KIGALI - The recently released Mo Ibrahim Index on Good Governance is full of discrepancies and not indicative of what the real facts on the ground are, a top government official has revealed.
In an interview with The New Times, Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the Executive Secretary of the Rwanda Governance Advisory Council (RGAC), said that the 2010 Index, which ranks Rwanda 31st out 53 African countries is far from the truth, biased and misleading.
According to Shyaka, despite the country scoring higher than the regional average for East Africa which was 45, the index totally misrepresented what is on the ground in some sub-categories such as national security and rule of law.
Shyaka argued that despite the government offering to work with the Addis Ababa-based foundation to give it access to information and statistics on the ground, the index has continued to rank Rwanda lowly even when statistics show that the country performs better in those sub-categories than its neighbours.
“What is clear is that the index is not based on facts. Even on the last Mo Ibrahim report, the government reacted over data discrepancies. We showed them areas where there were data discrepancies, they promised to make sure to rely on more accurate data next time,” he said.
Shyaka said that it is not clear how the foundation reneged on its commitment after sending a big delegation last year to hold talks with the Government and later agreeing to carefully consider ranking the country on what is on the ground.
The delegation which included the head of research at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and members of the steering committee, were in the country in June to discuss with government after the latter contested the country’s poor rankings in a number of sub-categories which did not reflect the real situation.
“Our hope was that this one (2010) would be very different but after we analysed the report, we found many data discrepancies mainly in the categories of participation and human rights.”
“Even if we come on top of other East African countries in the categories of Economic development and Human development, there are still data discrepancies on progression to secondary school. Rwanda scored 0 and Burundi has 50 out of 100. But if we are to take into account the success of the 9-Year Basic Education (9-YBE) programme, Rwanda would score at least more than 0,” Shyaka said.
He said that in some cases such as the distribution of ARVs, the index claimed there was no data available yet this data is available and Rwanda has been praised for its success in availing drugs to HIV/AIDS patients.
The Professor said that Rwanda also surprisingly scored poorly in the area of economic opportunity and access to internet yet available data and other reports put Rwanda ahead of other countries in the region.
He added that Rwanda promulgated the law against Gender Based Violence but surprisingly the country ranked behind other countries in the region on legislation on violence against women.
The country also scored poorly on human rights, rule of law and participation.
“If you analyse properly you see that whoever fills in this data has a plan to undermine or deliberately soil the image of the country,” he added.
“We think that the reason for these discrepancies is either because in the Mo Ibrahim Foundation there are people who are not informed at all, or they deliberately want to sell the wrong information about the country,” Shyaka said.
Shyaka said that by not capturing the progress as it is on the ground, the index risks losing credibility because it is giving inaccurate information yet this is information that should be referred to in a bid to improve governance.
“It will be very sad if this index becomes a tool for other political purposes. For example the national security indicator, we are behind every East African country, yet the country is praised all over for its level of stability,” Shyaka observes.
The 2010 Ibrahim Index of African Governance launched on Monday shows that overall governance performance in Africa is being driven by gains in economic and human development but undermined by democratic recession.
It was launched in four cities across the continent and is published by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, an organisation committed to supporting good governance and great leadership in Africa.