Last Sunday, I was witness to the communion of local leaders in my Kibaya Village and was left in awe! In awe of the abandon with which our voluntary local leaders give of themselves for the sake of their people’s welfare. Yet they have their hands full, earning their own living. The moment Umudugudu (especially in English, Village) is mentioned, what immediately springs to mind? The countryside, no? Well, in Rwanda, what’s apparent is not always what really is. Villages exist upcountry just as they do, in cities and towns. Here, Amasibo (sub-Villages) and Imidugudu (Villages) are formed in housing estates. After sub-Villages, Villages are the next level of basic grassroots administration. Leadership of the two levels is voluntary. But methinks the way some of the administrators apply themselves to their work beats that of their salaried counterparts, in the next administration levels, hands down. At the meeting, on the face of it, an assorted team of Umudugudu members seemed to be here to while away the time in idle conversation, to shoot the breeze. And yet, even as you looked at them, if you thought so, how wrong you’d be! Because when they got down to business, you saw an organised group, with a smaller group sitting up front, leading the conversation. Facing them was a bigger group of citizens and together they were deliberating on serious issues affecting their Mudugudu. This group forms one small but important cog in the wheel that makes this government move. At this lowest level, the leaders have an elected chair and elected committee members, each with different responsibilities. The group in question was in a hall with a humble corrugated-iron roof and so had to wait until the rain had subsided before they could get going. The introductions were made, as usual, before the chair read out the agenda and, after, went on to explain the general state of the Mudugudu. After that, it was the turn of the committee members to explain themselves on the progress, unfulfilled requisites and hindrances encountered in their areas of concern. And now the floor was open to whoever could propose ideas, offer help, pose questions or air any grievance, all done in a free, calm and orderly way. Areas tackled included improvement of the streets in the Mudugudu and around, where necessary. Ensuring overall security and that of homes. How those with the means can pool resources to provide clean water, electricity, community health insurance, assistance for children with disabilities, ensuring child school attendance, the existence of kitchen gardens to fight malnutrition where possible, all to help vulnerable families. Eradication of disorder and villainy, on and on. Say it, the meeting found ways to resolve whatever difficulties their Mudugudu families faced. Whatever was not in their means to solve, the next level of administration, Akagari (the Cell) would anon receive the Mudugudu report and examine it, together with reports from different Villages. From here, the reports would go on to Akarere (the Sector), to Intara (the Province and Kigali City) and then on to Minaloc, the Ministry of Local Government. From where, the reports will reach the central government and be shared with all concerned institutions. All of which arms of government and different departments will react in different ways but always supplementing one another, always in collaboration with the citizen. What’s important, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary and different departments are on the pulse of every citizen and resident of this land, and they (the former) on theirs (the latter). The messages from the central government to the grassroots are similarly in constant motion such that the governance of this country is a horizontal wheel, not a bottom-top, top-bottom affair. In this land, what reigns is a wide web of oneness governance. And if this is not citizen-centred democracy, show me what is. No doubt, there are many as yet unsettled huddles despite this constant all-round contact. Especially, as far as the Villages are concerned, one little unfulfilled Village backbone sticks out like a sore thumb. A problem that our Village tackled but could not solve instantly. Which, interestingly and gladly, has been included as a vital part of the new Model Villages that are fast spreading around the countryside, towns and cities. Elsewhere, recreational areas, social halls, sports grounds, child-care centres, green squares, others, are screaming out for attention. This is meant holistically for the young as for the old. For the old? Yes, green squares with benches give a chance for our old to interact, just as our playing young ones will start their own interactions at that early age. Mind you, lack of these amenities is also the case in many schools. Which, in addition, need interactive activities like visiting one another for debate, drama, dance competitions, more, for all-round development. Because who wants to be saddled with academic nerds? We cannot slight this wholesome governance on having forgotten about interaction, recreation, sports and others, no. Not when we know the intentions of transforming all countrywide wetlands along the lines of Nyandungu Eco-Park. Unfortunately, not all can easily access these parks.