The participation of citizens in governance issues registered minimal improvement over the last one year, according to the 5th Rwanda Governance Scorecard (RGS).
Based on Rwanda Governance Board (RGB)’s report, at 65.63 per cent, Citizen Participation is among the least improving aspect of the 37 indicators in the Rwanda Governance Scorecard 2018 survey.
This means that there’s need to improve citizen participation in the development process, community transformation and accountability as well as deepening community consultations at the grassroots level, according to the survey.
The highlights of the pillars and indicators in the scorecard in comparison to their performance in the 4th edition indicates that two pillars, namely control of corruption, transparency, and accountability as well as participation and inclusiveness, recorded a decrease of -2.84 per cent and -0.22 per cent respectively.
Rule of Law, and Safety and Security are the most improved pillars with 4 per cent and 2.35 per cent respectively.
The RGS was created to offer a research-based policy tool to accurately gauge the status and trends of the most important aspects of governance in the country and has become a national governance index that informs the policy-making process.
Eight pillars are gauged under the scorecard. They include rule of law; political rights and civil liberties; participation and inclusiveness, safety and security, investing in human and social development, control of corruption, transparency and accountability, quality of service delivery, and economic and corporate governance.
For instance, the participation and inclusiveness pillar combines several indicators including citizen participation, decentralisation, civil society participation, gender equality in leadership, and power sharing.
While several indicators performed well, the citizen participation indicator is still struggling to match the progress registered by the rest.
The survey indicates that 48.90 per cent of citizens are satisfied with their participation in Imihigo planning while 45.50 per cent of citizens expressed satisfaction in their participation in decision making.
“The pillar of participation and inclusiveness has continously but minimally increased over the years when compared with the other pillars,” the report states, adding that, “citizen participation is the least improving indicator of the 8 indicators measured”.
However, the score has not experienced any fluctuations in its performance throughout the editions.
The report recommends efforts to effectively engage civil society organisations and private sector to play their rightful role in the national transformation agenda.
It also recommends to scale up efforts to continue raising the level of citizens’ participation in planning, budgeting and district Imihigo (performance contracts) and accountability processes.
In addition, the report proposes continued sensitisation of women and strengthening their capacity to take an active role in decision-making organs, especially in local government.
In comparison to the 4th edition, the participation and inclusiveness pillar recorded a decrease of 0.22 per cent from 76.48 to 76.79 per cent in the 5th edition of Rwanda Governance Scorecard. Control of corruption, transparency, and accountability also registered a decline of 2.84 per cent from 86.56 to 83.72 per cent.
On the other hand, Economic and Corporate Governance increased by 1.22 per cent from 76.82 to 78.04 per cent. Investing in human and social development improved by 0.67 per cent from 74.88 to 75.55 per cent.
Political rights and civil liberties increased by 2 per cent from 81.83 to 83.83 per cent. Quality of service delivery improved by 1.32 per cent from 72.93 per cent to 74.25 per cent
Rule of Law registered an improvement of 4 per cent from 79.68 per cent to 83.68 per cent.
Safety and Security increased by 2.35 per cent, from 92.62 per cent to 94.97 per cent.
What they say about the scorecard
Johnston Busingye, Minister for Justice
Rwanda Governance Scorecard is a mirror through which we gauge our efforts and commit to do more and better in areas that are lagging behind.
Berna Namata, journalist
We need to acknowledge that improving citizen participation is progressive and the Government is making deliberate steps to improve it as it is a fundamental way to empower citizens. In recent years, the media industry has benefited from a set of policy reforms that are expected to improve citizen participation. For instance, there is evidence in the report that access to information by citizens is generally improving though more needs to be done to empower citizens as well as the media to effectively make use of the law.
Fodé Ndiaye, the UN Resident Coordinator
It is good that RGB has set up such a tool to foster sustainable development in Rwanda, which should be emulated across Africa.
There’s need to look at the areas that are not performing well, such as citizen participation and the role of vibrant civil society, and establish reasons why they are not performing well and what can be done to address that. Recommendations are there to be implemented.
Khabele Matlosa, Director for Political Affairs, Africa Union Commission
The Government of Rwanda has to start strengthening its partnership with none-state actors, including the civil society. In some instances, there is also need to cede some responsibilities that are traditionally governmental to these non-state actors; avail resources and make it easy for to civil society institutions, academia and media to avail information to citizens.