I would like to react to the story, “Behind resignation of district mayors” (The New Times, January 5).
President Kagame is very right concerning the way the performance contracts, commonly known as Imihigo, are evaluated.
Let’s take one example of artificial insemination in dairy farming.
District X sets a target to inseminate, say 90,000 cows, in a year. Rwanda Agricultural Board spends millions of francs to import expensive semen, sends it to a district and inseminators do their work and report 100% success in inseminating cows (90,000).
The district gets 100% marks and declared a top performer. However, had a better and more scientific method been used, things would be different.
For instance, conception rate (number of cows which became pregnant) and calving rate (number of cattle which produced a calf) are better performance indicators. If these benchmarks are used, the veterinarians will be put to task and will not cheat.
More important, the farmer and the nation will reap fruits and economic performance. That is why farmers have no confidence in artificial insemination and the nation loses money as number of inseminations done is meaningless compared to calves born.
RAB and districts should be put to task. The whole system is flawed and a better method should be adopted and this is just one of the many development indicators.
We need to change the way we evaluate districts on the Imihigo for effectiveness.
District leaders used to thrive on lies to achieve performance targets. Now the cat has been let out of the bag, why lie? Then we have those who shut peoples’ mouths when central government leaders visit.
What audacity does one have to gag those who want clarifications from the horse’s own mouth?
Defence mechanisms of mediocre leaders are unique but have so much in common. They set up mechanisms, strong and efficient to ensure no superior will ever reach their office and interact with subordinates. This is because they are aware some subordinates have something to prove.
These days there is a tool used by some leaders to gag subordinates. All staff “must” obey “administrative” and “communication” procedures.
Meaning anyone who communicates with a visiting leader to a local government office, has “used wrong communication channels” and therefore will be given a warning letter, if not a suspension or worse still dismissal from office.
This is the reason some citizens have been fighting raging battles with sector executive secretaries whenever the President visits local communities.