order http://defur.com/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-ms-themes-list-table.php geneva;”>This constitution was a first in many regards. It was the first time citizens had been consulted. All four previous constitutions had been set up without consultation or participation.
It was also the first time the constitution guaranteed the rights and freedoms of citizens. Rwandans would be free of all forms of discrimination, whether by ethnic group, gender, political or religious affiliation.
A country united
After decades of bad politics based on divisionism, Rwandans voted for a Constitution that clearly provides for mechanisms that do away with the discrimination and impunity that led to the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Speaking at the occasion of the anniversary,Prof Shyaka Anastase, CEO of Rwanda Governance Board said that after the genocide, Rwandans through the constitution, said never again and established democratic institutions, which today form the bedrock of their development.
“We set fundamental principles and established a free and fair electoral system, which saw Rwandans across the country have their voices heard in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2010 and 2011. We resolved to build a State governed by the rule of law; a nation which respects the rights of each and every one of its citizens, engages in dialogue at every level and promotes peace and unity,” he said.
Senator Tito Rutaremera who served as chairman of the country’s Constitutional Commission said that the Constitution was drafted after aggregating the comments and insights gathered through an open and democratic process that gave precedence to the concerns and aspirations of the people.
“A set of questionnaires were administered and were very useful for obtaining feedback from the population. Memoranda received from civil society groups across the country were also instrumental in ensuring that views of the larger population were collected. The Constitution was deeply concerned with finding lasting and adequate solutions to problems the country was faced with,” he added
A constitution that guaranteed gender equality
A key part of the new constitution was the adoption of the gender policy, making gender equality a human rights issue. A provision for at least 30% of women in all decision making bodies was passed into law.
Today, Rwanda leads the world with women making up 56% of Members of Parliament. Beyond Parliament, women are active in every sector of life, leading from the lowest village level right up to holding key cabinet positions in government and executive officers in the private sector.
Ten years on, it is still about citizens and meeting their needs.