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Rwanda Announces the Abolition of More than 1,000 Colonial Laws

The Rwandan parliament has announced the abolition of more than 1,000 colonial laws. The country of Paul Kagame 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 of this year, during an evaluation of the government’s proposal to abolish laws, the Minister of State for Constitutional and Legal Affairs, Evode Uwizeyimana had declared that it was “shameful” that Rwanda was guided by colonial laws adopted in the interest of the colonialists.

“There is no legal gap that can flow from their repeal. These are not laws we should be proud to respect. We do not see any problem in repealing them . 

Some of the repealed laws

Among the laws that will be abolished is a decree of 22 July 1930 prohibiting the transfer on credit or free of charge of any alcoholic beverage.

Under the 1930 Act, alcoholic beverages consumed at the point of sale were to be paid at the bar and traders were not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages on credit or to offer them free of charge.

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The law allowing missionaries of the Catholic Church to possess tracts of land land will also be abolished.

This massive land grabbing by the Church was made possible by a decree of 24 January 1943 on free transfers and concessions to scientific and religious associations and to public service establishments by the Belgian Government.

Article 1 of the decree stipulated that “under the terms of this decree and subject to the approval of the Royal Decree, the Governor General may freely assign or grant to scientific, philanthropic or religious associations and institutions of general interest recognized by law, up to 10 hectares of urban land and 200 hectares of rural land.

Justice Minister Johnston Busingye told the New Times in a phone interview that the abolitions open a new page for Rwanda.

“The colonial laws were made for the colonial metropolis, not for the colonies. They were brought to the colonies to serve as a legal framework in the service of the colonial state. This abolition means finally that we are and will be governed by the laws adopted by us and for us “ .

These laws were promulgated between 1885 and 1962, when Rwanda gained independence from Belgium.

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