THE NATIONAL Unity and Reconciliation Commission (NURC) on Wednesday evening awarded top three districts that excelled in implementing activities and programmes aimed at promoting unity and reconciliation between 2016 and 2017.
Huye District emerged top with 87 per cent, Nyaruguru second with 85 per cent, while Nyamagabe was ranked third with 82 per cent.
The districts are based in the Southern Province.
The award ceremony took place at FAWE Girls’ School in Gasabo, where a local leaders’ retreat is taking place, bringing together over 1,300 of them.
Fidele Ndayisaba, the executive secretary of NURC, said that all the three districts demonstrated exceptional efforts in strengthening unity and reconciliation through different initiatives that engage all their citizens.
“In all these districts, it was found out that leaders really played a bigger role in making sure that people unite and reconcile. Most importantly, grassroots leaders were pivotal in realising that more people participate in all activities that promote peace,” he told the participants.
Ndayisaba told The New Times on the side-lines of the event that the recognition was part of the commission’s mandate to encourage leaders to take commanding roles to promote harmonious co-existence.
“In our way of working, we have a culture of competition, which has been really driving the achievements in our country. This culture is also seen in unity and reconciliation activities. The districts that were awarded put at the forefront the activities promoting unity and reconciliation as the foundation of peace and security and sustainable development,” he said.
He added that the evaluation was done by a national committee composed of different government institutions, civil society and the private sector through checking on desk what they have done, as well as on field.
Speaking after receiving the award, Eugene Kayiranga Muzuka, the Huye District Mayor, said that the award was an encouragement to enforce programmes and initiatives that foster unity among communities.
“We are very excited to receive this award as a district. We really dedicate it to the citizens of our district who we strongly believe took the huge role by embracing unity and reconciliation activities. We feel encouraged to move on,” he said.
He attributed the award to the different initiatives that the district has been implementing across different communities in the district, including regular dialogues with citizens and different clubs that have been established across different levels.
According to the commission, to come up with the results, up to 15 districts in different provinces were selected and assessed.
The assessment was conducted among citizens, faith-based organisations, the private sector, cooperatives, and civil society groups.
However, Ndayisaba noted that it was established that the private sector was lagging behind in terms of implementing activities related to promotion of unity and reconciliation.
“We, therefore, emphasise that leaders take it upon themselves to make sure that they bring them on board,” he said, adding that the performance evaluated translates into the advancement of unity across the country, which may have a bigger impact on the results of the Rwanda reconciliation barometer.