Over the last two decades, Rwanda has made several strides in good governance, citizen participation, transparency and accountability as well as in public affairs management.
Transparency in management of public affairs has inspired citizens’ confidence in their government, while efforts in fighting corruption intensified.
If anyone believed that Rwandans fight corruption to please anybody else, the reality proves otherwise. Good governance and fighting corruption are in national interest.
Any country can only deliver and prosper if it has a well educated citizenry, skilled labour force, accountable leadership, and strong institutions that ensure equal rights and opportunities amongst the population.
Back in 2016, the Government of Rwanda introduced a recruitment platform in the public sector, dubbed e-recruitment, which was fully backed by legal instruments and enforcement mechanisms.
The system came with a series of innovations and has generally transformed the recruitment process in the country.
At the launch, officials said that the new system would process jobseekers’ application documents online, facilitate an effective recruitment and selection process, timely, effective and transparent selection of public servants and ease the reporting process to relevant authorities.
In addition, the system allows for online continuous interaction between the applicant and the hiring institution up to placement notification.
The system has since facilitated access to information in recruitment process and it proved to be cost effective at the end.
Jobseekers are no longer required to make long trips to submit their application letters or buy copies of newspapers to get information about job vacancies.
E-recruitment has equally contributed towards transparency and accountability with less physical contact in the recruitment process.
Any complaints about recruitment are logged and handled online, which has reduced frustration and minimised loopholes for corruption tendencies, whose incidence tends to be escalated by constant human interaction.
However, we still need to iron out a few issues in this sector.
The Presidential Order, No 144/01 of 13/4/2017, determining modalities for recruitment, appointment and nomination of public servants applies to public servants governed by general statutes for public service and public servants governed by special statutes where those statutes do not provide for special recruitment procedures.
According to the Order, the recruitment exam may be prepared and conducted in three official languages.
If the exam is prepared in a language other than Kinyarwanda, it must be prepared in both French and English to enable a candidate to choose the language to use.
In several cases, this provision is not followed and it becomes not only frustrating for the candidates, and also impinges on their rights.
Such malpractices are likely to hinder the expected fairness in delivery of public service.
Also, the ministry in charge of public service is by law required to keep the database of non-appointed successful candidates for a period of six months, to allow possible appointment in similar positions but in different institutions should such vacancies come up.
Thanks to the increasing number of university graduates on the job market and e-recruitment facility, there are increasing numbers of candidates for any advertised position.
The advertisement for vacancies is exclusively done through the ministry in charge of public service, which keeps the database of all non-appointed candidates.
The same non-appointed persons are at the same time potential candidates for the same but new positions.
But the ministry is not allowed to automatically deploy from the non-appointed candidates, which it still keeps in its database, unless the hiring institution makes an express request.
Yet all institutions are hiring skilled labour from the same market. Looking from an effectiveness point of view, there is need for reforms for three reasons: compliance, cost-cutting and timely service delivery.
First, the users should ensure that; the provisions on the languages to be used during the exams–both written and oral–are respected in the interest of the candidates.
And such exams need to be reconsidered for the purpose of transparence and fairness.
Second; the cost and financial aspects should be taken into consideration.
Recruitment is a costly process, and the beneficiaries are all public institutions that are spending taxpayers’ money in hiring rooms and computers for exams, but also in remunerating the examiners.
Whereas there are still vacant positions that are still waiting for successful candidates, there are non-appointed but successful candidates who are looking for appointment or sitting for exams for the same positions under the watch of responsible institutions.
Thirdly, in the meantime, citizens are denied services because of the missing service provider.
Is it possible to ensure transparency, fairness and effectiveness in e-recruitment and let it serve all ends. For the good of our country, this needs to be considered. Database of non-appointed candidates should serve the purpose