RE: “A national dialogue goes beyond just mere talk” (The New Times, December 17). It is true the national dialogue that takes place through the now institutionalised annual Umushyikirano has chalked up solid policies, programmes and other tangible national outcomes. But, the process is of extreme value in and of itself in providing Rwandans everywhere and from all walks of life a mechanism and platform to be consulted and to provide inputs about issues that concern them fundamentally.
In the end, people everywhere want to be heard and for their views to be taken into account in decisions that concern them, even if those decisions differ from what they would have preferred. That is the greatest added value of citizen participation in national decision-making.
Umushyikirano and its participatory approach ensure citizens feel they truly own the policies, programmes and projects that it generates. The value of citizen ownership of decisions from such a nationwide consultative process and the political legitimacy it confers on their implementation can never be overstated. This is truly ‘home-grown’ in its purest form.