Legislature: New MPs to watch

Tuesday January 8 2019


New lawmakers in the lower house of parliament. PHOTO | Cyril NDEGEYA 

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With new leaders in the lower house of parliament, after the August elections, 2019 could offer faces and voices ready to differ with the majority.

This year’s house business will mostly focus on submissions from the head of two opposition parties, the head of Public Accounts committee and the Speaker of the lower chamber, among other legislators.

Frank Habineza

The leader of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda who fought his way to parliament is likely to be a person to watch mostly due to his combatant temperament.

MP Habineza who was elected to be the deputy chairperson of a standing committee in charge of social affairs, said there was a need to advocate for a salary increase for teachers and other public servants to match the high cost of living.

“At the party level we have engaged concerned institutions like the ministry of education and we shall also raise it with other members of parliament because it is in our manifesto,” he said.

The leader of the Green Party is also expected to campaign on the proposed amendments on the burdensome tax regimes, which are having a direct impact on the population.

Christine Mukabunani

The leader of Social Party Imberakuri is another legislator to watch because she represents a party that is new in parliament and has secured two seats based on a pledge to improve social healthcare of citizens in vulnerable categories.

The former primary schoolteacher told Rwanda Today that together with members of her party they are eager to get things done in 2019, especially in sectors like health, tertiary education and Vision 2020 Umurenge Programme in a bid to end poverty.

“We want to make sure every citizen, especially low-income earners, insured through Mutuelle de Sante (community-based health insurance scheme) has access to medication at the nearest pharmacy,” she said.

MP Mukabunani further told this paper that part of other hand itching agenda will be to advocate sufficiently on the issue of unwanted pregnancies among teenagers which has become alarming and is done by some people in echelons of leadership.

Jean Chrysostome Ngabitsinze

Dr Ngabitsinze is another new face in parliament and is a member of the Social Democratic Party. After his election he was trusted with one of the vibrant standing committee in charge of public accounts replacing the retired and renowned Juvenal Nkusi who also hired from PSD.

The professor of economics who has spent much time at campus doing researches on macro-economics and agribusinesses is expected to keep the image of the probing committee on accountability of public servants, improving corporate governance and insure big government enterprises have whatever it takes to acquire clean audit reports.

Although he will be seconded by legislators who have been in previous assemblies and on the same committee, the task will still be daunting since a number of laws whether initiated by the parliament or from government, will need much support and advocacy from his committee.

While the previous house was criticised to have given a cold shoulder alarming issues like corruption in big projects and corporate institutions, there is still the issue of unemployment among graduates and it will be one of his tasks together with his team to advise government on the best way public finances can be utilised to solve those issues.

Speaker Donatile Mukabalisa

The speaker of the 4th legislative assembly who was reelected will also be another leading figure in the 2019 mostly because she will be heading a house that has given seats to members of opposition parties unlike before where the house was operation under a consensual structure.

The speaker is expected to lead and guide the house into debating matters that affect citizens directly, especially on rampant issues like malnutrition, unwanted pregnancies, and unemployment on top of legislation, government oversight and parliamentary diplomacy.

Critics say that her measurement at the end of the year and her tenure will be based on performance Vis-à-vis improvement of social welfare of communities and families.