Today is the second day of 2008. As we congratulate each other and thank God for safely crossing into the New Year, we must clearly lay out what we need this year at both the individual and collective level.
Mayors are among the Rwandans who have already identified what their district needs are, and how they intend to achieve them over the next 12 months.
Just before the close of 2007, mayors presented their action plans or performance contracts for this year and vowed to implement them all.
During the national dialogue held shortly before the sun set on the previous year, it was observed that through performance contracts (Imihigo), communities were becoming better off by the day. Going by what was presented during the national dialogue, it is easy to conclude that at least 80 percent of the plans underlined in previous contracts were achieved. That means that more Rwandans today access clean water, healthcare, schools, markets for their produce and have security.
The introduction of district budgets should avail local governments with the necessary resources to implement this year’s contracts. There should be regular review, perhaps quarterly, to assess the implementation process of performance contracts, so that districts can adjust accordingly.
Such reviews would also help address contingencies without harming development programmes. That the government has started to recognise districts that have excelled in putting into practice their performance contracts is a welcome move. Such a practice will encourage the spirit of competition among districts, which will ultimately translate into the improvement of quality of life in the whole country.
Let’s all aim at executing this year’s commitments made by our mayors. This requires us to work hard and to be efficient in our respective tasks. The contracts are not for mayors; they are made for us, so we should gladly contribute to their successful completion.
That is what decentralisation is all about. \