Senators want local govt councillors better facilitated

Rwanda Governance Board Secretary General Edward Kalisa addresses the senatorial Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance in Kigali yesterday. Sam Ngendahimana.

Senators yesterday called for increased facilitation and capacity building for local government councillors across the country to help them better fulfil their responsibilities.

The call was made as members of the Senatorial Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance met officials at Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) yesterday.

The MPs shared ideas on the committee’s findings when it comes to the performance of local government councils and their challenges.

Vice President of  the Senatorial Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance Gerturde Kazarwa speaks during the meeting (Sam Ngendahimana)

Senator Gertrude Kazarwa, who is the Vice President of the committee, said that many district councillors claimed that mayors and vice-mayors should be accountable for everything that happens in districts because they are the ones who receive facilitation.

Senator Marie Claire Mukasine agreed, explaining that most citizens say that they are governed by district and sector officials instead of their councillors.

Rwanda Governance Board Secretary General Edward Kalisa addresses  the Senatorial Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance yesterday (Sam Ngendahimana)

She explained that dissemination of decisions made during the local meetings of councillors and citizens are done but some citizens don’t read those decisions as much as they should.

Also councillors are often not recognised during government ceremonies and considered during the time of problems yet they need to be considered, the senator said.

The senators also indicated that there is an issue at the sector level whereby the Executive Secretary of the Sector is appointed instead of being elected by sector residents.

“Some citizens feel that the leader of the sector, basically the executive secretary, should be elected by sector residents,” said senator Mukasine.

Senator Marie Claire Mukasine gives her comment during meeting

According to RGB findings from its assessment on the performance of local councils, it was confirmed that there are challenges that need solutions.

RGB’s Secretary General, Edward Kalisa, said that councillors in local government entities and at all levels need continuous capacity building and facilitation for them to effectively discharge their responsibilities.

Senator Zéphyrin Kalimba advised that more focus needs to be put on providing local councillors with both resources and capacity building.

“Lack of equipment and lack of places where councillors can work from and a situation where some councillors lack time to fulfil their responsibilities remains a problem,” he said.

The Head of Governance, Service Delivery and Joint Action Development Forum (JADF) at RGB, Judith Kazaire, said that councillors, especially at lower levels, often lack skills and are financially constrained.

“We aim to work together to find sustainable solutions for these challenges,” Kazaire said.