Over 300 senior leaders from central government, local government and the private sector started the 12th National Leadership Retreat (Umwiherero), yesterday with a call on leaders to foster accountability.
The meeting started with discussions under the theme “Leaders’ accountability – Rethinking the government’s approach to delivery” chaired by Prime Minister Anastase Murekezi. Other members of the panel discussion included Johnston Busingye (Minister of Justice), Stella Mugabo Ford (Minister in charge of Cabinet Affairs), Ambassador James Kimonyo, Juvenal Nkusi from the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee and Sheikh Hassan Bahame, the Mayor of Rubavu.
In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Murekezi called on participants to use the retreat to discuss key challenges and achievements, reminding them that it is time for them to renew their commitment to improve the welfare of Rwandans.
“We will no longer tolerate any behaviours or malpractices that hinder our country’s development and its citizen’s welfare,” Murekezi said.
The panel discussed delayed projects and issues in some sectors - from infrastructure and agriculture to citizen centred development programmes such as Girinka and Vision 2020 Umurenge (VUP).
The leaders identified barriers to government service delivery including poor planning, lack of ownership, poor reporting, delays in implementation, corruption, and negligence among others.
They also identified measures to overcome these challenges, while at the same time fast tracking development.
Mugabo noted that there is need for leaders to embrace efficiency and time keeping. “We need to report on time. Let’s efficiently use the existing reporting methods we have available to us,” Mugabo said
Busingye called for the need to put more efforts into accountability mechanisms to curb corruption and any abuse of power.
On the issue of leaders whose actions cost government money in losses, Nkusi said they should take responsibility for their actions. “People should fully own their responsibilities, avoid unnecessary delays during the implementation of projects and those who cause government losses should be severely punished,” said Nkusi.
Earlier in the day, the leaders joined residents of Gatsibo and Nyagatare districts for Umuganda (community work).
In Nyagatare, the leaders built houses for Rwandans who were evicted from Tanzania while in Gatsibo; they planted trees as part of the country’s forestation programme.
After the community work, leaders and locals held discussions on how best to foster accountability.
The meeting heard that of the 43 resolutions from last year’s retreat, 30 (70%) were fully implemented, 12 (28%) were partially implemented while one resolution is off-track.