Welcome to the banana republic of the RPF.
On March 21, 2020; the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Dr NGIRENTE declared the state of health emergency. But on which grounds and what legal framework was he pushed to do so? The Constitution of Rwanda is very clear on the declaration of emergency, and it is the the President of Republic’s responsibilities provided he get approval of the cabinet meeting. Therefore, what the rwandan Prime Minsiter did is unconstitutional.
Not so long ago, we were talking about measures against COVID-19 being applied in Rwanda. However, nobody expected to discover that the measures against the pandemic would be unconstitutioanl and legally baseless. A regime that tramples on the laws that it itself has put in place must be treated with contempt it deserves.
Let us recall that:
- As of March 14, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was declared in Kigali (The Embassy of the Netherlands was aware of it two days earlier).
- On March 21, 2020, the Rwandan Prime Minister Dr NGIRENTE Edouard released ““Enhanced Covid19 Prevention Measures” to stop the spread of the virus. As such, the country entered a state of health emergency.
What does the country’s Constitution say about it?
The country’s Constitution may contain a lot of inconsistencies, yet, it is the supreme law and no any legal instrument can go against it. On the state of emergency, the Constitution stipulates:
“The President of the Republic declares a state of siege or a state of emergency in accordance with provisions of this Constitution and other laws”. (Art 108, paragraph 3)
And article 136 of the same Constitution could not be clearer:
A state of siege and a state of emergency and are provided for by law and declared by the President of the Republic, following approval by Cabinet (Paragraph 1).
A declaration of a state of siege or a state of emergency must be clearly justified, specify the part of national territory to which it applies an its consequences, indicate the rights, freedoms and guarantees provided by law that are suspended and the duration of the state of siege or state of emergency which may not exceed a period of fifteen (15) days. (Paragraph 2)
The state of siege or a state of emergency cannot be extended beyond a period of fifteenThe state of siege and the state of emergency are governed by law and are pr(15) days without approval of Parliament, which requires a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the members of each Chamber. (Paragraph 3)
And article 137 paragraph 2 says:
“A state of emergency is declared on the entire or part of the national territory when the country faces a public disaster or constitutional crisis whose gravity does not warrant the declaration of a state of siege”.
All that being said and fairly clear, one wonders from where Mr. NGIRENTE gets the authority to declare a state of emergency. Especially two questions arise:
- Why was Kagame replaced by his Prime Minister?
- When did the Council of Ministers take place to approve these measures?
Article 119 of the Constitution explains the powers and responsibilities of the Prime Minister and article 105 adds that:
” When the President of the Republic is outside the country, in case of illness or
temporary impediment, his acting is ensured by the Prime Minister”. (Paragraph 9).
We already know that Kagame’s private jet landed and remains in London since March 21, 2020, even if his office did not want to reveal it. Furthermore, gossip on social networks alludes to the precarious state of health of the President, – he probably contracted COVID-19 – which gives the Prime Minister presidential responsibilities ad interim.
However, there has never been a cabinet meeting to approve the state of health emergency and its respectivs the measures. Welcome to Banana Republic.
In conclusion, the decree of Prime Minister Edouard NGIRENTE of March 21, 2020 relating to the COVID-19 measures, is null and void since it is unconstitutional. He should resign or much better, be prosecuted for his disrespect towaRds the Supreme Law of the Land.
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