relevant decrees meant to go along with these laws so as to enable smooth implementation of the laws were never published.

As a case in point, the law establishing the general statute governing public servants, which was published in 2020, provides for the establishment of more than 10 Orders to facilitate its implementation.

On delays to issue Orders, Kananga cited the 2005 law relating to expropriation in the public interest, which provides that an Order of the Prime Minister shall determine the organisation, functioning, responsibilities and composition of the committees in charge of supervision of projects of expropriation in the public interest.

Such an Order, he said, would determine how expropriation is coordinated to ensure that residents whose properties are being expropriated, get fair compensations on time, but it has not yet been established.

He noted that if possible, Orders should not exist so that all provisions are catered for by the law.

Again, the law regulating labour in Rwanda that was passed by Parliament in 2018, provides that an Order of the Minister in charge of labour determines minimum wage, based on each category of occupation.

But, until now, such a ministerial Order has not yet been published.

The consequence is that there is no such a minimum wage, which workers’ rights activists have been saying infringes on employees’ rights and can create a loophole for labour and employee exploitation.

Jean Damascene Munderere, a law lecturer at Ruhengeri higher learning institute (INES Ruhengeri), told The New Times that “Parliament has oversight among its responsibilities, but there seems to have been a weakness in that regard because this is an issue which they should follow up since it implies that the law they passed is not effectively enforced.”

“This is also an issue that is present among the entities that draft laws,” he said, advising that there should be few implementing Orders.

Look at bills and their implementing Orders

According to the Prime Minister’s instructions issued in 2007, any entity that initiates a law should do it as it also prepares Orders that will implement it. The Orders are supposed to be published in the official gazette two months after the law has taken effect.

However, the Prime Minister’s directive gave an exception that such a timeframe can change when an Order does not need to be immediately approved based on the purpose of the law.

Kananga said bills should be tabled to Parliament along with their implementing Orders.

This, he said, enables the legislature to consider whether they are adequately addressing the matters provided for by the law.

Donatille Mukabalisa, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, said: “Parliament involves different stakeholders so that they give their views in order to establish whether a law is solving the issues for which it was set.”

She said that the decisions that result from such exercises are forwarded to all concerned entities so that they make the essential improvements.

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