KIGALI - A team of Burundian senators has been told that decentralisation process is one of the ways of promoting good governance and equitable distribution of resources. The Minister of Local Government, Good Governance, Community Development and Social Welfare, Protais Musoni, told the visiting Burundi delegation yesterday that decentralisation enables citizens to participate in their own development hence achieving social and economic transformation for all.
“The process of decentralisation allows the masses to take part in the planning and implementation of development activities with little supervision,” Musoni said while meeting the Burundian senators at his ministry’s offices in Kacyiru.
“It (decentralisation) also gives them capacity to decide on what programmes that best suits their situation,” Musoni added.
Gervis Rufyikiri, the Burundian Senate president and leader of the delegation, said that they have been impressed by the way Rwanda has speeded up the decentralisation process.
“We have been thrilled by decentralisation here. We are in the process of decentralisation, too, and we hope to emulate Rwanda,” Rufyikiri said.
He noted that the process of decentralisation in his country was still going at a slow pace compared to Rwanda’s because of the instabilities that rocked the neighbouring country in the recent years.
He assured that the Bujumbura would work hard to ensure that Burundians are given chance to participate in their own development.
A delegation member Evariste Bayaga extolled the government’s policy of allowing persons with disabilities to take part in the decetralisation and governance process.
“We hope to continue coming to Rwanda to acquire some knowledge about such policies that help equip local masses on how to fight poverty and share experiences,” the Burundian senator said.
Meanwhile, Rufyikiri said earlier that his country is still grappling with insecurity in some parts due to long periods of political instability.
Rufyikiri explained that since the new government came to power in September 2005 – the first democratic government since 1993 – there has been marked insecurity because after the wars, some people remained with guns and continue to distabilse the country.
“Despite our country’s peace progress, we still have some people who hold guns illegally and use them to distabilise the country by killing and threatening the local population,” Rufyikiri said.
He was addressing senators on the achievements and challenges of Burundi on Tuesday at the Senate offices at Boulevard de l’Umuganda in Kacyiru.
The senate chief largely attributed the insecurity to land wrangles between the returning Burundian refugees and their land occupants.
“In various parts of the country (Burundi) there are a number of refugees who have started claiming land ownership yet it is already occupied and this has caused tension among residents,” Rufyikiri explained.
He also pointed out that ethnic differences are partly responsible for internal insecurity in his country.
The visiting official explained that this has derailed the country’s stability and peace process especially in rural areas.
He said that the Burundian parliament has started on an initiative to sensitise the masses on how best they can solve the problem.
“We are establishing mechanisms for justice and reconciliation and building institutions of good governance to ensure that lasting peace is achieved,” he added.
They have visited several state offices including ministries and Murambi Genocide Memorial Site. They are also due to sign a cooperation agreement with the Rwandan Senate today.
The delegation, which was due to conclude its visit yesterday, has been in the country since Tuesday. Before their departure, they were due to sign a cooperation agreement with the Rwandan senate and thereafter address a press conference.
Last month, a delegation of eleven Burundian legislators led by senator Antoine Ntwari was in the country for a one-week official study tour.