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Rwandan Senate has a new leader

NAIROBI, Kenya –  On Thursday, October 17, 2019, Rwanda’s Senate elected new a president following the swearing-in ceremony of 20 new senators.

The country’s President Paul Kagame officiated the ceremony at the parliamentary building in the capital, Kigali. 

In attendance were outgoing Senate president Bernard Makuza, Chief Justice Sam Rugege, and Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente.

The Rwandan parliament comprises two chambers: a 26-member Senate and an 80-member lower house of Deputies or Representatives.

Augustin Iyamuremye, a former foreign minister and member of the opposition party Social Democratic Party, was elected as President of Senate shortly after 20 new senators took an oath of office in the presence of President Kagame.

Iyamuremye defeated Zephyrin Kalimba by 25 to 1 votes.

The new Senate president pledged to work diligently during his term and called on his fellow senators to join him in working as a team.

Senate leaders cannot fulfill their responsibilities without the input of all senators, he said. “What I pledge with my fellow leaders elected is that we shall work together and do our best to deliver on our responsibilities in the interest of all Rwandans.”

According to the country’s constitution, the 74-year-old newly elected Senate leader would be the acting president of Rwanda if the incumbent president is permanently unable to assume the duty of the Office of President.

Two newly elected female senators, former gender minister Esperance Nyirasafari and former minister of state in the ministry of local government Alvera Mukabaramba, were elected as vice-presidents of Senate.

President Paul Kagame pledged work with the Senate and challenged them to remain close to the citizens in order to understand the citizens’ challenges which are needed to be addressed.

The President urged the lawmakers to take responsibility for national service and to meet the expectation of the Rwandan people by making decisions in the national interest and fostering national unity.

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Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere

Jacob Ujamaa Nyerere is a public affairs researcher and senior investigative correspondent.

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