NYANZA - Provincial Governor, Fidele Ndayisaba, has said that the recently concluded retreat of local leaders in the Southern province was meant to give local leaders a new focus as they embark on programs to improve the socio-economic situation of the people they lead.
Last week, local leaders at sector, district and provincial levels were locked in a two-day retreat in Huye where they evaluated progress made in the execution of various government programs and chatted out ways of tackling the challenges they are faced with in their work.
“The retreat gave us an opportunity to evaluate ourselves as actors in the local government system,” said Ndayisaba. “It was an opportunity to forge partnerships and have a new focus on opportunities for development.”
The two day retreat ended with formulation of 35 resolutions among them the implementation of the crop intensification program and encouraging savings through the Umurenge Sacco saving and credit scheme.
“We have agreed to undertake two big projects in the coffee and tea sector which we hope will tremendously improve people’s livelihood in the districts of Huye and Nyamagabe,” the Governor said.
Under the coffee project, people in the areas between Huye and Nyamagabe district will be encouraged to grow coffee on their consolidated plots while tea is expected to be grown on around the Nyungwe belt that covers the district of Nyamagabe and Nyaruguru.
“We expect to fetch about Rwf 10 billion from coffee alone after a period of about two and a half years,” said the Governor. The project will involve local farmers and the Ministry of Agriculture.
In order for the local people to fully participate in the crop intensification program through land consolidation, the retreat resolved that villages set aside at least 5 Hectares of consolidated land where they will be able to cultivate a particular crop they agree on as a community. Cells will be expected to set aside 10 hectares of land which will act as a model for the rest of the community.
Local leaders in the retreat also agreed to a plan of beautifying towns and settlements in the Province. They agreed to planting appropriate trees with assistance from institutions like the Institute of Scientific and Technological research (IRST) and the Institute of Scientific and Agricultural research (ISAR).
Some district Mayors who talked to The New Times said the retreat was an important opportunity to tackle challenges to service delivery.
“The leaders left the retreat fully understanding what their responsibilities are,” said Francois Uhagaze, the Mayor of Huye district.
“They now know that it is not the Mayor who is supposed to handle all the work in the district. They have to perform their duties and make reports to the Mayor.”
Felix Sibomana, the Mayor of Nyaruguru, said that local leaders left the retreat with “a changed attitude and renewed commitment to serve the people”.