Corruption undermining Ubudehe gains – officials

Ubudehe beneficiaries after receiving cows from the Girinka programme in Muhanga District. Emmanuel Kwizera.

The government and civil society organisations are keen to lay out a plan to strengthen the participation of citizens in establishing their real categories under the Ubudehe social stratification.

The officials disclosed this on Thursday during a one-day policy dialogue aimed at gathering views on how to make Ubudehe programme more effective.

While the programme is seen as a handy tool for planning for policymakers, participants pointed out that corruption involving local leaders was threatening to erode its benefits.

“The purpose of Ubudehe categories was very good. But, the system was later corrupted, with people who have the ability to offer bribes to local leaders being given priority to access some social protection services such as loans (financial services)  under Vision Umurenge Programme,” said Ziporah Muligo Mujawingoma, Second Vice President of Rwanda Civil Society Platform.

He singled out the one-cow-per family programme (Girinka) as one of the initiatives where corruption is rampant.

“People should know that when they have been supported to graduate from poverty, they should sustain the gains,” she said, adding that there should be follow-up to know whether people have progressed or regressed and identify the underlying factors

Citizens should own this programme so that they are placed in categories that match their economic status, she suggested.

Appolinaire Mupiganyi, the Executive Secretary of Transparency International Rwanda, said that some economically able people were giving bribes in order to secure tuition fees and livestock benefits, which are meant for people in the first and second categories of Ubudehe.

Mupiganyi says that quite often the wrongdoers are not punished.

Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the Minister for Local Government, also pointed out that  some most vulnerable people do not receive the support they are entitled to.

“What we want is to put all our resources to good use such that no one is excluded. The yield is gotten through lifting people out of poverty,” he said.

Going forward, the minister said, the community should own the categorisation process from the very beginning to following up on the interventions by the Government.

He said that in the next three years of Ubudehe, citizens will be consulted and report on cases of abuse of the programme.

This month the Government will begin public consultation on which categories to introduce or eliminate from Ubudehe.

The minister said consultations with citizens could take about three weeks.

Ubudehe categories are revised every three years. The current ones were established during the exercise of 2015.