RWANDA: Debate on National Women Council Bill Put on Hold

Thursday, January 13, 2011
Central Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

An "incoherent" clause in the draft bill that will determine the structure, mission and functions of the National Women Council (NWC), on Tuesday put a halt to the debate as most legislators in the lower chamber requested that it first corrected before further deliberations.

The clause in question outlines the organs of the council, which, lawmakers said did not give room for decentralization of the Executive Secretariat to implement the council's policies.

According to the clause, the council is composed of the General Assembly, the Management Committee and the Executive Committee, with the first two organs catered for in administrative organs, right from grassroots, while the Executive Secretariat at national level only.

Following debate on the contentious article, the majority of legislators voted for the clause to be refined before parliament looks at it again.

Juliana Kantengwa, one of the lawmakers who spoke to The New Times shortly after the vote, wondered "how the governing body will be implementing their assemblies' decisions without an implementing agent".

"It's contradictory - so, we are saying that at the various administrative levels, this [Executive Secretariat] should also be reflected," Kantengwa said.

The NWC bill comes up for debate at a time when the council's initial seven-year mandate expires.

Elections for the new councils will be held concurrently with those for local leaders countrywide.