February 25, 2019

Habineza’s Green Party Now Wants Cabinet Positions

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The President of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda (DGPR), Dr. Frank Habineza says his party is looking forward to the full implementation of power sharing as stipulated in the Constitution.

Habineza was speaking to journalists yesterday, Sunday 24, where he expressed unhappiness about what he referred to as the none-implementation of the provisions of the constitution relating to power-sharing after last year’s parliamentary elections.

Article 10 on fundamental principles of the 2003 constitution in its section 3 commits Rwanda to “equitable power sharing”. The concept is reinforced in Article 62 which states that “Cabinet members are selected from political organizations on the basis of seats held by those organizations in the Chamber of Deputies”.

Habineza told journalists that his members are agitating for the full implementation of these provisions of the Supreme Law.

In September 2018 parliamentary polls, the Green Party and PS-Imberakuri obtained 5%, the set threshold to gain seats in the Chamber and as a result they were each given two parliamentary seats in the 80-member House.

However, more than six months after the polls, other “rights” as Habineza described them at a press conference on Sunday have yet to be accorded to them.

“It is our right and I know very well that the concerned authorities know how to interpret these laws far better than us,” said Habineza.

He added that the Green Party had raised its concerns with the political committee of the Senate. The Senate is the political guardian of power sharing.

“…the senate committee told us that they addressed this issue to the concerned authorities, so we are looking forward for a positive response soon,” Habineza said.

Dr Frank Habineza with Green Party leaders speaking to the press yesterday

Cabinet is appointed by the President of the Republic, in this case President Paul Kagame, in consultation with the Prime Minister.

There is no requirement in the constitution that the President should clearly indicate the party of each appointed minister or state minister. The identification of ministers’ parties has also not been a practice in previous cabinet reshuffles.

The head of state actually has constitutional room to name anyone to cabinet as par Article 64 which states: “It is not prohibited for other competent persons to be appointed to Cabinet”.

However, in the current 26 member-cabinet team constituted a month after elections, some parties with seats in Parliament are represented with the exception of the Green Party and PS-Imberakuri.

In the Constitution, the there is no timeline determining the period within which power sharing is to be implemented─although it can be deduced that it’s after parliamentary elections since appointment to cabinet is also tied to gaining not less than 5% of the national electoral vote.

Speaking on Sunday, Habineza said there was still time for action to fully set in motion all constitutional provisions.

Habineza was speaking to the media after the Green Party concluded a members’ training and political bureau meeting.

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