Teams of parliamentarians today descended the countryside to spend a full week on an outreach program intended to assess socioeconomic activities and how communities are dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The organic law determining the functioning of the Chamber of Deputies required that the chamber organises at least two outreach visits aimed at conducting an oversight, progress in development programs and gathering citizens’ concerns to be tabled at central government level.
The first outreach was done in January, and followed by several report findings presented during committee and the plenary sessions.
Unlike previous years where the 80 MPs met directly with the citizen at large, this year’s tour will come with many changes especially as a result of the looming new wave of COVID-19.
From November 2 to 6, MPs will visit sampled sectors across the country while on 8 November they will tour all sectors of the City of Kigali and hold meetings with delegates of the population to discuss Covid-19 related topics and more.
These include compliance with measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic; hygiene and sanitation; healthcare services under the outbreak; participation in Ejo Heza saving scheme; childcare, education and protection of children against Covid–19 pandemic, especially now that schools are reopening.
The Speaker of Parliament, Donatille Mukabalisa told a press briefing on Monday November 2, 2020 that the objective of the tour is to access progress done in implementing government programs.
“One of the things we will be looking at is the preparations of the school year, if the classrooms are well prepared, with protective measures but also how the budget was used in constructing more classrooms needed,” Mukabalisa said.
Mukabalisa also revealed that besides assessing other development programs in light of the Office of the Auditor General’s report 2019/20, the MPs will also look at how the new bill on maternal health is being implemented especially on civic registration of new born babies.
“We will want to find out if this bill has made it easy for mothers to register their babies without having to make separate trips to register at the sectors,” Mukabalisa said.
On other areas like promoting savings, Covid-19 awareness, MPs will use live interactive radio talk shows that will be aired on public and private community radio stations to mobilize citizens but also as measures to mitigate Covid-19, the Parliament statement said.
Citizens are expected to ask questions concerning delayed healthcare under the community based health insurance policy, the newly revised social protection (ubudehe) categorizations, delayed payment of labor under ubudehe programs- among many other socio-economic gaps that were underlined in the OAG report.