Africa-Press – Rwanda. Members representing the ruling RPF in the lower chamber of parliament have been urged to always strive to discharge their duties with humility, and that humility should not be mistaken for weakness.
This advice was given to the 52 members of the Parliamentary Caucus by the RPF Inkotanyi Secretary General Francois Ngarambe during their one-day retreat held on Saturday October 9, at the party headquarters in Rusororo, Gasabo District.
The retreat was among others held for the legislators to take stock of what has been achieved half way into their parliamentary term and what needs to be done to discharge their legislative and government oversight duties.
The legislators were all elected in 2018 for a five-year term. “You must lead by example. Set the pace for others to follow. Those are the values on which RPF Inkotanyi was built,” Ngarambe said.
The Secretary General also told the legislators to always put public interests above their personal ones, saying that the contrary will not be tolerated.
“It is also important for you to always take time and educate yourselves and research extensively on the laws that you vote on. This will make your work easy because you must vote on laws you clearly understand,” he said.
He also told them to take the lead in promoting national unity, saying that their status as representatives of all Rwandans puts them in the right position to champion programmes such as Ndi Umunyarwanda, which aims at fostering unity and reconciliation.
During the retreat, various presentations were made, including one made by the Auditor General of State Finances, Obadiah Biraro, who said that despite significant improvement in the management of public funds, there was still room for improvement.
“Parliament should intensify the cause for improvement. That is your mandate,” he said, citing some of the issues that have been recurrent in the reports he tables before parliament every year. He said that to be able to salvage public funds, one requires the right attitude and not always necessarily having all the required training.
Other presentations included one on the country’s foreign policy, which was given by Clementine Mukeka, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who gave an update on the state of relations within the region and beyond.
She talked about regional infrastructure projects like the Standard Gauge Railway from Isaka in Tanzania to Kigali, saying that the design review of the project is done and that the two countries are now mobilizing resources to kick-start construction works.
Other developments she highlighted included the growing relations with countries in Africa and beyond, with many opening embassies in Kigali, giving an example of Mozambique, which will soon have a resident envoy.
In his presentation, the Minister of National Unity and Civic Engagement, Jean Damascene Bizimana urged the RPF legislators to use parliamentary diplomacy to ensure more countries adopt laws that punish denial or negation of the Genocide against the Tutsi.
“We all know that denial or negation of the Holocaust is taboo in any country of the world. I wonder why it is not the case for the Genocide against the Tutsi because it was recognized by the UN and the international community in general,” he said.
Regarding pushing for parliamentary diplomacy, he said that there is even an incentive in Rwanda’s case because the law that punish genocide denial has a clause on reciprocity, meaning that Rwanda has an obligation of bringing to book any people who denies or minimizes an internationally accepted genocide.