Minister explains why over 1000 colonial laws to be repealed

By IGIHE
On 20 June 2019 at 04:42

The State Minister for Constitutional and Legal affairs, Evode Uwizeyimana has told members of the parliamentary standing committee on political affairs and gender in the Chamber of Deputies that former Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana and Grégoire Kayibanda retained colonial laws because they were working under the influence of colonizers.

He explained as a shame on Rwanda to continue implementing laws established by colonizers and requested abolishment of the outdated laws that were enacted by the colonial regime.

Minister Uwizeyimana made the observation yesterday as he responded to the summon of the parliamentary standing committee on political affairs and gender in the Chamber of Deputies during the assessment of the government proposal to abolish 1000 laws established before Rwanda’s independence.

The said laws were enacted between 1885 and 1962 when Rwanda obtained independence from Belgium.

The cabinet meeting of April 03rd, 2019 chaired by President Paul Kagame approved the draft law repealing all laws established before Rwanda’s independence.

As indicated by the Ministry of Justice (MINIJUST), these laws are over 1000 and said to be obsolete.

Rwanda was a colony of two countries, German (1900-1916) and Belgium between (1916-1962).

Minister Uwizemana told parliamentarians that it brings shame on Rwanda to be guided by colonial laws enacted for interests of colonizers.

He explained that former President Grégoire Kayibanda declared publically that all laws established by Belgians have to be implemented in Rwanda in what he termed as blindness which spread to the regime of his successor President Habyarimana.

“Kayibanda and Habyarimana had adhered to colonial laws on specific reason. Apparently, Kayibanda was given political freedom but they retained control of the rest. This is evidenced through the fact that he had Belgians as part of leadership and advisors at his Presidency office. They were also part of the military without official ratifications. This spread to the regime of Habyarimana who had quite a number of France nationals as advisors,” he said.

Minister Uwizeyimana stressed that the latter reflects how Kayibanda independence was idle.

“Some implications of these obsolete laws still considered today include approved laws during the colonial rule with clauses limiting black people in accessing some places reserved for Belgians. For instance, in the place where Serena Hotel is currently based was the premise of Diplomate Hotel on which it was written ‘The area is restricted to dogs and black people’. These laws still exist,” he said.

Minister Uwizeye reiterated that such laws should have been set by Rwanda’s parliament knowing better what suits Rwandans.

The chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on political affairs and gender in the Chamber of Deputies, Emma Furaha said they shall sit together to analyze the situation considering suitable choices for Rwandans.

Speaking to IGIHE recently, Alain Songa Gashabizi, the acting head of the department for law research, reform, and revision at the Rwanda Law Reform Commission (RLRC) said that some laws in Rwanda are outdated.

He explained, after the independence of Rwanda in 1962, the then president announced that all international agreements signed by Belgium during the colonial rule have to be applied in Rwanda.

“This means, if Belgium signed agreements with France on a particular issue, they may bring these agreements to say Rwanda has such duties in France and Belgium based on the announcement,” said Gashabizi.

He highlighted that some approved laws during the colonial rule incorporate clauses limiting black people in accessing some places.

The State Minister for Constitutional and Legal affairs, Evode Uwizeyimana requested abolishment of the outdated laws that were enacted by the colonial regime.

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