The newly installed mayors and their deputies clearly have their work cut out. They have a heavy challenge to restore their constituencies lost trust.
The National Electoral Commission, the residents and the voters, who in this case were councilors, need guarantees that their time was not wasted this time round by taking part in the election.
We don’t need to waste more space in this newspaper highlighting the many local leaders who have been interdicted or resigned due to mismanagement of public funds.
Rather, I will take the opportunity to ask them, “now that you are mayors, what shall you do for us”?
The mayors and the rest of their deputies should not expect a smooth ride from us. Members of the District Advisory Council, who act as watchdogs, and the local government ministry have the responsibility of ensuring that the new leaders do not fall in the same trap that swallowed their predecessors.
The mayors have more responsibility because any contravention of the constituent’s expectations, where implementing certain policies is concerned, will not be tolerated. People expect their leaders to tackle their most pressing issues.
As the government’s representatives Rwandans in the countryside, just like those in urban centres, expect nothing but development initiatives that will raise their economic statuses.
People are tired of poverty and poor roads, which frustrate their efforts to sell their farm produce at reasonable prices. This all the while, middlemen earn exorbitant profits because they have access to big markets.
Residents must not feel as if they are alienated as a result of the wide income gaps. The new leaders must bear in mind that poverty breeds discontent and conflicts.
Unless you, the leaders, solve the people’s problems, you will face an uphill task of leading a discontented group.
People’s most pressing priorities are identified under the poverty eradication programme of Ubudehe -which are supposed to be implemented. Since the projects are chosen by residents themselves, they should act as the guide.
Though, you can even move beyond the core known pillars of performance contracts.Reports of nepotism that leaders give jobs to their relatives or close friends are extremely painful.
This is especially so because it comes just at a time when Rwandans continue to internalise the implications of alleged embezzlement reports, which have soiled the reputation of districts.
Favouritism in job placements and unfair sacking definitely leaves the families of affected people in despair and it beats the notion of equal access to opportunities based on merit.
The election of the new leaders has coincided with government’s announcement of the new appointment of the Police and Prisons bosses. The police have previously been accused of corruption.
And recent protest by inmates in Rusizi also places the prisons in the spotlight. To the public, the government’s commitment of zero tolerance to corruption should be upheld. And for new prisons boss, inmates especially suspects also need to enjoy their rights.
The writer is a journalist with The New Times