PARLIAMENT - President Paul Kagame has called for calm among government institutions over the recently released 2008 Ombudsman’s report which provoked angry responses from implicated institutions saying that the Ombudsman only fulfilled his duties.
Angry institutions, especially the judiciary traded words with the government Tsar, Tito Rutaremara, after they were named second most corrupt only after traffic police.
The President who was officiating at the swearing-in ceremony of three new Members of Parliament and 3 Supreme Court Judges made the remarks in reaction to recent reports contesting findings of the report.
In a move that will likely bring an end to persistent calls to withdraw the report by riled institutions, President Kagame said that it is high time the bickering institutions shifted from the blame game and finger-pointing and instead dedicate more efforts towards clearing the stained images.
He said that the findings of the report were not surprising because corruption has in one way or another been cited in the mentioned entities.
Kagame noted that even though the report could have falsely implicated institutions, it had an element of truth, adding that even the debate it provoked is healthy and encouraging especially to institutions to take action.
He added that if all institutions contextualised the report and worked towards maintaining a good image, they would be able to get rid of the mentioned weaknesses while cementing the good values, adding that actions speak louder than bickering.
He congratulated the new deputies and judges and urged them to live up to the oath of service which binds them to safeguard the interests of the nation, adding that upholding that the pledge is a prerequisite for the country’s development aspirations and goals.
He further cautioned that the consequences of a state officials failing to fulfil what is required of them are not limited to the individual, but they also impact negatively on Rwandans and the country as they prevent attainment of set goals.
Speaking on the high rate of resignations and arrests of district mayors and other officials, President Kagame emphasized that it was important to place the high turnover in the proper context as this cannot be attributed to low capacity as has been cited, but is a demonstration of lack of personal responsibility on the part of the failed officials.
He was referring to a story that was published in The New Times which indicated that the turnover rate of elected local leaders has hit 50 percent three years after the 2006 elections.
Kagame pointed out that an analysis of the background of the former mayor’s reveals that they are among the most capable Rwandans and that their failure is the direct result of involvement in corruption.
“I am not worried about turnover but rather what causes it – people who are embezzling public funds must be held accountable.”
President Kagame also said that increased capacity in Rwandan institutions has led to more effective scrutiny as well as the ability to investigate and take punitive measures against those stealing public funds.