For the 15th time, the country’s top leadership is attending a retreat, commonly known by its Kinyarwanda moniker, Umwiherero.
It is where the leadership charts the way forward for the coming year but also dissects the success of the implementation of previous results, shortcomings and possible remedies.
One thing that continually crops up is the lack of coordination, or little cooperation among government agencies. This issue has been raised by the President several times and it leaves one wondering what is wrong.
Sometimes it is egos and petty rivalries that are at play which impedes the successful implementation of government policies. Government officials are entrusted with their duties because the appointing authority believes in their capabilities, so they are expected to honour that trust by helping improve the welfare of Rwandans.
In the past few weeks, potatoes have been in the news. First, the government intervened by fixing prices so that farmers are not exploited by unscrupulous middlemen. It came as a relief to farmers but it was short-lived. Grief soon set in when farmers could not get takers for the produce and potatoes began rotting in the ground.
The relevant ministries and local authorities seem to have been slow to act. How can food rot when others are going hungry? For example, if there was proper coordination, the social protection policies – VUP Umurenge and Ubudehe – that help the most vulnerable, could be used as a conduit.
On top of giving money to the most needy to help them along the way, some of the financial aid could be used to purchase the potatoes and distribute them to the poor.
What the farmers need is something for their labour; what the poor need is something on their table. That would be a win-win situation for all. But it will not happen if leaders fail to put their heads together in the interest of the nation.