EDITORIAL: Local leaders’ retreat should bring out true leadership

Government officials get identification numbers and luggage tags before heading for a retreat.

President Paul Kagame is expected to preside over the third edition of the Local Government retreat that opens today in Kigali.

It will bring together all administrative stake holders in the sector, and coming shortly after the recent national leadership retreat (Umwiherero), there is no doubt that implementation of key recommendations will be high on the agenda.

Poor or delayed implementation of government policies are usually the subject of the matter, and with the new pressure that comes with the National Strategy for Transformation, local leaders will have their plates full.

Even the performance contracts (Imihigo) will be based on that strategy; it will no longer be about meeting targets, but their transformational nature among the population.

With the government’s sights set firmly on developing the manufacturing sector –the success of the flagship “Made in Rwanda” campaign needs a bottom-up approach. But that will not happen if the welfare of the local population is not well looked after.

That Transparency International Rwanda chapter will also be in attendance speaks volumes on the importance of being vigilant. It will brief the gathering on the state of corruption in the local government, which in previous years was very much present in the lower administrative levels.

Good governance comes with many barometres and straying from the set path comes with much grief for the country as a whole. So those attending the retreat should do so with the knowledge that they hold the key to this country’s future.

Leadership is a calling that needs commitment, not sitting behind big desks and basking in the limelight. This country has no shortage of young bright minds, it is just that they are sometimes distracted, so frequent national meetings like the retreat serves to whip them back in line before they go too much astray.


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