To make sure that performance is no joke in Rwanda, it has been imperative to have all leaders, from cell leaders to provincial governors, to sign some form of agreement with their respective superiors ensuring that good work will be done by those entrusted by the people to lead them.Now, the Ministry of Local Government wants to engage private citizens, specifically household heads, in the performance-contract culture.
More needs to be disclosed from the Ministry, and also from district and sector leaders on the details of the plan. Is it public-relations genius—which it is—or is it a serious proposal that could flip the nature of elected government so that citizens are held accountable by their leaders?
Good intentions are at the heart of the idea. What is holding Rwanda back, if anything, is not the leadership but rather the mass population. Rwanda is a heavy sack of maize and if you pull only from the top it is heavy to carry. The minister’s plan seeks to solve this problem, and that is by actively engaging families in development.
As Minister Protais Musoni correctly points out, the family has always been the most basic unit of organisation in human society and has been the primary protein and building block of modern governance. In Genocides throughout the world—Germany, Rwanda, Cambodia—a signature of those trying to destroy a country has been the destruction of the family.
In order for Rwanda to succeed in any real sense, the importance and cohesion of the family unit must be reinstated. Parents need to learn primarily that children are not tools to their economic advantage. They do not replace machines in the field; neither do they count as cattle to be traded during marriage.
Reinstating the integrity and power of the family in this society and government is the way forward in Rwanda. This should and will be accomplished through sensitisation campaigns, family-size laws and the development and dissemination of technology.
Holding families, some as isolated as can be from urban and modern sensitivities, to legally-binding contracts, is a fine idea but not necessarily a fine programme.