Eastern province leaders tipped on citizen engagement in leadership

Local leaders in the Eastern Province were Wednesday advised that good leadership was allowing people to participate in development programmes that aim at transforming their lives.
Eastern Province local leaders and development partners follow proceedings during the meeting in Nyagatare District. (Frederic Byumvuhore)
Eastern Province local leaders and development partners follow proceedings during the meeting in Nyagatare District. (Frederic Byumvuhore)

Local leaders in the Eastern Province were Wednesday advised that good leadership was allowing people to participate in development programmes  that aim at transforming their lives.

The call was made during a Policy Dialogue on Citizen Engagement and Service Delivery that took place in Nyagatare District.

 

The one-day workshop,  which was organised by Rwanda Governance Board, in partnership with the Eastern Province, brought together development partners from the province, mayors, district councilors, Joint Action Forum (JAF) members and citizen representatives.

 

 It was held under the theme: “Fostering good governance for sustainable development.”

 

 Odette Uwamariya, the Eastern Province Governor, challenged local and development partners to work closely and to engage the people they lead in development plans.

“The achievements that the country celebrates today were not from the efforts of leaders only but also in the strengths of citizens. Our vision is good and is so expensive; to achieve it requires a lot of efforts,” She said.

 Changing mindsets

 “People should also change their mindsets and know that their needs will only be met if they intervene in the planning and implementation of development programmes, “she noted.

She said they spent a lot of money on electricity distribution, adding that half the budget was used to compensate lands where cables pass. She said people should rethink their role in supporting the government.

On why no district in the Eastern Province appeared among the ten best performing districts during last fiscal year’s Imihigo, Uwamariya said position should not be an issue but the marks the districts scored.

 “There is no big difference in the marks. We do not focus on position but we evaluate our achievements in performance that bring change.

 We faced drought in the province though I cannot use it as an excuse.” she said.

Ownership and partnership

 Amb. Fatuma Ndangiza, the deputy chief executive of Rwanda Governance Board in charge of Governance Promotion and Decentralisation, said local leaders needed to work closely for maximum impact.

She noted that the plans would only be successful if citizens participate in decision making and finding solutions to their problems.

Ndangiza asked leaders to focus on modern settlements, electricity and water distribution during the ‘‘good governance’’ month.

 “Leadership means improving the people’s welfare. By 2018, at least 70% households will have electricity. Currently, it is about 24%. We still have people residing in high risk areas which causes problems during the rainy season,” she said.

 “Development partners have the ability to bring significant change but all of these need citizens’ participation. Some years ago, citizens played a crucial role in the construction of classrooms. Rwanda Governance Board assessed and found that 60% of the works were done by the people,” she said.

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