The converging in Kigali of Ombudsmen from ten African countries— as well as Sweden—is a vote of confidence, that Rwanda’s sustained fight against corruption and mismanagement has been noticed well beyond our borders.
The Office of the Ombudsman has played a critical role, tracking down on errant officials who would otherwise be tempted to misuse their positions to the detriment of the population.
Many cases have been highlighted where mismanagement, injustice and sheer corruption, would have eroded our society had the office not been in place.
This should spur us to jealously guard this institution’s independence and fully collaborate with it to make it more functional and productive.
The proposal to grant prosecutorial powers to the Office of the Ombudsman will be a step in the right direction if it materialises. The office has long been seen as a “recommendations” and “report filing” institution that could not bite: now all that will change.
This will usher in a new era because the fight against mismanagement and injustice will be subject to a multi-pronged attack and turn ours into an exemplary society that will be a beacon to all, especially other African nations.
The fight against Corruption and mismanagement will certainly be an uphill task in the short term, but it will ultimately turn out to be successful.
It is time to shed off this stigma, and hopefully, the Rwandan experience will guide other countries struggling to come to terms with the vice.