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Day One In Office: Challenges Awaiting the New Governors

by Daniel Sabiiti
8:05 pm

L-R: Alphonse Munyantwali outgoing Western Province governor, Minister Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi of Local Government and new governor of Western Province Francois Habitegeko at the handover today

Today marks day one in office for the three provincial governors that were appointed on March 15 to serve Rwanda selflessly, putting forward the people’s interests rather than their own.

Governor Dancilla Nyirarugero who was handed over credentials for the Northern Province yesterday is taking over from Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi who is becoming her boss – Minister of Local Government.

Governor Emmanuel Gasana has also been given the master key while taking over from Fred Mufulukye from Eastern Province.

In a colorful event this morning also, Governor Francois Habitegeko, fomer mayor of Nyaruguru District took over from Alphonse Munyantwali in Western Province.

The event was graced by Minister Gatabazi.

A lot is awaiting the new governors in the three provinces which have a lot to offer in Rwanda’s agriculture production, tourism, education among other socio-economic aspects of the country.

In the Eastern Province, Governor Gasana will have to deal with an already existing issue of classrooms, to reduce congestions in classes. Countrywide, the average ratio of students per class stands at 46:1 for Primary and Secondary school. Eastern Province contributes to this at a greater extent.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends a ratio of 20:1.

Emmanuel Gasana, Governor of Eastern Province

During the handover, Mufulukye told his successor, that the new classrooms that were built in Kirehe and Ngoma are at finishing phase, yet the province has not yet paid construction suppliers and some workers.

Mufulukye also tasked the new governor to speed up pending but urgent socio-economic projects that intend to turn around the fertile province and those include the multibillion milk powder that was pledged by Inyange Industries, Rwanda’s leading food processing factory.

In Eastern Province, the pastoral land and country’s supplier of milk, farmers have in the past been disappointed by market saturation which affects their economy. In the past, they happened to waste thousands of liters.

To this can also be added compensation of citizens who were affected by several development projects like construction of Ngoma-Bugesera-Nyanza road. This was brought forward while more road construction projects are also awaiting.

These include Kageyo-Mucucu, Rwamagana-Karembo, Rugende-Karenge, Ryabega-Nyagatare-Rwempasha, Rwamagana- Flower Park.

Other issues include drug trafficking including illegal crude brews in communities along the Rwanda-Uganda borders.

Governor Gasana will also have a huge task to deal with the issue of teenage sexual abuse commonly reported in Nyagatare, Gatsibo, Kirehe and Bugesera districts respectively.

The governor needs to mobilize Rwf250million to rehabilitate the provincial offices and urgently construct home for 436 families living in high risk zones in Nyagatare district.

Transport Challenges In the Touristic Western Province

At the handover in Western Province, Governor Munyantwali was straight forward to talk about road network issues.

He told his successor in front of Minister Gatabazi, that the lack of road network has a setback on the provincial development. The main challenge, he said, is the natural disasters which damage the roads especially during rainy season.

Most affected is the Rusizi-Rubavu road commonly referred to as Kivu Belt.

Munyantwali recommended that conservation activities in land and forest restoration, Sebeya river boundaries preservation should be high on agenda to reduce incidences of natural calamities.

Since 2018, over 1,233 households have lost their crops and homes due to the river Sebeya flooding problem, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.

Last month, Sebeya burst its banks, and flooding settlements in Rubavu district, submerged households, forcing families to remain indoors as roads and pathways were blocked.

The Western Province borders with countries that have in several instances brought security issues against Rwanda and those are Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC). Munyantwali asked the new governor to prioritize border security.

Gatabazi Tells Nyirarugero to Be Watchful

In the Northern Province, Minister Gatabazi, while handing over to Nyirarugero yesterday, he went straight forward to the thing that caused him sleepless nights-security.

Dancilla Nyirarugero, Governor of Northern Province

He told her to be awake 24/7 to prevent illegal armed groups from sabotaging security the way they did two years ago.

“You will be obliged to receive issues presented to you at all times, day and night,” Minister Gatabazi said as he narrated how citizens called his phone in wee hours after an attack was launched on them back then.

The new Governor will also have a major task of working with teams of mayors and sector officials to ensure high-quality hygiene displayed in the province, especially in Musanze district.

In 2020 performance contracts, President Paul Kagame said that he couldn’t understand how such a potential area can be labeled as with little hygiene.

Minister Gatabazi asked the governor to mobilize citizens and local leaders to change this image.

In Northern Province, the governor was tasked to speed up the construction of five roads the president pledged, to facelift of Ruhengeri Hospital also as pledged by President Paul Kagame, and to finish construction of the 140 units of Kinigi Model Village.

The governor will also work hard to finish the construction of Gicumbi dairy factory and to insure quick extension of the Burera based University of Global Health Equity(UGHE).

Special thanks to: Emmanuel G. Sebasaza, Sylidio Sebuharara, Servilien Mutuyimana

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