EDITORIAL: Errant leaders should be named and shamed

Rwandan authorities have been in the habit of handing out polite sackings of public officials. They are usually given an honourable exit of resigning “for personal reasons” even if they have been forced out.

While that practice helps in “saving face” for the affected officials, sometimes the severity of the sacked person’s offences need to be made public. That is what Musanze District Advisory Council did when it publicly sacked the Mayor and his two deputies.

It gave reasons as follows; the Mayor was under investigation over suspicion of corruption over some shady public tenders.

One of the deputies is under arrest awaiting trial for battering his wife, while the other’s sins were so petty but they brought disrepute to the office; she had defaulted on her rent and refused to transfer ownership of the vehicle she had sold.

That was nothing more than abuse of office, she had defied the principals of leadership. Some local leaders tend to carry themselves around as demi-gods, they feel untouchable, so it does well to bring them down to earth once in a while. First of all to show that the government does not condone impunity, secondly, to send a message that there are no sacred cows.

Local leaders serve the public and are accountable to them, so there is no need to sanitise their sins with the “personal reason” tag; they should be named and shamed because betraying the trust of those who put them in office, whether elected or appointed, should be the last thing on their minds and actions.

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