Negligent” officials should be called to account

The Senate has released a very disturbing report showing that some senior government officials are guilty of gross negligence that continues to keep thousands of Rwandans in misery. In Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts, in the Western Province, where an earthquake left thousands homeless and a devastated infrastructure in 2008, patients have been left at the mercy of nature as they huddle under a worn out tent that replaced their destroyed hospital.

The Senate has released a very disturbing report showing that some senior government officials are guilty of gross negligence that continues to keep thousands of Rwandans in misery.

In Rusizi and Nyamasheke districts, in the Western Province, where an earthquake left thousands homeless and a devastated infrastructure in 2008, patients have been left at the mercy of nature as they huddle under a worn out tent that replaced their destroyed hospital.

To make things worse, the Senate report pointed out that tonnes of building materials were lying idle in stores; if they were not out rightly misappropriated by the local leaders, yet thousands need shelter.

There is little to show for the Rwf 6.5 that was reportedly sunk into relief efforts.

The story is the same in Nyabihu and Rubavu districts, also in the Western Province. Resources were mobilized after disaster struck, but they disappeared into thin air or were wasted.

This report should not be a dead letter, to be forgotten in some drawer. Sanctions should be applied against responsible parties, who not only led to the loss of billions of government funds, but in some cases, blatantly enriched themselves at the expense of disaster-stricken citizens, still sleeping in the cold.

Officials have to atone for their mistakes and make honourable exits, or else feel the full weight of the law.

It was not just negligence, as the Senate report politely called the scandal; it was criminal negligence that should not go unpunished.

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