Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) has started a country-wide tour to share with local leaders findings of its research on citizen’s perceptions on governance and delivery of services.
The research that was conducted in all cells country-wide sought public views on good governance, public accountability, consulting the people before implementing development programs and proper allocation of resources.
Burera, Ngoma, Kirehe and Gisagara districts stood out as the best performers, while Kicukiro, Gatsibo, Nyagatare were ranked lowest.
Sharing results of the survey with Kayonza District leaders on Friday, RGB deputy CEO, Dr Felicien Usengumukiza, said the research aimed at measuring not only the quality of services, but also improvements in quality of life and governance processes.
“All actors are important in evaluation, but of course the best evaluators are the beneficiaries, the people. We asked the people in villages to rate how development projects benefit them. They responded brilliantly,” he said.
“Things always go wrong when leaders don’t consult the people when implementing policies and programs. The people are the beneficiaries, so no one should claim to know their needs better than them. The validity of our research thus, can’t be doubted,” he said while responding to some local leaders who expressed doubt on the accuracy of the findings.
Surprisingly, districts that emerged best in performance contracts such as Kicukiro were ranked low.
“It is true that Kicukiro which was number one in performance contracts was among the last in this research. In some cases it depended on demands of the public. Sometimes in towns people seek special services and don’t get them quickly. So, people ranked such districts poorly,” he said.
Usengumukiza also explained how assessing good governance could encourage districts to perform better than the central government.
“We improve good governance through awards, inspections, setting funding conditions and empowering stakeholders to demand better services. But overall, district services are better than those at the ministerial level”.
Local leaders responded to the research findings with mixed feelings, some doubting its validity while others said it reflected the reality on the ground.
Alice Mukamusabyemungu, the Executive Secretary of Nkora cell in Rwinkwavu Sector, Kayonza District, said some poor services were unavoidable.
“I admit that we offer poor services, particularly when implementing court decisions…there are a lot of complexities involved. We are also overwhelmed by many meetings that sometimes affect services we should be giving the people,” she said.