Rwandans are currently exercising one of their fundamental civic rights, as they vote their local leaders for the third time since 2001.
For special interest groups, notably women, the youth and the disabled, voters are electing their representatives, right from the grassroots to the national level.
So far, the voting exercise has been smooth, with record voter turnout across the country. By early next month, the country will have fresh local leadership who are expected to accelerate the country’s socio-economic development programmes.
As such, the local government elections are critical to the delivery of government programmes, since those elected will have the mandate of transforming their societies.
The experience from the outgoing local government leaders serves a useful lesson to Rwandan voters. Only a handful of district leaderships stood the test of time, with the majority of them having resigned due to abuse of office and incompetence.
Such a high turnover can be detrimental to the implementation of development programmes.
To avert similar pitfalls in the future, it is important that voters scrutinise the candidates’ manifestoes, as well as track record, making sure that the aspirants they vote for will deliver to their expectations.
Voters must desist from supporting candidates for any other reason other than merit.