The government is conducting a comprehensive audit into the performance of Girinka programme, with view to ascertaining the real impact of the pro-poor scheme but also investigating the magnitude of reported malpractices in the 10-year old scheme.
Initiated by President Paul Kagame as a social protection programme designed to help the poor move above the poverty line and, by extension, impact the country’s economy, Girinka (one-cow-per-family) has since transformed the lives of many, with more than 230,000 cows already distributed to individual households nationwide.
With a target of donating a cow to a total of 350,000 households by the end of 2017, the programme has received considerable support from government, private sector, well-wishers and the public, in general, and testimonies of how it has helped transform lives have not been in short supply.
However, over the years it increasingly became clear that the programme was being abused by some people in charge of identifying bona fide beneficiaries, by giving the cows to either friends or family members that ideally did not meet the eligibility criteria.
Some beneficiaries have also seen their cows either stolen or killed by a few haters keen to sabotage the programme or wish ill on the poor recipients.
Whatever reasons behind the alleged mismanagement or any other misdeeds related to the Girinka programme, the ongoing audit must get to the bottom of it all with view to establishing the truth of the matter and holding those linked to any efforts to sabotage the scheme to account.
In particular, leaders past and present, especially at the grassroots, who did nothing to prevent or minimize any abuse, let alone being complicit in these ignominious acts, must be held answerable.
This would ensure that the programme achieves its ultimate goal.
Above all, we must draw valuable lessons from the experience of the Girinka scheme to ensure that future socio-economic programmes yield the best possible results.