KIGALI - The Minister of Agriculture has described as ‘total failure’ on the part of her ministry to ensure proper implementation of the Girinka project in which animals meant for poor families ended up in the hands of wrong beneficiaries.
“We cannot condemn local leaders for what happened, it is we at ministerial level who failed, right from our instructions and criteria defining who was to benefit from the program, up to the responsibility of following and monitoring the process. We failed, but we promise Rwandans that this will never happen again,” Agnes Kalibata, Minister for Agriculture said.
She admitted the mistakes at a press conference the minister called to give an update on how her ministry had handled the countrywide exercise to reclaim these animals previously given to wrong beneficiaries.
She said that the exercise had successfully been completed with about 98 percent of the cows returned.
‘Girinka’ is a program introduced by government to fight poverty by giving a cow to each poor family.
The Minister said the exercise recovered 20,123 cows and redistributed them to bona fide beneficiaries out of 20,532 that were meant to be returned.
“The exercise was completed successfully mainly due to the tight and effective partnership between all parties concerned, especially the local population and local leaders who were quick to understand and correct the mistakes initially committed,” the Minister said.
According to Kalibata, the major problem encountered in the exercise was the dilemma of poor local leaders who received cows but were later disqualified because they were leaders.
She was quick to mention that the exercise to compensate these leaders is underway as about 273 from eight districts have so far been compensated and this exercise is likely to cover over 4,000 poor local leaders countrywide.
Anomalies within the program came to the limelight during the 7th annual National Dialogue held in December last year, when it was discovered that most of the animals ended up in hands of well off families.