Rwanda’s Supreme Court today accepted to adjourn the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda’s case against the change of the constitution to 29th July 2015, after the lawyer failed to turn up.
DGPR has had challenges in getting legal representation in Court as most of the lawyers contacted gave different reasons for not taking on the case. Some cited fear, personal reasons and unanimous threats, as reasons preventing them to take on the case.
It was equally shocking this morning when the lawyer who had spent several weeks with the dossier also failed to turn up. This led to the prosecution demanding punishments for the party and the lawyer. Party Representatives, requested for more time in order to find more lawyers and if necessary from the neighboring countries.
The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda had filed a lawsuit to the Supreme Court on 3rd of June 2015, demanding the Court to Block Parliament from any future plans of changing the constitution, specifically, regarding the lifting of presidential term limits from the Constitution.
Article 101 of the constitution stipulates that:
‘The President of the Republic is elected for a term of seven years renewable only once.
Under no circumstances shall a person hold the office of President of Republic for more than two terms’.
DGPR strongly believes that Article 193, concerning amendments to the Constitution, does not allow the change of term limits from the stated two (2) to any other number.
The Article only allows a reduction or an increase on the lengths of the term of office, which in this case is seven (7) years. This can be reduced to either five or be increased from seven to any other number for example eight (8).
Article, 193, clearly states that, ‘ …if the constitutional amendment concerns the term of the President of the Republic…., the amendment must be passed by referendum….’ This article, clarifies that, the concerned term of office for the President, is the one of seven years and not any other thing else.
The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda demanded the Supreme Court:
- To order the Rwandan Parliament not to change Article 101 of the Constitution;
- To confirm that no referendum is required for those wishing to remove term limits from the Constitution;
- To confirm that Article 193 does not allow the amendment of Article 101 regarding the number of terms of office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda;
- To confirm that Article 101 is Intangible (ntayegayezwa) and cannot be changed by a referendum;
- To confirm that, the term of office of the President, mentioned in Article 193, does not concern the number of times, a President can be elected for but the lengths of the term of office of the President, which is currently 7 years and can be reduced to five years or increased to 8 years;
- To provide in-depths interpretation of Article 101 and 193 of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.
The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda was officially launched on 14th August 2009 as an opposition party. It got official registration on 9th August 2013 and accepted as a member of the National Consultative Forum of Political Organisations in Rwanda on 3rd April 2014.
DGPR’s Status were published in the official gazette of the Republic of Rwanda on 4th August 2014.
Done at Kigali on 8th July 2015
President, Democratic Green Party of Rwanda