EALA: New bill seeks to add degree requirement for Rwandan members

6
EALA: New bill seeks to add degree requirement for Rwandan members
EALA: New bill seeks to add degree requirement for Rwandan members

Africa-Press – Rwanda. Government has tabled a bill that seeks to introduce a university degree as a requirement for candidates for Rwanda’s Members of The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

This happened Thursday, August 4, when The Chamber of Deputies adopted the relevance of the draft organic law governing election of Rwanda’s Members of The East African Legislative Assembly.

After the approval of its relevance, the bill was sent to the Chamber of Deputies’ Committee on Political Affairs and Gender, which started scrutinising it the same day.

Polls for Rwandan members of the EALA are currently governed by the law of 2012 relating to election procedures for Rwandan members of the East African Legislative Assembly.

EALA is the independent, legislative arm of the Community (EAC), a bloc which comprises seven Partner States – Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (the block’s newest member).

While explaining the relevance of the new bill to the Chamber of Deputies, Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi, the Minister of Local Government, said that it was initiated to accommodate new organic law ideas in a bid to appropriately prepare the election for Rwandan members of the EALA planned for this year (2022).

Jean-Marie Vianney Gatabazi, the Minister of Local Government, while presenting the draft organic law governing election of Rwanda Members of EALA to the Chamber of Deputies, on August 4, 2022. / Courtesy photo

Under Article 3 of the bill, it is proposed that requirements to be a Rwandan Member of EALA candidate include holding at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent qualification.

Rwanda’s Members of EALA are drawn from the categories namely political organisations represented in Parliament (Chamber of Deputies); the National Youth Council; the National Women Council; and the National Council of Persons with Disabilities.

MP Germaine Mukabalisa said that article 50 of The Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community (EAC) provides that a person shall be qualified to be elected a member of the Assembly (EALA) by the National Assembly of a Partner State if such a person is a citizen of that Partner State; qualified to be elected a member of the National Assembly of that Partner State under its Constitution, among other requirements.

However, she said, it does not set a bachelor’s degree requirement.

Also, Mukabalisa said that Article 48 of the law governing elections in Rwanda, which talks about the requirements for one to be a Member of Parliament, does not provide anywhere that holding a bachelor’s degree or its equivalence is a must.

“When we look at this organic draft law, in its article 3, we realise that campaigning in EALA, one must have a bachelor’s degree or its equivalence. I realise that there is a mismatch between the EAC Treaty and this draft organic law, which added the requirement. I would like to know the reason for this,” she said.

Minister Gatabazi said that just after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and during the Government of transition, it was not easy to find people who had completed secondary school – partly because some of those who had reached such a level of education were killed during the Genocide [or few people could study to that level].

But with the current state of education, he said, it is easy to find people who have a university degree.

He indicated that, even in the local district councils, there are people with high levels of academic qualification.

“Considering the analyses that are made, the documents that are read, the decisions that are made and the implications they have on the economy and countries’ politics, the idea arose for the need of a level to understand things and to represent the country in terms of explaining its situations and defending them when such debates are held,” he said.

Innovations in the revised draft law

Each political organisation or political organisations of its coalition represented in the Parliament presents not more than three candidates including at least one woman. The number of candidates for all political parties represented in the Parliament is the same.

Under the current law, the number of candidates allocated to political parties varied depending on their representation in Parliament.

Each National Council was currently authorised to present only two candidates.

The Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC states that the National Assembly of each Partner State shall elect, not from among its members, nine members of the Assembly (EALA), who shall represent as much as it is feasible, the various political parties represented in the National Assembly, shades of opinion, gender and other special interest groups in that Partner State, in accordance with such procedure as the National Assembly of each Partner State may determine.

For More News And Analysis About Rwanda Follow Africa-Press

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here