April 4, 2019

Rwanda Begins Repealing ALL Pre-Independence Laws

A colonial administrator meets the Rwandan monarch at the time they were in charge

All laws still on the books that were brought by colonial administrations may be struck out entirely, cabinet has decided.

A weekly cabinet session chaired by President Paul Kagame on Wednesday March 3, adopted a draft law repealing all legal instruments brought into force before the date of independence.

On July 1, 1962, the new flag of an independent Rwanda was hoisted and that of the Belgian colonial administration was pulled down.

No details are readily available immediately as to which laws will be targeted.

Before independence, Rwanda was a monarch. And before the Belgians, Rwanda was a German colonial territory up until 1919 – from the time of the scramble for Africa.

With the adoption of the draft law repealing these colonial laws in cabinet, it will be introduced in Parliament by the Justice Minister and Attorney General Johnston Busingye, as a bill.

Both chambers of the House will have to give it a nod, after a long consultative period.

The public and stakeholders will be invited to give views. It is here that the interesting debates will occur, as interested parties battle for complete removal of some laws.

In other countries, such a process to repeal colonial laws has seen heated debates especially on laws of free expression and assembly, and women rights.

After both parliamentary chambers, the new law will be sent to President Kagame for ascent of his signature. It will then be law – which could take just weeks, a few months or even years.

From then on, Rwanda will either be still in bondage of some, or no single legacy of the ‘colonialists’ – often accused of setting in place the infrastructure that led to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

It also comes barely a few days to April 7, the start of the weeklong 25th commemoration of the genocide.

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