President Paul Kagame has elaborated on issues of sustained mediocrity among leaders in both central and local government which hinder country development and told them it is high time for them to wake up.
The president, while presiding over the signing of performance contracts – imihigo on Friday in Nyagatare – Eastern Province, he gave several scenarios of poor delivery which lacks justification.
He said in some instances, officials fail to deliver to the expectation and they give an excuse that their institutions failed to work together.
He said in some instances things don’t work because a leader was not given some bribe to do the work or in other cases, leaders say that there was no planning.
“When you consider that there was no problem of budget, you wonder how someone would lack the will to do what they are expect to,” the president said.
“How do you explain that? If you did not do planning, what else took your time?” he asked.
“Suppose that one lacks planning skills, but again, how do you still fail to hire someone who can help you do proper planning, yet you have a budget?”
The President said he is concerned that sometimes he talks to leaders who lack development ambitions.
“My wish would be that we all graduate from petty things, but I will always swallow my pride since others have also the right to do what they want. However, we shall keep pushing to have someone on board who is willing to also take the development path.”
The president reminded that in some countries, when you miss the objectives slightly, you pay for it. Unfortunately, he said that some leaders who worked in such systems, when they come back home, they meet a shocking experience within their workmates.
“Once you come back here, colleagues will intimidate you while saying: relax, take it easy; at first we also tried and failed. You won’t succeed either. They discourage you instead of giving you a chance to also give it a try,” he said.
The president was straight to show concrete examples of mediocrity from district performance-imihigo.
The list of top five districts is dominated by Southern Province with Nyaruguru on top, followed by Huye also from South and Rwamagana from East, then Gisagara and Nyanza also from the South.
The last five districts include Gakenke, Musanze, Nyabihu Karongi and Rusizi in the bottom.
“The districts that have been doing well are now doing bad and vice-versa and some of you may blame COVID-19 but it is not the case,” Kagame said before bringing a specific example.
The president talked about a challenge that he personally witnessed in Musanze district while on his outreach last year.
“Last year while in Musanze, I showed both the mayor and the governor something but I was surprised they could not see it,” Kagame said.
He explained that he saw fire gutting a specific hill and he showed it to both the mayor and the governor.
“I showed them the smoke and asked them: don’t you see that? but they had no idea,” he said adding that there are many more shortfalls in the district.
Whole on another trip, the president would also be shocked that some developers encroached the property of a recently launched luxury hospitality facility – One and Only Gorilla Nest in Musanze district.
He also noted cases of poor hygiene in the district.
The president requested the district mayor an opportunity to explain those shortfalls but he was not satisfied with the promise that goes like “we shall do our level best to correct everything.”
He said that such explanation has become a slogan but is not followed concrete action.
In the city of Kigali, the president also mentioned cases of construction companies which obstruct roads and walkways with construction materials.
“When such things cause damages, the following morning leaders come to ask for the budget to repair. How do you luck the courage to make the person pay the damages and even punish them?”
Warning to corrupt officials
The president who has zero-tolerance to corruption and poor service delivery once again said that the leaders owe to the citizen, not vice versa.
“They(citizen) paid you long ago through taxes-how do you delay them again, how do you ask them more money?” he said.
The President is aware that some officials delay services and bring an excuse of the laws and procedures.
“The first thing a leader should be doing is to find a way to deliver well and quickly instead of finding reasons that allow them not to deliver,” the president said adding that laws were not put in place to delay procedures but to speed up services.
He said the only problem is that corrupt officials tend to complicate them with an intention to mislead or to push service seekers to bribe them.
Kagame was shocked that people can fail to even achieve very easy tasks while noting that, even the venue was poorly prepared.