PRESS SHOULD STEP UP ITS WATCHDOG ROLE

The early month of August has been a whirlwind tour for the offices of the Ombudsman and Prosecutor General, not to mention some 22 or more institutions and a specific minister who have come under their fire.

 

A recent report has found 12 already guilty of some sort of fraud.

 

It is important that the government follow up its own activities as best as possible. President Paul Kagame has made it clear that corruption has no place in Rwanda, and that naïve doesn’t mean innocent.

 

But government can’t always do it alone.

 

While the government of Rwanda rightly wants to take care of its own business, and not have foreign watchdogs breathing down necks and releasing reports, the media of Rwanda must step up and take its rightful place as a partner with the constitution in not only making sure that Rwanda can look out for itself, but making sure politicians fear and revere the people and society so that corrupt temptations are forever put to rest.

 

But it is not good practice that all irregularities currently being investigated were first unearthed in 2005. We are now entering the second half of 2007 and it is just now that these stories are hitting the press. What took us so long? Meaning that the media has not been doing its job as it should, because such oversight on part of Parliament to put to task the people and bodies responsible for failing to give satisfactory accountability, should have been pointed out long ago.

 

That is why the new-look The New Times is indeed reloaded, and will not shy away from its other major responsibility of unearthing accountability irregularities and bringing them to light.

 

For Rwanda to not just be sustainable, but to develop sustainably, both the government and citizens must hold leaders accountable. That is the beauty of voting and that is the beauty of communication, for which no one can blame the government or the press for doing their job well.

 

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