2-8 November 2015
Compiled by Berta Fürstová
- Senators approved the relevance of a draft bill on constitutional reforms
1. Senators approved the relevance of a draft bill on constitutional reforms
Private but pro-government newspapers
“Senate scrutinises bill on constitutional reforms” by Eugene Kwibuka. New Times, 6th November 2015
- Senators have unanimously approved the relevance of a draft law proposing amendments to the current Constitution of the country, a step that marks the start of the Senate’s own assessment of the proposed amendments.
- While expressing their support for the relevance of the bill, most senators indicated that its proposals are in line with people’s wishes to give President Paul Kagame a chance to continue leading Rwanda beyond 2017 while also enacting an up-to-date Constitution for the country.
- “I support this proposal because it responds to people’s will of changing article 101 of the Constitution and it has also reduced the Head of State’s term to five years renewable once, which is similar to terms in other East African Community countries,” said Senator Evariste Bizimana.
- A number of other changes were also made in the Constitution, ranging from vetting process of the Senate, senators’ term in office, and modalities at which a former president vies for a senatorial position, among others.
2. FDLR has 5,000 combatants in DRC, says its deserter
Private independent newspapers
“FDLR has 5,000 combatants in four DR Congo provinces” by Gahiji Innocent. News of Rwanda, 29th October 2015, originally published by KT Press
- Former FDLR officer, Lt Col Gerard Ntibibaza, who deserted with his family to Rwanda early this month, dismissed UN and Congolese government figures of the FDLR combatants. He had been chief of administration for nearly three years. He says field commanders were required to give him constant updates on troop levels and new recruits.
- The UN mission in Congo (MONUSCO) estimates the FDLR has less than 1500 combatants. The DRC government, eager to show that its forced disarmament operations are working, puts the figure at 340.
- However, Ntibizaza says that the UN for its part gives figures based on hearsay from FDLR commanders and that MONUSCO never visits FDLR’s bush hideouts all of which are strategically located more than 1500km away from any passable road.
- Ntibibaza said that as of his departure, FDLR had 5,000 combatants. Some 3000 combatants are stationed in North Kivu province, while 2000 rebels operate in South Kivu. There are also more specialized units with small numbers operating in Maniema and Katanga Provinces.
- Ntibibaza says these “specialised units” are attached directly to elite forces of the Congolese army. Despite being FDLR, some are commanders of the Congolese units.