Graft fight: Local leaders challenged to do more

While the government works with partners to stem corruption and related offences and ensure citizens get quality services, there is still need for collaboration to address such issues, especially at the grassroots.
L-R: Appolinaire Mupinganyi, the Executive Director TIR, and Clement Musangabatware, Deputy Ombudsman, follow the presentation during the meeting. Sam Ngendahimana.
L-R: Appolinaire Mupinganyi, the Executive Director TIR, and Clement Musangabatware, Deputy Ombudsman, follow the presentation during the meeting. Sam Ngendahimana.

While the government works with partners to stem corruption and related offences and ensure citizens get quality services, there is still need for collaboration to address such issues, especially at the grassroots.

Clément Musangabatware, the deputy Ombudsman in charge of preventing and fighting corruption, made the remarks, yesterday, while responding to a report by Transparency International Rwanda, that faults local leaders for being reluctant to address citizens’ issues in ten districts of the country.

According to Transparency International Rwanda, a total of 6,957 complaints related to injustice and corruption were recorded in ten districts of the country.

The figures were recorded by Transparency International Rwanda’s advocacy and legal advice and anticorruption justice and information centres.

They were released yesterday at a meeting convened in Kigali to discuss the progress of activities performed by the two centres.

The advocacy centres operate in the districts of Rusizi, Kayonza, Huye, Musanze, Rubavu as well as in the City of Kigali, while the anti-corruption centres operate in Gatsibo, Gakenke, Nyaruguru and Ngororero districts, according to officials.

The centres gather complaints from citizens and conduct advocacy for their resolution.

 This is done through sensitisation by informing citizens about their rights and obligations, providing legal advice, advocacy as well as sensitisation of local leaders about their obligations and laws in place.

The complaints were recorded between January to October this year.

Transparency International Rwanda’s advocacy and legal advice centres received 4,484 complaints (64 per cent) while the anticorruption centres received 2,473 complaints (36 per cent).

The complaints received relate to civil matters, which represent 15 per cent, family issues with 14 per cent, land issues 13 per cent, execution of court judgments 11 per cent while judicial cases represent 10 per cent.

It was noted local leaders are still doing little to address issues related to solving problems affecting families, leaving hundreds of unsolved problems.

Announcing the figures, officials said there is need for collaborative efforts to avert the trend that can hinder socio-economic development.

“We need strong partnership and commitment not only on government side but also civil society and the population as well to eradicate corruption and related offences. With complementarity and synergy among institutions, we will get tangible results,” said Musangabatware.

Appolinaire Mupiganyi, the executive director of Transparency International Rwanda, said most of the complaints received are family and land related.

“These figures are alarming and serve as a reminder that we have a lot to do, services are not offered as it should be and citizens are ignored when they seek services. There are cases of corruption behind this and it is clear that we still have a long way to go to address citizens’ concerns,” he added.

He said that what is good was that the report was done at individual level, adding that it had been noted that most of the issues were solved by concerned institutions when raised.

“We believe that these activities address those issues because some people are either not aware of their rights or have no means to follow up,” Mupiganyi said.

He said that Transparency International Rwanda would extend the centres’ activities to other districts.

The meeting highlighted other challenges reported by some residents such as covering long distances to access services, and few legal mobile clinics for mobilisation against corruption.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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