Five districts elected new mayors, yesterday, following by-elections that were held to fill the positions that have been vacant.
All the five districts have been with no mayors since the flurry of resignations late last year, where some ended up being arrested over suspected crimes committed while in office.
Whereas some attributed their resignation to personal reasons, others said that they had failed to deliver on their mandate.
The new mayors elected yesterday are; Francois Ndayisaba of Karongi, Aime Phabien Kamali of Nyamasheke, and Frederic Harelimana of Rusizi.
Others are Richard Gasana and Regis Mudaheranwa for Gatsibo and Rwamagana districts, respectively.
“All these elected leaders were sworn in to immediately assume their offices and will serve until the next local elections scheduled in March 2016,” said Charles Munyaneza, the Executive Secretary of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
According to NEC, the supervised the process, the average voter turnout was over 85 per cent.
The electorate comprises members of the district council who are drawn for all the sectors within a district.
Speaking to The New Times, Gatsibo’s new mayor acknowledged that the resignation of the district leaders created disharmony between the people, which he said could be a major stumbling block towards development.
“It is a matter of time; we will try to bridge the gap by uniting people that have been divided by the recent mayoral resignation,” said Gasana, who formerly served as the Executive Secretary for Nyamagabe Sector, in Nyamagabe District.
The former Mayor of Gatsibo, Ambrose Ruboneza resigned in December together with the president of the District Advisory Council, Innocent Munyaneza, after the district continued to emerge among the last in implementing its performance contract, a major barometer for local government performance.
Wilson Rutayisire was elected unopposed as Chairperson of District Council. He currently works as Manager CSS Kanombe Branch in the City of Kigali.
Théogen Manzi was elected as the new Gastibo vice-mayor in charge of economic affairs.
In Rwamagana, Abdoul Karim Uwizeyimana, the former headmaster of Rwamagana Islamic School was elected as mayor, after he won a tightly contested poll with 192 out of 318 votes, while his rival Dieudonne Kayitare, got 120 votes.
The new mayor replaces Nehime Uwimana, who also resigned in December over what he said was failure to deliver what he pledged to do according to the performance contract. Rwamagana was last year ranked 29 out the 30 districts in the country.
At the same time, Regis Mudaheranwa, former Executive Secretary of Ndera Sector in Gasabo District was elected as the vice mayor in charge of economic affairs, replacing Francis Mutiganda who also stepped down.
Uwizeyimana said he will put much emphasis on listening to the people’s needs before making any decisions, saying that the mistake most leaders make is to think for the people they represent.
“It’s high time we stopped thinking for the electorate, we will engage them in all our activities. I will therefore be guided by the principle that puts the people who voted for us above anything else,” he said.
The Governor of Eastern province Odette Uwamariya, thanked the elected leaders, but said they had to live to the expectations of the electorate.
“You have won the confidence of the people, who today put their trust in you as their leaders. You are therefore indebted to them and have to work as a team,” she said.
François Ndayisaba was elected new Karongi mayor. He replaces Bernard Kayumba who resigned last month citing personal reasons.
Ndayisaba, 38, won 240 out of 256 votes representing 93.6 per cent.
Prior to his appointment as mayor, he was the executive secretary of Gitesi Sector.
Speaking to The New Times after his election, he said he was committed to serving the district he was elected to lead.
“It is with great pleasure to get confidence by all the advisors representing over 300,000 people of Karongi District, but this also translates into very demanding duties to deliver to their expectations,” he said.
The Karongi District Advisory Council chairperson, Emile Nsanzabaganwa, said: “Among his good traits, he is known to loath any form of injustice. He is also an expert in economic development and this should be leveraged to boost the welfare of people of this district.”
Ndayisaba has been working in Karongi in 2006 as the executive secretary of Rwankuba Sector, then was transferred to Gashari Sector, then Mubuga Sector and was recently the executive Secretary of Gitesi Sector.
In Nyamasheke District, Aime Fabien Kamali was elected to replace former mayor Jean Baptiste Habyarimana, who resigned after an audit implicated him in a case of mismanaging people’s contributions towards the Community Health Insurance – Mutuelle de Sante.
In Rusizi District, Western Province, Fredric Harelimana was elected to replace Oscar Nzeyimana is also facing charges over mismanagement of the community based health insurence scheme–Mutuelle de Sante.