EDITORIAL: When resignation is the best option

FOR SOME years now, the government has used Imihigo, or performance contracts, as the yardstick to measure performance levels, especially at the grassroots.

FOR SOME years now, the government has used Imihigo, or performance contracts, as the yardstick to measure performance levels, especially at the grassroots.

Imihigo, while not rocket science but rather a set of action points and corresponding performance indicators, has become an ideal avenue through which to foster accountable governance, and one of the most successful home-grown mechanisms in post-Genocide Rwanda.

Through Imihigo, citizens have been empowered to follow closely what their leaders do on day-to-day basis in a bid to develop and transform their respective communities.

At the beginning of every financial year, mayors present new performance targets for the next one year after which a meticulous evaluation exercise is undertaken and districts ranked accordingly.

Now, certain districts have consistently performed poorly vis-à-vis their own annual development targets under the Imihigo framework, thus ranking poorly in the subsequent yearly national evaluation exercise.

They include Gasabo, Gatsibo and Rwamagana. While there are different factors – some unforeseen and unavoidable – that can understandably result in poor performance, leadership is one of the important factors that people will always look at.

In the case of the three districts, after several years of lacklustre performance, it was concluded that change in leadership could be the lasting solution to the slow pace of development in the districts. The leaders there, thus needed to make a decision, either hang on and risk further embarrassment, including possible vote of no confidence, or step down and allow citizens to choose more capable leaders.

The mayors of Gatsibo and Rwamagana districts are the latest to take the right decision; stepping down. They threw in the towel yesterday, citing continued dismal performance under Imihigo, with Gatsibo having ranked last in the 30 districts countrywide and Rwamagana second-bottom in the 2013/14 Imihigo. The same was the case in Gasabo a month ago when the mayor and both his deputies threw in the towel.

Four mayors have stepped down in the last three months, including Kirehe’s, who resigned after exhibiting conduct unbecoming of a leader.

In leadership, the best thing to do when things aren’t going your way because of sheer  incompetence or other distractions, is to quit and allow the people to choose those they deem capable of taking them to the next level. Leaders are there to serve the people and there is no reason why one should cling on when they are unable to meet people’s expectations.

It’s now upon the residents of Gatsibo and Rwamagana to vote for new leaders who they really think will make a difference in people’s lives and their respective districts.

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