The Minister for Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, has called on local leaders in Musanze District to put public interest above their own.
Addressing over 500 local leaders at the end of a two-day retreat in Musanze District, on Monday, the minister called on the local leaders to work closely with residents and always consult them on development projects.
“To be a leader means to be a servant of citizens, local leaders should respect and listen to citizens and seek advice from them from time to time,” he said.
Kaboneka challenged Musanze leaders to change their mindset and work together as a team other than working individually, saying this would help fast-track development in the district.
Musanze was ranked 26th out of the 30 districts countrywide in the evaluation of the 2013/14 performance contracts (Imihigo), but the minister said the district would perform far better if leaders were pulling in the same direction, with the direct involvement of the residents.
“As leaders we have to respect each other and value and care for citizens we represent, we have to be guided by discipline and never act the way we think without consulting each other. Let’s be accountable and know that citizens have the right to hold us accountable,” he said.
He urged local leaders in the district to shun vices such as binge drinking and corruption.
The local leaders recommitted to working in the interest of those they lead and to working as a team through timely sharing of information and coordination.
“It was a great opportunity for me to be here, as a village leader I heard that I should be responsible and accountable to the citizens. I learnt that I need to work with my committee and report timely to my superiors,” said Celestin Ntawukiriraho, from Mutuzo village in Nkotsi sector.
Musanze mayor Winifirde Mpembyemungu said the retreat was fruitful. “We were not performing as we should; we were not working together as a team. However, we have learnt a lot from the retreat and recommitted to serving the people better and to work together as responsible leaders.”