RE: “University of Rwanda faulted over latest reforms” (The New Times, September 15).
If there is one cultural norm Rwanda has been putting in so much effort to institutionalise in the RPF era, it is dialogue and democratic consultations. And then, we wake up to such extreme restructuring of our primary institution of higher learning decided on and imposed unilaterally by its leadership without even the most perfunctory of consultations with stakeholders.
As I have frequently underlined here, I support the right of managers to take decisions needed to advance the mission of their institutions. Without the authority to take such decisions—even the most unpopular—managers would be hobbled and reduced to merely warming up their executive seats, drawing generous pay packages, but really not delivering on their organisations’ real goals. But such decision-making must be made within the parameters of what is accepted as institutionally legitimate.
And in the case of these wholesale changes that affect the fundamental interests of the core stakeholders of the University of Rwanda — state, students, faculty, communities within which the various campuses are located, business, etc. — so extensively, it is clear that, at a minimum, their input into the decision for these changes should have been canvassed and given some consideration.
As it is now, it will be hard for the decision to garner the requisite popular legitimacy UR needs for its long-term viability.
When will our Ivory Tower denizens learn that, as that African proverb tells us: If you want to go fast, yes, by all means go alone; but if you want to go far, go together!