Rwanda scraps over 1000 colonial-era laws

The New Times reports that The Minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye, told the newspaper in a telephone interview that this step finally means that Rwandans can now be fully governed by the laws that they have made themselves. The said laws were enacted between 1885 and 1962, when Rwanda obtained independence from Belgium.

The New Times further reports that three months after discussions began to scrap all the country’s colonial-era laws, Parliament has passed a law scrapping over 1,000 pieces of the legislation said to be outdated.

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

Addressing members of the parliamentary standing committee on political affairs and gender in June this year during an assessment of the government’s proposal to abolish the laws, the State Minister for Constitutional and Legal affairs, Evode Uwizeyimana said that it was a ‘shame’ that Rwanda was being guided by colonial laws enacted in the interests of colonizers.

“There are no legal loopholes that can emerge as a result of repealing them. These are not laws that we should be proud of keeping. We don’t see a problem in repealing them,” he said.

The legal instruments include laws, decree-laws, decrees, legislative ordinances, law-ordinances, ordinances, ordinances of Ruanda-Urundi, royal orders, decrees of the Governor General, orders of the Resident and Special Resident, regulations, presidential orders, ministerial orders, edicts and declarations.

They were enacted by either the German or the Belgian colonial administrations.

Under a decree law of 1930, alcoholic drinks had to be consumed on the spot of their sale had to be paid for at the bar and traders were not allowed to sell the alcoholic drinks on credit.

The repealed laws are not limited to those providing for criminal offences. One of the scrapped laws provided for separate living areas and neighbourhoods for white people and Rwandans, and another allowed the donation of land to the church. 

 “Colonial laws were made for the colonial metropole, not for colonies. They were brought to the colonies to be the legal framework to service the colonial state. This step finally means that we are and will be governed by laws made by us for us,” the Minister said, according to The New Times. 

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