Make Imihigo targets Smart

Editor, After reading the article, “Imihigo: Do the scores reflect what’s on ground?” (The New Times, October 2), I felt the urge of sharing with your readers how I think the ultimate objective of Imihigo (performance contracts) can be achieved.
Road construction. Under Imihigo, each district, in consultation with specific central government unit, sets its own targets.  The News Times /  File.
Road construction. Under Imihigo, each district, in consultation with specific central government unit, sets its own targets. The News Times / File.

Editor,

After reading the article, “Imihigo: Do the scores reflect what’s on ground?” (The New Times, October 2), I felt the urge of sharing with your readers how I think the ultimate objective of Imihigo (performance contracts) can be achieved.

I suggest that Imihigo be split into two parts where part one is composed of set standards which every district must strive to achieve, and part two composed of the particular targets the district commit themselves to achieving.

That way both the targets and resultant scores will reflect the reality on the ground.

I must say that I’m pleased to learn that there is a need to adjust the targets.

Peter Kayonde, Rwamagana

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I am glad to see such an open dialogue and debate about the Imihigo indicators. We should be proud of our leaders who have indicated willingness to welcome views on how the process can be revised.

As far as I am concerned, some of the health indicators are not measurable at the district level, hence one may wonder how the assessment team comes up with scores in that area.

All the indicators should be SMART; that is, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound). Good luck to everyone involved with this review exercise.

John, Kigali

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Editor,

I TOTALLY agree with John that Imihigo indicators have to be SMART. But even more importantly, the best measure of performance is the impact it is having on people’s lives.

Is there a reduction in morbidity? Do we have a higher proportion of primary and secondary school students in school? Do we have more teachers in those schools and is the student-teacher ratio declining? Is a rising proportion of those students scoring highly and passing their national examinations? Are feeder roads under the responsibility of district authorities being properly maintained and improved? Are citizens’ daily concerns being addressed in a timely manner? Do citizens see their local leaders as their servants or do they have the impression that those leaders think they are the masters? Are per capita incomes in the district rising faster than the rate of inflation? Etc…

These are some of the questions that might be asked across the country to determine how real are the successes being reported by district administrations. And while self-reporting can be adequate in some cases, it would be better that an independent national body be entrusted with the job of undertaking the surveys and analysis to ascertain the nature of changes the country and the local administrative units have really undergone over the reporting period.

Otherwise we are all humans; we are programmed to be positively impressed with our own achievements, no matter how minor, and blind to our failures no matter how monumental.

Mwene Kalinda, Kigali

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