THE MINISTER for Local Government, Francis Kaboneka, has urged local leaders to work hard and serve citizens to their maximum ability if the country is to achieve its desired socio-economic development.
The minister made the remarks, on Wednesday, while launching the Governance Month in Shyira Sector, Nyabihu District.
The national launch brought together hundreds of residents from Nyabihu, Gakenke, and Muhanga districts.
Also in attendance were local public officials, members of civil society organisations and the private sector.
The main activities during the Month will focus on citizen participation and self-reliance campaigns, whereby officials from local and central government will meet citizens in order to discuss strategies to increase access to electricity for every able household to strive to be connected, according to officials.
They also said that a fundraising campaign among district development partners will be conducted in order to set up a rural electrification strategy for low income households to eradicate the use of kerosene and other forms of ‘unhealthy’ fuels.
Citizens will be sensitised on their participation in promoting decent housing and access to electricity by using off-grid sources.
Kaboneka told the residents and local leaders that the peace, security and the development the country has registered so far should not be taken for granted but rather should be the driving force to fasttrack socio-economic development.
He noted that achieving further socio-economic development requires everyone’s efforts, including citizens, civil society, private sector, among others.
The minister challenged local leaders to play their rightful role in addressing citizens’ concerns as well as rallying them behind development programmes.
The event also featured interaction sessions with citizens.
‘Many unresolved issues’
It was realised that many citizens still have many issues unsolved, ranging from land related conflicts and arrears from contractors, to health insurance (Mutuelle de Santé) subscription, and Ubudehe stratification, among others.
Kaboneka tasked local leaders to give more attention to citizen issues.
“Local leaders are encouraged to address citizens' problems, and offer better services while working with them to fasttrack the village settlements programme, access to electricity and other economic development initiatives,” he said.
“There are people who complain because they have serious issues that need to be addressed and others who raise them because they have just met officials. But there are also leaders who fear their responsibilities, but the time has come to deliver.”
Kaboneka challenged citizens to work hard to be self-reliant, adding that Rwanda would only be self reliant if citizens play their role.
“Don’t be slaves of dependency, let’s work hard for self-reliance, let’s dignify ourselves and our country,” he added.
Local leaders and parents were also challenged to fight malnutrition, school dropouts, poor hygiene as the three are a hindrance to development.
Citizens were also urged to fight all vices that plague their communities such as corruption, injustice, among others, seen as a barrier to good governance and development.
Prof. Anastase Shyaka, Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) chief executive, said, this time, Governance Month will engage citizens on their own development and solving own problems through self-reliance campaigns, which he said should be taken to greater heights.
He said citizens, councillors from the cell to the district levels, and local leaders should work together to achieve national development.
“Let's all play a role in development and ensure that we all work together if we want to have access to electricity, better infrastructure,” Shyaka said.
Citizens said Governance Month offers an opportunity for them to interact with leaders and have their concerns addressed.
“We are happy that we have the opportunity to talk to our leaders face to face and raise some issues so they can be addressed, there are issues which local leaders do not solve until we meet central government officials who order them to help us. I am hopeful my problem will be solved during the campaign,” Venantie Nyirahabimana, a resident with unresolved land issues, said.