Rwanda Constitutional Amendment Allows President to Stand Indefinitely

Uganda Law Society (ULS) has expressed grave concern about the clashes between police and FDC political activists along Kampala-Mbarara highway this past Saturday, healing Chimp Corps report.

Uganda Police said they acted to stop politicians and their supporters from travelling to Rukungiri to participate in what was described as an illegal campaign rally.

The reason advanced for the actions of the Uganda Police Force was that the intended political activities were illegal as no permission had been granted under the Public Order and Management Act.

ULS President Ruth Sebatindira said in a statement on Monday that the press captured and relayed events which showed officers of the Uganda Police Force actively participating in or encouraging acts which are “heinous, hospital inexcusable, order grossly indecent and inhuman.”

She pointed out that the victims included senior opposition actors in the political landscape in Uganda, Members of Parliament, opposition political party leaders and ordinary Ugandans.

“These people were manhandled, roughed up and bundled onto waiting UPF pick-ups and transferred to various police stations. Another was carted away to a police station on a flat-bed carrier while remaining inside his vehicle,” said Sebatindira.

“A lady who was part of the travel party was dragged on the ground in public, had her clothes removed exposing her modesty in a manner that is repugnant to good conscience, respect for human rights and dignity,” she added.

“This conduct, particularly against the lady is a violation of Article 33 of the Constitution which grants full dignity to women particularly in view of their unique status and natural maternal functions in society.”

Police said in a statement on the same day that Fatuma Naigaga whose breasts were exposed during the fracas, “undressed herself, falsely claimed that security undressed her later and insulted the Police.”

Enanga said the “female political activist indecently exposing her nakedness, is a subject of investigation who will be charged in due course.”

Police maintain they will not allow presidential campaigns before nomination of candidates in November.

Sebatindira said ULS treats these events as an “unacceptable, unfortunate and a backward assault on Ugandans by those supposed to protect them.”

Good governance 

She said this conduct is not in tandem with the dictates of the Ugandan Constitution or good conscience.

“It does not portend a future of peace and stability. It is unnecessary, outlandish, undemocratic and an affront on the conscience of Ugandans.”

ULS urged Government to reign in and bring to book those among its regular and other forces involved in unlawful and unconstitutional conduct.

“We believe that a cowered population cannot give birth to a democratic nation. We believe that equality before the law is an essential element of democratic practice and that human dignity, whether for a man or a woman, must be preserved at all times,” said Sebatindira.

“If the rights of citizens are disrespected arbitrarily and voices of reason engaged in legitimate political activity are subjected to unending humiliation, the rule of law will be eroded and the social consequences will be disastrous for all.”

The law society demanded that Uganda Police Force carries out an investigation into this incident and take action against the perpetrators.

Sebatindira said Uganda Police Force must appreciate that their duty to protect and preserve law and order is not a “license to abuse and assault Ugandans or deny them enjoyment of their inherent rights and freedoms because these are not granted by the State or by the Uganda Police Force or its individual officers.”
The Plenary Sitting of the Chamber of Deputies in Rwanda has adopted the relevance of the draft review of the Constitution, clinic removing a caveat on the number of times a President can be elected into office.

Article 101 of the Rwandan Constitution stipulates that, “The President of the Republic is elected for a term of seven years renewable only once. Shall under no circumstances a person hold the office of President of Republic for more than two terms.”

However, following petitions to Parliament and a Constitution review process, legislators have agreed to change the wording of Article 101 to read: “The President of the Republic shall be elected for a term of 7years. He/She may be re-elected for more terms.”

This means a sitting President can stand as many times as one wishes.

On the length of presidential terms, the Parliamentary Committee Chairpersons and the Constitutional Review Commission experts said most people’s views are in favour of the 7-year term for a president while a few supported 5 or 4 years.

A debate has been raging on whether President Kagame intends to stand for President after the expiry of his second term in 2017.

His admirers say the president should retain office to consolidate achievements made under the RPF government especially in developing the healthcare, infrastructure, economy and security.

But critics say amending the Constitution will entrench President Kagame’s rule.

Kagame, who led guerrillas to seize power from the genocidal regime in 1994, is accused of human rights violations and suffocating political dissent, charges Kigali vehemently denies.

The Parliament committee on Monday evening said people expressed convergent and divergent points of view.

“Most Rwandans agreed on the amendment of Article 101 of the Constitution,” said the Committee.


The Rwandan Constitution was adopted on May 26,2003 and published in the official Gazette on June 04, 2003.

It has been amended four times: December 2, 2003; December 8, 2005; August 13, 2008 and June 17, 2010.

Officials said the 2015 review is unique since it it combines the previous amendments and reviews other provisions to be modified.

MPs said the review must be subjected to a referendum.

The 2015 Constitution Review was prompted by 3,784,586 Rwandans who filed petitions to Rwanda Parliament seeking amendment of Article 101.

About ten (10) Rwandans objected the amendment of Article 101 of the Constitution

Rwandans petitions are based on Article 2 of the Constitution:  “All the power derives from the people.”

After examination of the petitions, the Plenary Assembly of each Chamber resolved that the Constitution of Rwanda of June 04, 2003 be revised.

Parliament also decided the establishment of a technical Commission to support it in the Constitution Review.

The Support Commission to Parliament for the Constitution Review was established by Law ? 43/2015 of 29/08/2015.

The findings from reports on public consultations held by Legislators show there are other provisions of the Constitution that need to be amended due to various reasons.

It was observed that the Constitution contains some awkward phrasing and inappropriate terminology that complicate its interpretation.

The Constitution Review requires improving the language and translation using appropriate legislative drafting techniques.

On the format, MPs said the Constitution needs to be restructured as a number of Articles are placed in Chapters where they have no relevance.

The Constitution of Rwanda has no Table of Contents which legislators said makes it not a user-friendly legal text.


Header advertisement
To Top