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Kagame to Personally Evaluate Districts

8:25 pm
Mayors of best performing districts holding their trophies

Mayors of best performing districts holding their trophies(L-R Huye, Gicumbi and Gasabo districts) 

President Paul Kagame will begin conducting his own regular assessment of performances of all thirty districts in the country.

This Friday, Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi announced the 2015/2016 districts’ performance results in which the average score was 75%-considered low.

For President Kagame, such a performance is intolerable for a country that has a lot of challenges ahead.

“Next time you evaluate the contracts, I promise I will take a car and drive by giving my own marks as you continue with your system of evaluation but you will find that the marks will be similar or close with a little difference,” Kagame told a hundreds of leaders on Friday at Kigali Convention Centre.

Kagame says that implementation of performance contracts would be citizen oriented and the results should be visible to the eye.

In march this year, president Kagame said he was ‘running out of patience’ over poor service delivery and mismanagement of public resources and is about to make his own evaluation.

According to Kagame, this whole scenario has been created by leaders who don’t focus on the ultimate objective of solving citizen’s issues and have turned themselves into absolute leaders either for personal reasons or something else.

In 2006, government introduced performance contracts (imihigo) which district Mayors signed before the president indicating what they would do in a period of one year and after which they are evaluated.

For leaders that fail to deliver according to their commitments made for each fiscal year, they get fired and the best performers are rewarded.

Only two mayors, have survived this disgrace over the past ten years, since the inauguration of the performance contracts, as many have been asked to resign or even jailed for corruption.

While presenting this year’s  results, Prime Minister Murekezi indicated that endless disagreements and misunderstandings among members of decision making committees are a major incitement of corruption tendencies, stagnated performance for some districts.

Rutsiro district, which came among the worst performers (in 29th position) this year survived the disgrace after a new leader (Emerence Ayinkamiye) was elected in office following a massive scandal over construction of the district hotel.

The hotel construction, worth over Rwf950million stopped due to disagreements between leaders and an entrepreneur ECOFOHINA (Entreprise de Construction Fournisseur Hitimana Nathanael) over handing cash kickbacks to leaders which affected the project as each wanted a share of the bribe.

The scandal saw Gaspard Byukusenge, the former mayor of Rutsiro district arrested and jailed in March, 2016 alongside, Dr.Rose Mukankomeje, former Director General of Rwanda Environment Management Agency (REMA) recently prosecuted over the scandal.

“Rutsiro district is now performing better because the new mayor. Otherwise it was drowning in corruption and the district spent months without a leader. The new mayor has showed that leadership is possible if leaders work together,” said Prime minister Murekezi.

According to Murekezi, some districts like Gatsibo that elected new leadership after the previous evaluation have showed consistent improvement while others have completely declined as a result of changes in leadership.

For example Nyanza district has improved from 22nd position in 2012 to 17th in 2013 and 7th in 2014 and this year, while others like Ngoma have continued to deteriorate in the last two evaluations.

Circumstances seen in districts have also been extended to ministries and other government parastatals where disagreements among leaders and individual’s refusal to implement key development agenda have seen ministers and Director Generals sacked from their posts.

Even with over 81% in communal health insurance –mutuelle de Santé, the Ministry of Health has been vacant since July after the minister was sacked for alleged blocking of key health programs.

President Kagame and the Prime Minister say that the performance of ministries and districts has also been affected by this chain of disagreements which move from one level to the other thus affecting the general system and output.

Some districts like Musanze, which was 30th last year and this year have failed to learn from their past failures and challenges even when it was in 23rd position in 2011/12 and improving to the 8th position in 2012/13.

For example in Gakenke district, residents had to wait for four years to be paid Rwf 62million in an expropriation case and this was only done when President Paul Kagame visited the area in March 2016.

This is just a glimpse of the scenarios behind the scenes of implementation of performance contracts which has ended up into blame games, failure to implement, and residents becoming victims.

The recent outcomes of the district and ministries performance contracts, commonly known as ‘imihigo’ indicate that the best performers have continued to decline from top positions as a result of poor coordination while those who have good working relationships have improved drastically.

For example Kicukiro district which was one of the top three performers and two time best overall all in 2011/12 and 2013/14 contracts came in the 20th position in this year’s evaluation.

This has been partly caused by disagreements among district council member and among local leaders themselves thus delaying decision making in this district which is relative in the urban setting.

Mayors of all thirty districts pause for a group photo with President Paul Kagame

Mayors of all thirty districts pause for a group photo with President Paul Kagame